Barely three months to the expiration of the tenures of council chairmen in Delta State, Chairman, Oshimili South Local Government Area of the state, Barr (Pst) Chuks John Obusom has rolled out the achievements of his administration in the last two and half years.
The council boss reeled out some of his achievements Wednesday when leaders and members of the Indigenous Correspondents’ Chapel (ICC), of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council had a media parley with him in his office.
The chairman who assumed office, October 2014 disclosed that he was able to develop a reformed model for the identification of indigenes of the council which has been infiltrated by some persons from across the Niger.
“We have been able to establish a thorough and a reformed way of identifying Oshimili South indigenes. Before I assumed this office, so many people from across the Niger, you see them flouting identification letters. This has made us not only to loss crucial positions in terms of employment. Even outside here, in the military and other places, some people have gone there using Oshimili South slot”, he revealed.
He noted that several things actually went wrong in the identification process, “so we reformed that process. I personally signed identification letters and I will screen you, if I need to make calls, I do and of course before you have my identification, you must have established that you are from Oshimili South. I was able to write to the ministries doing the screening. If you don’t have anybody with my own signature don’t honour it”, noting that the move has yielded positive result.
The chairman pointed out that the step has taken care of non-indigenes who masqueraded as indigenes of the council area, “I think that is a reformatory step”.
Pastor Obusom also disclosed that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the council which lacks organization when he assumed office was properly harnessed, “we did what is called enumeration, trying to identify our revenue sources and then we discovered also that there is need to have a revenue bye-law as there was no one that was effective then. And after that we set up a system of revenue collection where revenue that are been generated is channeled to the banks, there is no cash collection, any cash collection is illegal”, stressing that, “we tried to dissuade self-help in revenue collection. When they use taskforce to molest people here and there which to me as a lawyer is unacceptable and we have to make sure that people are tried through due process to ensure that they have been served and we will now use a judicial process to be able to get our revenue”.
Other successes Barr Obusom reeled out includes: removal of revenue courts from rented apartments across the council which according to him led to the erection of a gigantic revenue court in the council premises, “I have tried to check, I have never seen a local government council in the 774 LGAs in the country that built a revenue court”, bought a 13KVA transformer to end about three years blackout in the secretariat, make the environment conducive for workers, started poultry farm with 2% allocation which the law requested of the council to set aside for agriculture, “we have just finished disposing some of them and we want to start stocking for the Christmas period”.
He added that the council was able to partake in the grading of the out-roads with the fixing of the tractors to sand fill some roads that need attention with particular reference to the Oko area in spite of the financial down turn, “on assumption of office also when we had SURE-P, we were able to get farm seedlings; okro, yams for the farmers at the Oko area to boost food production and we were able to construct and commission Ogbogonogo Mini market with over 300 shops (lockup and open shops)”.
Oshimili South Local Government Chairman, Pastor Chuks Obusom, a Barrister-at-Law is not very pleased with the problem of waste management in the Asaba metropolis, a situation that is fast defacing the Delta state capital city and almost turning it into a dingy environment.
The council chairman expressed his disapproval and disenchantment with the situation when he hosted members of the Indigenous Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) who paid him a courtesy call.
In answer to a reporters’ question, Obusom said: “I am not pleased with the sanitation situation in Asaba. I feel bitter about the waste management situation of Asaba.”
He recalled how in a bid to tackle the problem an inter ministerial committee involving the local government office of the Secretary to State Government (SSG) and the Waste Management Board, in which the committee among other things screened all the PSPs during which it was discovered that they did not have the facilities to do the job.
The frustration of the council chairman is that the Delta State Waste Management Board insists that it is their sole responsibility to handle waste management.
But for the problem of waste management, Obusom told the journalists that although he would not be the one to assess the performance of his administration, but observed that upon assuming office, he and his team had set goals.
He said: “We have a reformed way of identifying Oshimili South indigenes. In time past people from across the Niger (from the Eastern states) flaunt identification materials claiming to be indigenes of the local government. Now, I personally sign identification letters. By this we have been able to check those non indigenes masquerading as Oshimili South indigenes.”
Also, Obusome noted that his administration carried out a reform of revenue generation in the council. “We had to enact our revenue bye-law that outlawed physical cash collection. Any cash collection is illegal. Cash collection has to be channeled to the banks directly,” he pointed out.
He continued: “Before we came on board there were no revenue courts. We built a twin hall revenue court, we furnished and equipped. I have checked and have not found from the 774 local governments in Nigeria any revenue court like we have here.
“Also by law, two percent of our allocation is set aside for operation of our poultry farms. We look up to providing our people with products from our farms in December. We have partaking in the grading of the earth roads. We got farm seedlings for our farmers, and we also constructed the Ogbeogonogo mini-shops. We converted the primary school to mini-shops and relocated the school,” Obusom observed.
Asked why the council management allowed the indiscriminate siting of filling stations even in residential areas in Asaba, Pastor Obusom he exonerated the council saying that the Oshimili South Local Government is not in charge of giving approval for the siting of filling stations.
He also described as untrue, allegations that some serving council chairmen including himself have signed a written document with Governor Okowa to be imposed and returned for a second tenure.
Obusom said: “It is a lie. That is not true to the best of my knowledge. There is no agreement signed with any local government chairman for purposes of imposition. The Governor has said it time and time again that people should go and work in the areas where they seek elective offices and test their popularity. As for being imposed because a document was signed with the governor is a lie.”
Earlier, ICC chairman, Comrade Bartholomew Ozah told the Council Chairman that the journalists who represent the various organs of the local and grassroots media including the online news outfits commended him for his leadership ingenuity that the chairman brought to bear in the administration of Oshimili South Local Government, pointing out hoever that there is always enough room for improvement.
Earlier, Chairman, ICC, Comrade Barth Ozah, commended the council chairman over his leadership ingenuity which he brought to bear in the administration in the council.
Comrade Ozah urged him to always engage the community media who are in the better place to enlighten the populace on the programmes and policies, “especially, regarding the successes you have recorded as well as your views on critical issues”.
Hundreds of youths from Obio/Akpor and Emohua Local Government Areas of Rivers have joined thousands of Rivers people clamouring for Chief (Barr) Dumo Lulu-Briggs to contest the 2019 Governorship Election in the Rivers State.
The youths made their position known during a solidarity visit to the Liberation Organisation office in Port Harcourt yesterday July 4th, 2017.
Leader of group, Comrade Victor Akani said the youths are saddened with the breakdown of security and the seeming lack of interest by the current administration to address the problem.
Akani said that the youths are convinced that Chief Lulu-Briggs is the right leader with the needed credibility and capacity Rivers State needs to fix its numerous problems and move the state forward economically.
“We are here to identify with our leader and tell him that we are ready to work with him. Obio/Akpor people are solidly behind him. We want to ensure that the mistakes of yesterday are not repeated. We are here with an army of youths and foot soldiers of change to pay him a visit and ensure that things are done right because we do not like how things are with our state.
“Our communities are no longer safe for us. We believe that the Moses of our time is here and that is why we have come to identify with him and to work with him in order to right the wrongs and move our state forward”.
The group urged Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs to make himself available for the guber race come 2019 as Rivers people are with him.
On ground to receive the groups were the DG of the Liberation organisation Hon. Okem Okocha, the Media Director Barr. Eugene Odey, Rt Hon Iyke Orji and other members of the organization.
His Excellency the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa is super healthy and currently on a short vocation after round the clock hardwork that produced tremendous socioeconomic and infrastructure development within a short period of time in a recessed economy of the All Progressives Congress (APC ) fractured “CHANGE” national government.
Executive Assistant to Delta State Governor on Communication, Dr (Barrister) Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe in a statement said, few days ago some disgruntled and mischievous elements within the major opposition party rocked the social media with false claim that the smart governor of Delta State, jetted out of the country for emergency medical treatment over abdominal pains, adding that, Gov Okowa is in excellent health condition without any trace of pains in his abdomen.
“The good people of Delta State and the general public should discard the evil rumours widely circulated via the social media sponsored by some frustrated leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Our governor remains smart and cool. Be rest assured that he will not be sick now or in the future because of the finger of God upon his life and family.
“It is very unfortunate that while Gov Okowa and the entire members of PDP in Delta State are praying fervently for the quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC who is currently on medical treatment in London; some uncultured and heartless inexperienced political leaders within the major opposition party, the APC in the state are crafting evil and projecting sickness on a kind hearted and patriotic Nigerian in the person of Okowa.
“Gov Okowa is hidden under the solid rock of Jesus Christ and no sickness projected or invoked towards him and his blessed family shall prosper. Deltans are known to be their brothers’ keepers but the crop of leaders and party faithfuls in APC Delta have shown that they are desperate to rule even if it meant killing their fellow Deltans to take over power. It is sad and shameful.
“Let me make it abundantly clear once again that Gov Okowa enjoys both constitutional and divine holy ghost immunity and as such the smart governor will continue to attract the huge support of the happy, kind, God fearing and good people of Delta State and Nigeria by positive extension.”
Oghenesivbe in the same token swiftly reacted to what he described as a poorly presented and mischievous publication by ADVOCATE Online media in which some cowards and unschooled political elements in APC Delta linked the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources and board room expert, Ibe Kachikwu Esq to Okowa’s re-election project in 2019, describing it as the hot tears of a drowning party and their politically inexperienced state leaders.
“It is a fact that Gov Okowa and Ibe Kachukwu are both illustrious sons of Delta and Anioma Nation and the duo’s super friendship spans several years devoid of political affiliation and partisan politics.
“Some selfish so-called leaders in Delta APC are working underground to have Kachikwu dropped as minister so that a member of their weak and inefficient political cabal can be appointed Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and if possible grab the Petroleum Ministry portfolio.
“Deltans and the general public will recall that immediately Kachukwu was appointed Minister in 2015, the same shameless and inexperienced political contractors that parade themselves as leaders in APC Delta flooded the media with highly irritating agitation, calling on President Buhari to revoke the appointment.
“The same mischievous fellows who parade themselves as co-leaders of the party have been identified as unfriendly friends of Kachikwu within the APC Delta moribund political family. The are now stagging another round of evil blackmail against a hardworking and highly resourceful citizen and patriotic serving Petroleum minister.
“APC DELTA is a wailing, confused and chained baby party bedevilled by internal multiple factions, greed, petty squabbles and not capable of winning elections in Delta state for a very long time to come.
“APC Delta leaders must of a necessity continue to wallow in their own political deep blue sea while Okowa and Ibe Kachikwu continue to enjoy their solid friendship devoid of partisan politics and nepotism,” Oghenesivbe added.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele and others have identified Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) as the fastest way for Nigeria’s economic growth.
While identifying MSMEs as great employers of labour, they observed that investing in such would not only boost Nigeria’s economy but, will ensure speedy technological development of the country.
Their positions were made on 24/06/17 at the maiden edition of Ika Economic and Investment Summit organised by the Ika Village Square at Agbor. The summit had as its theme, “exploiting the economic potentials of Ika nation through strategic partnership.”
“As it concerns MSMEs, we have done a lot to encourage our people to be entrepreneurs but, a lot more needs to be done; a lot of our people are not knowledgeable enough and as such, they make a lot of mistakes, we are not only training our people to acquire skills as government but, we are training our youths, equipping them to function on their own, monitor and mentor them to succeed as entrepreneurs because, education backed with skills is the way to go for our country,” Governor Okowa said.
He also, observed that it was important for the people to go into agriculture, noting that job opportunities abound through the agriculture value chain.
The Governor asserted, “one of the ways to have an inclusive growth in our nation is agricultural production and its value chain; I am encouraging our politicians to go into farming, there are lot of benefits in farming, it is a great employer of labour; even in the area of palm oil production, we have not been able to produce enough palm oil to meet with the need of Nigerians not to talk of export.”
He used the occasion to call on parents to instill in their children, the right values, saying, “without the right family values of bringing up children who appreciate hard work, we will not achieve the desired results; parents must realize that if they don’t know what their children do to earn a living, they have failed as parents; most of us may not want to talk about it, but, most of us have no control over our children, which means, we have failed as parents.”
The Governor of CBN in an address delivered on his behalf by Chief Ikeghagu H.C, stated, “MSMEs are recognized worldwide as a catalyst for rapid growth, job creation and poverty reduction; they have been described as the incubators of innovation and employment, which are usually resilient to most exogenous shocks.”
Major-General Lucky Irabor, Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole North East Theatre Command stated, “without security, there is no development, development and security are interwoven.”
Dr Kingsley Emu, Chairman of the Organizing Committee in a welcome address, stated that the Economic and Investment Summit was organised to address economic issues facing the Ika ethnic nationality and a bold declaration of the resolve of the people to succeed.
Those who spoke at the occasion include, Prof. J.C. Egbon, Prof. Eric Eboh, Dr Jude Ogala, Commissioner for Police David Igbodo, Prof. Stella Chiemeke, among others.
Delta ALGON Chairman Absolves State, Blames FG For LG Woes
The Chairman, Isoko South Local Government of Delta State, Sir Itiako Ikpokpo, has blamed the insolvent condition of local governments across the country on disproportionate sharing formula for the nation’s revenue.
He said the greatest challenge facing the third tier of government was the meagre 20 per cent share of federal allocation to the 776 local governments in Nigeria.
This, he noted, is grossly inadequate to meet the councils’ first line charge, which is the payment of salaries, not to talk of provision of basic social amenities at the grassroots.
Ikpokpo, who doubles as the Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Delta State, made the submission while reacting to the growing call for local government autonomy in the country.
He differed slightly with advocates of autonomy, which he said could not achieve the desired results without adequate revenue adjustment and conscious constitutional amendment towards reducing the powers at the centre.
He said that while he could not speak for other states, local governments in Delta are not under any form of undue influence from the state.
Ikpokpo added that the state government is also not involved in pilfering funds accruing to the local governments as might be the case elsewhere.
The council boss described the “excessive, overloaded, overlapping and domineering posture of the Federal Government” in revenue allocation and function as the greatest threat to the third tier of government in the country.
To justify its bogus 56 per cent share of the country’s revenue, the Federal Government has taken over all aspects of governance and services, including rural health care, birth registration and markets, where it lacked the essential grasp and touch, Ikpokpo said.
He wondered why a Minister in Abuja should be dictating where to site a primary health centre in a community or a Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) project in Isoko South.
According to him, over 40 per cent of roads in the country are within local governments, yet they are referred to as federal or state roads. “Several core functions and internal revenue heads of the local governments have been hijacked by the overbearing Federal Government owing to its excessive powers and domineering attitude.”They now collect monies for birth registration through the Nigeria Population Commission even in our rural health centres, leaving the local governments with collection of bicycle levies.
“The question is, are people still riding bicycle?” Ikpokpo said.
The Delta ALGON Chairman described as archaic and unsustainable an arrangement in which an entity takes a whopping 56 per cent revenue share and gives 776 constituent parts put together a paltry 20 per cent.
This, he noted, explains the near collapse of all sectors of the economy.
Ikpokpo emphasised that until a conscious effort was made to rejig the local government system in areas of funding and functions, the nation’s yearning for tap-rotted growth and development will remain a mirage.
He, therefore, appealed to the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and all other stakeholders to join hands with ALGON in its call for urgent fiscal restructuring and devolution of the powers of the Federal Government as the only panacea for the continued existence of the local government system in the country.
Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has finally dissolved his cabinet and fired all members of the State Executive Council.
This order to dissolve the cabinet was contained in a statement issued by the Governor’s Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu on Saturday, June 24, 2017.
The statement reads thus: “Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has dissolved the State Executive Council.
“The governor directed all former commissioners to handover to their respective Permanent Secretaries.”
Wike thanked the former commissioners for their service to the state and wished them well in their future endeavours, the statement added.
The dissolution of the cabinet may not have come to many Wike administration watchers as a surprise, especially given the topsy-turvy and sometimes theatrically ludicrous relationship between Governor Wike and his cabinet, but the timing of the action is particularly instructive as it has come right on the heels of the sacking of the Works Commissioner, Engr. Harrison Bathuel Iheanyichukwu and most importantly the resignation of the Information Commissioner, Dr. Austin Tam-George, an act which many of the analysts claim was a disturbing precedent capable of triggering a spate of other resignations from the cabinet, if the Governor had not acted as promptly as he did.
Recall that though Dr. Tam-George had not adduced any reason for his sudden resignation, an un-corroborated statement, credited to him and published widely on several social media and online platforms and portals, had quoted the former Rivers state information commissioner lamenting bitterly that: “Most Commissioners serving under Gov Wike can no longer pay the school fees of their wards. Gov Wike is running a one man show Government and I’ve decided not to be part of such Government again.”
A cursory investigation carried out amongst certain persons who had related closely with some government appointees in the state, reveal interestingly that many of such appointees have expressed similar bitterness, akin to the view credited to Dr. Tam-George and though they may not have had the courage to embrace the extreme option of resignation like him, were however said to be seething quietly with anger and barely managing to hold down a combustible rebellious outburst, which was bubbling dangerously close to an explosion that could have been readily detonated with Dr. Tam-George’s resignation.
Governor Wike, who has left no one in doubt as to who is fully in charge of affairs in Rivers state and being the wily political fox that he is, had read the mood perfectly and quickly nipped the threat in the bud by promptly dissolving his cabinet, ostensibly to stem a domino effect of imminent resignations, but many discerning watchers have also opined that the Governor, who has rightly been dubbed ‘Mr Projects’, in recognition of his excellent infrastructural development achievements so far, has also become synonymous with a peculiar intimidating attitude to spontaneously dismiss his appointed public officers and even publicly chastise others with harsh words and stringent ultimatums issued at, what many see as, the slightest official misdemeanor, disagreement or provocation.
Indeed, those who have followed the fortunes of the Wike administration since May 29, 2015, will affirm that the relationship between the tough talking governor and his appointees both in his cabinet and at the helm of the Local Government Councils, has been quite challenging and intriguing.
A critical appraisal of that relationship revealed that, given the political misfortune that befell the PDP at the national level, which almost played out in the state too, as well as the harsh economic and financial realities that has all but crippled the economy of the country and many states, feathers would surely be ruffled, expectations would be truncated and heads would definitely roll, right from the very early days of his administration, as it was no longer going to be business as usual on the political landscape.
In fact government house sources had long held the opinion that the governor was not happy with the performance of most members of his cabinet who, according to them, were regarded as not keeping pace with the speed of the governor on project execution, but the way and manner he has gone about instilling and distilling his own brand of administrative discipline and proper governance compliance has attracted both admiration and derisive consternation in equal measure.
Indeed from the moment when the Media and Publicity Special Adviser, Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah resigned his cabinet position as early as November 6, 2015, stating that unfolding developments in the state, even at that early stage in the life of the administration, indicated that his services were no longer needed, Governor Wike has periodically wielded the big disciplinary stick, either by suspending individual or groups of political appointees and public officers, including Council Chairmen, at once or out-rightly sacking them and subsequently forwarding fresh names to the House of Assembly for consideration and endorsement.
However, following the successful joint celebrations of Rivers State at 50 and Governor Wike’s second year anniversary ceremonies, which according to some reliable inside sources, had interestingly also provided the Governor the opportunity to covertly access the performance of some of his cabinet members and political appointees at all levels, the next pre-occupation was always going to be the much anticipated cabinet reshuffle of the Rivers state cabinet, having already tinkered with the Local Government Council Executive at least twice.
The sacking of the Commissioner for Works, had actually been seen by many as the routine Governor Wike typical action, but the resignation of the Information Commissioner, with the attendant speculations that may have fuelled his decision to quit the cabinet, had been interpreted by many watchers as arguably, the last straw that finally tipped the scale and forced Governor Wike’s hand to finally dissolve the cabinet sooner than some had expected.
A fresh list of Commissioners nominees, according Barr. Oraye St. Franklin, media aide to Governor Wike on new media, in an online post on his facebook timeline, would soon be forwarded to the Rivers State House of Assembly, for consideration.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has sacked his Commissioner for Works, Mr. Harrison Bathuel Iheanyichukwu, with immediate effect, even as the Rivers state Commissioner for Information, Dr. Austin Tam-George has resigned his appointment, also with immediate effect.
The sacking was contained in a statement, issued on Thursday June 22, 2017, by the media aide on electronics to the governor, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu.
According to the statement, “Rivers State governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has relieved the state Commissioner for Works, Mr. Bathuel Harrison of his appointment with immediate effect.
“The former commissioner has been directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works,” the statement said.
He is the Second Works Commissioner appointed by Gov Wike, after the suspension of the former Commissioner for Works, Kevin Wachukwu in April 2016.
Harrison Bathuel Iheanyichukwu, is a civil engineer and architect, who was appointed to the position of Rivers State Works Commissioner, by Governor Nyesom Wike, confirmed by the Rivers State House of Assembly and sworn-in on May 9, 2016.
Mr Nwakaudu, in his statement, did not however give any reason for the sack, but reliable insiders suggest that, besides a more personal reason which may have accelerated the sacking of Mr. Bathuel Harrison, the decision of the Governor may not be unconnected with the charge which had been given to the erstwhile Commissioner on the day of he was sworn-in.
Recall that governor Wike had charged the then new commissioner to always be on the road supervising projects and reporting progress of work, having admonished him thus: “The former works commissioner [Wachukwu], was intelligent, but he could not meet up with the pace of work at the ministry. Take your work very seriously. There should be no compromise. The day you misinform me on the status of projects, will be the day you will be sacked. The day you begin to use your office to form rings will be the day you will lose out,” Gov Wike had warned then.
Meanwhile and in a related development, Governor Wike’s Information Commissioner, Dr. Austin Tam-George has resigned.
His resignation, which was communicated in a personal letter written and signed by him, to the Governor on the morning of Friday, June 23, 2017, takes effect immediately.
The letter, Titled ‘Resignation’ which also affirmed that he had handed over to the Director of Administration, Ministry of Information, Rivers State, reads thus:
“Dear Sir, I wish to resign my appointment as Commissioner for Information and Communication with effect from today, June 23, 2017.
“I have handed over officially to the Director of Administration of the Ministry.
“Thank for the opportunity to serve the state,” the letter concluded.
Though the letter was silent on the reason (s) behind the dramatic resignation, an unsubstantiated statement, credited to Mr. Tam-George and copiously published robustly on several social media and online platforms and portals, quoted the former Rivers state information commissioner lamenting bitterly that: “Most Commissioners serving under Gov Wike can no longer pay the school fees of their wards. Gov Wike is running a one man show Government and I’ve decided not to be part of such Government again,” he was quoted as saying.
Dr. Austin Tam-Geroge, a communication expert and former lecturer at Pan African University, was appointed in December 2015 to handle the public relations activities of the Wike administration, which was inaugurated in May 2015.
He assumed office with intimidation credentials, having received his PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He also attended the IESE Business School in Barcelona, where he studied communication and institutional leadership and in furtherance of his academic, he taught at Pan-African University in Nigeria and at University of Cape Town where he was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
In 2008, he worked as research consultant to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development in its good governance monitoring projects across Africa and was the Executive Director of the Institute of Communication and Corporate Studies, prior to his appointment as Commissioner of Information and Communications.
Gov. Wike’s studied silence on the resignation is an indication that he has accepted to let the former Commissioner go his way and indeed feelers from impeccable sources, both from the Information Ministry and within Government house circles, hint that Governor Wike may have been totally unimpressed for a very long time, with the administrative style and personal attitude of Mr. Tam-George, which has seen him rely more or his alternative media team as his administration has unfolded.
Rivers State watchers and Governor Wike administration analysts have opined that there is palpable tension and an uneasy atmosphere hovering over the Rivers state cabinet as usually reliable sources claim that the governor may not be quite happy with the performances of most members of his cabinet, especially in relation to the pace and speed of the governor on project execution and the deliverance of democracy dividends to Rivers people.
Gov. Wike, who metamorphosed from his earlier pre-election monikers of ‘Bulldozer’ and ‘High Tension’, as a result of his energetic dynamism and clinical political decimation of all opposition before him during the governorship campaigns, has now been christened as ‘Mr. Projects’ by none other than the acting President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who, in recognition of his rapid infrastructural development and upgrading of projects in the state, has arguably set a very high performance bar for his cabinet and appears to be impatient with the response of some of his appointees.
An up to date appraisal of the relationship between Gov Wike and his cabinet members so far, revealed that, given the huge expectations of the governor after a hard fought and earned political victory against formidable forces, feathers would be ruffled and heads would definitely roll, right from the very early days of his administration and this was almost immediately underscored when the Media and Publicity Special Adviser, Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah resigned his cabinet position in a letter dated 6 November 2015, stating that unfolding developments in the state, even at that early stage in the life of the administration, indicated that his services were no longer needed.
A few months later on 12 February 2016, Commissioner of Finance, Fred Kpakol and the Accountant General Abere Dagogo, were temporarily relieved of their duties and then re-instated, in a dramatic three day suspension which lasted until 15 February, following acrimonious threats to reveal damaging financial information and details about the fledgling administration and the subsequent interventions by different political leaders to quell the impasse.
Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike also suspended Kelvin Wachukwu indefinitely from his post as Commissioner of Works in April 2016 citing negligence, dereliction of duty and poor project supervision as some reasons for the action, which led eventually to Wachukwu been replaced by Harrison B. Iheanyichukwu, who was officially sworn into the Cabinet on 9 May, 2016.
On 31 August 2016, four commissioners, Tonye Briggs-Oniyide (Culture and Tourism), Fred Kpakol (Finance), Boma Iyaye (Sports) and John Bazia (Chieftaincy and Community Affairs ) were handed 3 months suspensions, alongside the Head of Service, Rufus Godwins and the Special Adviser on Lands, Anugbum Onuoha, following an Executive Council meeting in August “which the officials attended late”. They were later recalled to their various offices on 16 September, after two weeks of cooling their heels at home.
Gove Wike was to show his hand again in what was becoming a February event, when on 15 February 2017, the Commissioner of Health, Theophilus Odagme was dismissed from the office on allegations that he removed an important health item from a list already approved by the Governor himself.
Interestingly, a new Commissioner for Health has not been re-appointed since the sacking of Dr. Odagme in February and with the sacking of Bathuel Harrison and resignation of Austin Tam-George, three Commissionership slots are now vacant in the Rivers State cabinet.
However, there are also real fears now amongst the remaining members of the cabinet, that following the successful joint celebrations of Rivers State at 50 and Governor Wike’s second year anniversary ceremonies, the next pre-occupation of the Rivers state Governor, will certainly be the re-shuffling of his cabinet, not only to bring in persons who now understand his mindset and robust ambitions and actions, but indeed those who will form the structure and machinery for the impending political battle ahead, come 2019.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta Central Senatorial District has endorsed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as the sole candidate for the 2019 gubernatorial elections.
In a political rally tagged, “Delta Central Mega Rally” on 23/06/17, held at the Sapele Township Stadium, prominent politicians in the PDP came out to endorse Governor Okowa, saying his activities within two years in office have qualified him to be the Governor of oil-rich Delta State till 2023.
Those who spoke at the rally where thousands of persons defied the rain to sing the praises of Governor Okowa include a chieftain of the PDP and former Minister for Information, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire who stated, “you (Governor Okowa) will do full term, here in Delta Central, decampees have also agreed that Senator Okowa will be Governor till 2023.”
Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori at the rally which also, witnessed harvest of decampees from other political parties asserted at about 2 pm that, “Your Excellency, since 10 am, the people of Delta Central have been dancing, celebrating your two years in office, we are here to show that we love what you are doing and to tell the world that there is no other political party in Delta Central other than the PDP.”
PDP chieftain, Senator Ighoyota Amori in his speech reiterated, “our Governor, from what you can see here today, be assured that in 2019, you will be returned unopposed, the PDP is the only political party in Delta Central, we are proud of your performance in Delta Central and in Delta State in general,” while the Chairman of the PDP in Delta Central Senatorial District, Chief Patrick Fovie, “our Governor, you have done well, this rally is to tell you and the world that the PDP is the only political party in Delta Central Senatorial district.”
The Minority Leader of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Leo Ogor at the rally moved a motion for Governor Okowa to be returned unopposed in 2019 as the sole gubernatorial candidate of the PDP and the Chairman of Sapele local government area, Hon. Ejaife Odebala seconded and a thunderous acceptance was given to the motion.
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in South South zone, Brother Emma Ogidi and the Chairman of the party in the state, Barr. Kingsley Esiso received the decampees which included members of the Delta State House of Assembly who won their elections on the platform of other political parties and an All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftain, Chief Paulinus Akpeki back to the PDP.
According to Barr. Esiso, “in 2019, it is Governor Okowa again, the Urhobo nation appreciate you because of what you have done, we are here today to celebrate progress, to celebrate prosperity, members of our party who left for other political parties are back to the family they belong to, the PDP, we are one family.”
Governor Okowa at the occasion, said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be stronger if they are united and work for common purpose.
At the well attended rally, which had the highly revered Chief Paulinus Akpeki (Ugo) in attendance, Governor Okowa disclosed that ahead of the local government elections, candidates of the party for the local government council elections would emerge through a free, fair and acceptable process.
“I join the party chairman to receive our people who have come back and for those who have not been with us in the past, who have come to join us today, you have come to test what it is to belong to this family, the PDP family,” Governor Okowa said, stating, “I want to thank all our leaders, we are here as a family, this is the very first rally we have had since I came into office and it is very successful.”
He continued, “the future is better and greater for us as a family, we should remain united as members of the PDP, we will continue to work hard, so that every Deltan will continue to sing the same song, our government will continue to engage our youths for them to be gainfully employed, we have started it and many persons will benefit to become employers of labour.”
Sir Edwin Ogidi-Gbegbaje, Permanent Secretary, Government House and Protocol, Dame Elizabeth Agu, Branch Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria, and five others have bagged individual Awards of Excellence from the Institute of Strategic Management Nigeria, Delta State Chapter, in recognition of their contributions to strategic management in the state.
Others who were given the award of Excellence for their outstanding contributions to building a viable public service at the 2017 Pre-Annual General Meeting/Conference on 23/6/17 in Asaba, were Mr. Charles Omenka, Comrade Goodluck Ofoburuku, Mr. Cornelius Semiteje, Mrs. Dorathy Odiase and Mrs. Joy Enwa.
Speaking at the ceremony, The Secretary to the State Government, represented by Mr. Jonathan Eguahor explained that management was key to the development of any economy and as such members of the institute as managers have great responsibility to perform in elevating the state and public service to greater heights.
He described the theme of the annual conference ” Strategy And Opportunity for The Industrial Sector In A Depressed Economy” as very apt and meant to keep members of the institute abreast with leadership strategy required for sustainability and development in the different sphere of life.
While emphasizing that strategic management was needed if the country must develop, he charged the members to bring their wealth of experience to bear on the development of the state, stating “strategic management is the in thing in the country especially in the public service, managers have great role to play in the development of the state , we will partner with your institute to utilise the experience of your members in various activities of government”
In a keynote address, Mr. Itia Otabor, Chairman of the occasion, stated that strategy remains the imperative vehicle to embrace for development of any nation, stressing that the essence of the institute was to recognize change and harness the opportunities available for success.
He commended Delta State Chapter of the institution for impacting positively on the development of the institution and state.
Prof. Emmanuel Onwuka, who delivered the theme lecture noted that for Nigeria to be industrialized there must be investment and rapid growth of the economy which can be achieved by employing strategies that would alleviate poverty among Nigerians.
He advocated for the development and investment in the Small and Medium Enterprises [SMEs] Sector, power and steel for the industrialization of the country, emphasizing that this will reduce dependence on foreign goods and improve the economy of the citizens.
Responding on behalf of the awardees, Mrs. Dorathy Odiase, retired Permanent Secretary commended members of the institute for recognizing their little contributions to the development of the public service and charged the institute to continue to work hard in ensuring unity in the state and nation.
Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. (Deacon) Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, says the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism which he chairs is always open to engagement with any aggrieved group for positive advancement of our state and nation.
Otuaro was reacting to threats of a militant group called New Delta Avengers who vowed to strike oil facilities far earlier than it stated in its recent ultimatum, over alleged neglect of oil communities by the state government.
Speaking to newsmen at the weekend in Warri, Otuaro advised that approach to agitation should not be counter-productive, stressing: “Destructive activities could constitute security risk to both ongoing jobs in the state and the environment for survival of our people”.
The Deputy Governor insisted that destruction of oil facilities on which revenue largely depends cannot advance the development aspiration of the people. He therefore appealed to any group truly driven by developmental concern for the oil communities to rather resort to the superior power of dialogue to which the state government is open via the Advocacy Committee.
Otuaro, who as Advocacy Committee chair had been involved in peace shuttles that halted a prolonged spate of vandalism last year and hence improved oil production output till date, and has since gone back to the drawing board on the oil facility protection issue, re-emphasised that Delta State Government remain poised to change the face of oil communities.
“The State Government was committed to oil communities and has approved projects for the areas. The results will soon be visible for commissioning”, Otuaro said.
Last week, the movement for the restructuring of Nigeria got more converts from an unlikely quarter. Some 16 youth groups in the North rose from a meeting late on Tuesday to declare the unwillingness of the North to continue in a Federation that has the Igbo Biafra as part.
The groups, which met in Arewa House, somehow the symbolic throne of the Northern establishment and which gave the meeting added significance, were actually more far-reaching.
As if they were the appointed deciders of the fate of Nigeria, which has been hanging precariously on a balance for more than a century, they gave till October 1 for every Igbo Biafra man, woman and child in Northern Nigeria to leave for the ‘Republic of Biafra’.
Next day, some Northern elders including Governor el-Rufai of Kaduna who said they were taken aback by the action of the youths dissociated themselves from the quit notice and even called for the arrest and prosecution of members of the groups.
Nothing happened. Instead, the youths returned a day after to reinforce their declaration. For opposing the declaration, Nasir el-Rufai and Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State were isolated for some tongue lashing. A statement signed by spokesman of the Northern youth coalition, Mallam Abdulazeez Suleiman said: “we are particularly disappointed by the treacherous positions assumed by Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai and Kashim Shettima who in pursuit of their blind ambition for the vice presidency chose to side with secessionist Igbo against the interest of peace-loving Nigerians.”
The statement said there was nothing altruistic about the position of el-Ruffai and Shettima on the quit notice because both governors “are openly known to be waiting in the wings for President Muhammadu Buhari to die so they can further their plot to seek the presidency.” Specifically on Shettima who spoke on beh: “Shettima has disconnected from reality as he gets intoxicated by immoral wealth and property acquisition at the expense of people of the state suffering the devastation of Boko Haram.”
This was what Robert Louis Stevenson described in Treasure Island as ‘quarrel among the pirates.’
Somewhere in-between, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris entered and ranted angrily. He made it look as if hell was about to break loose on those boys.
He ordered the commissioner of police in Kaduna State to investigate and arrest leaders of the Northern youth groups.
He said: “As commissioners of police and assistant inspectors-general, we have the responsibility to stop this group of persons from carrying out their threats.”
Again, nothing happened! Instead, another Northern elder, apparently of a different hue and shade, came with a position to underscore the suspicion that the youths did not act alone.
The name of the elder is Prof. Ango Abdulahi, who is also spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum.
Overall, he revealed a disturbing overlap in the thinking of the Northern youths and Northern elders.
He said: “The northern youths are voicing their anger and frustration over the irresponsible behavior of Igbo youths and elders.
The Igbo elders cannot pretend or say that they do not know the history of this country. We all know how the first coup was hatched against the north. We know who masterminded that political coup and the aftermath. But we the northerners endured it and carried on as if nothing happened in the spirit of brotherhood.
That was why in the Second Republic, an Igbo man, Chief Alex Ekwueme, became a deputy to President Shehu Shagari. I have never seen a country where there was a civil war and somebody from the
part of the country that waged the war against the nation became a leader in the country so quickly.”
As if in a lecture theatre back in his days at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and the entire Igbo Biafra race sat in front of him as his students, the agric scientist ruled: “The Igbo Biafra should remember that politics of democracy is politics of election, not agitation.”
By the way, Prof Ango Abdullahi was the vice chancellor of ABU between 1979 and 1986. For more information about him, read the history of ABU between 1979 and 1986. Meanwhile as undergraduates in the 80s, we used to sing one song and it went thus: When I remember ABU, water run away my eyes O, ayeee, ayeee, water run away my eyes O.
The song was a dirge created by us at the University of Calabar to commemorate the killing of innocent students by police in ABU in 1986 under Prof Ango Abdullahi as VC. I wouldn’t know if Unical students still sing the dirge in memory of the slain students of ABU.
Back to the Igbo Biafra quit notice. It is beginning to look like the bombardment of uranium or hydrogen atoms. You can only determine the beginning, the end is eternally unpredictable. More youth groups from different geo-political and ethnic belts have issued statements on the same subject matter of residency in Nigeria or Biafra. In fact, for clarification, it has just been said that the North does not include the region of Nigeria comprising Benue, Plateau, Kwara, Nassarawa and Niger States otherwise known as Middle Belt.
Youths from this belt have issued their own statement saying, “if Arewa youths are sending away Igbo Biafra from their states, we in the Middle Belt are ready to offer them accommodation in our land, which is an inheritance from God and nobody will take it away from us, for them to continue with their life and business.”
They tried to push home the point that the MASSOB/IPOB agitatiom is only a metaphor of the injustice in the Nigerian arrangement. Hear them: “Middle Belt has been at the receiving end of this inequitable arrangement in which our people in Southern Kaduna, Southern Bauchi, Southern Borno, Southern Kebbi, Adamawa are under constant alienation and annihilation.
Therefore Middle Belt strongly stands for the reconstruction of Nigeria, not only restructuring. We’ll join hands with Southern Nigeria to actualize it.” Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) spoke in a similar tone.
“The Arewa Youths that spoke lack the mandate to speak for all the people of the north, and, certainly not for Southern Kaduna people. We insist that all Nigerians have the right to live and carry out legitimate affairs in all parts of the country” SOKAPU said.
It seems therefore that youths and elders in the north exist in ideological cells and even in matters that are seemingly exclusively north, achieving a workable consensus could be difficult. Enough to say more people than just members of MASSOB and IPOB are angrymwith the state of things in Nigeria.
The question to ask therefore is, where on planet earth, did the Arewa youths get the inspiration to ostracize only the Igbo Biafra from the union and then hope to build a better Nigeria with other stakeholders? As of today, Nigeria has no stakeholders because nothing is at stake for anybody.
For instance, Odua Peoples Congress (OPC), which can also be called the Southwest, is also not a willing stakeholder in the Arewa project. Gani Adams said so.
The South-south geo-political zone, which seems to always have good reasons to agitate, is improving along that trajectory. Now there is a strong mention of the Republic of Rondel (Region of the Niger Delta) in the latest wave of agitation, which started after the Kaduna Declaration by the Arewa youth groups.
In a nutshell, there is big confusion in the land.
The North cannot even hear itself not to talk of hearing the South. The South cannot hear the North either. And here finally is the Nigerian Tower of Babel. The only discernable voice in the deafening staccato is the 2014 Confab report which President Buhari has said he will not touch even with a long pole. He must change his mind and not only touch but open and work with the report.”
The North cannot hear itself not to talk of hearing the South. Anarchy is loosed in Nigeria, the brain child of Britain.
A system where chaos and confusion reign!
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeayi Okowa has said Nigeria will be a more united and stronger nation if the zones gets what they deserve.
According to the Governor, “there is no doubt that generally, we need a united Nigeria and to achieve that is to give each zone what is due her and also by respecting who we are as a people and allowing the zones to develop at their own pace.”
The Governor spoke on 15/06/17, when traditional rulers in the South South geo-political zone under the aegis of the South South Monarch Forum led by HRH Edmund Daukoru, the Amanayabo of Nembe Kingdom paid him a courtesy visit in Asaba.
“There have been various threats coming across the nation which include the issue of kidnapping, armed herdsmen who are ravaging various communities and I think that our traditional rulers are well positioned to be able to sit down and offer suggestions to us and also to be able to plan with us on the national discourse as it involves the armed herdsmen who are destroying our economy and also destroying the means of livelihood of our people,” Governor Okowa said, adding, “there is no doubt that the South-South by God’s grace is well endowed and we have played a major role in the economy of this nation and I think that there is a need for us stakeholders to sit together and see how we can utilize the resource to develop our zone beyond where we are and to ensure that we are able to get a reasonable share of what we contribute to the national purse because the oil economy will not last forever; it means that we have to be able to create a South-South geo-political zone that will stand the test of time in the future, if possibly when the oil economy is gone, that is why we need to diversify and develop our states.”
He continued, “as the people of South-South, we need an organized forum like this, we need traditional rulers that will be a strong force in national issues, I believe that even now our voices must be strengthened and I am very happy that the security agencies that were involved in the course of duty to maintain peace in Niger Delta, we thank all our traditional rulers for the parts that they played in ensuring that we have peace at the moment and should be able to consistently pull the support of our communities to consolidate on the peace because any attempt to destabilize us again is something that is not going to be the best for us as a people because whatever happens especially as it concerns our God-given wealth which is crude oil and gas is something that we are able to settle through dialogue.”
Governor Okowa at the occasion, commended the traditional rulers for the roles they are playing in achieving peace in the communities, reiterating, “I believe that the Governors of the South-South zone welcome this partnership and by God’s grace, we will try to achieve that as we meet, we need to discuss the roles that the traditional rulers will play in helping us to govern and give strength to our zone.”
Earlier, King Daukoro who was accompanied on the courtesy call by members of the Forum disclosed that more than 200 first class traditional rulers from the South South zone are members of the forum which was designed for the Monarchs to speak with one voice on issues affecting the zone.
He commended Governor Okowa for his developmental strides in the state, assuring, “we are here to tell you that we are ready to partner with you as traditional rulers in the development of the zone.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has kicked against anything that will cause war in the country.
Speaking on 11/06/17 at the 2nd anniversary thanksgiving service of the 6th Assembly of the Delta State House of Assembly held at the Living Faith Church, Asaba, Governor Okowa said, “in this time, we don’t need another war, it is time for us to think and reflect on the past and build a greater, more united country.”
“Nigeria needs God to survive; by the grace of God, Nigeria is one and will remain as one,” he said, adding, “Christians should continue to pray for the country, we don’t want to see war.”
He reiterated, “it is time to reexamine ourselves, examine our homes and to think of our existence; we need to reflect on things we do as parents and what we are inculcating into our children because, as parents, we must build in our children the knowledge of God for us to have a better society.”
At the thanksgiving service which was attended by the Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, traditional rulers, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori took the first reading with all the legislators in attendance.
Governor Okowa who commended the DTHA for a successful anniversary, observed that the legislators have been very diligent in serving God and diligent in working with him to serve Deltans.
“I believe that Lord has been very faithful to you and you have worked very diligently with God and has worked very diligently with me,” the Governor stated, reiterating, “we deserve to give Him thanks and praise and I am glad that all the members of the House of Assembly are here to serve God; if you don’t look up to God and trust in Him, you are going to have problems.”
Earlier in a sermon, Pastor Julius Oyinloye stated, “thanksgiving is expression of peace in our lives, thanksgiving is the will of God, giving Him thanks is application for more.”
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has called on those behind the group, New Delta Avengers to toe the line of dialogue rather than resorting to threats in resolving issues.
The Governor who was reacting to a publication by the group threatening bloodbath in the creeks of the Niger Delta stated that it was unfortunate that at a time when everything was being done true due process in a democratic atmosphere, some persons were still resorting to threats as the best ways of achieving desired results.
According to the Governor who briefed the press on 12/06/17, in Asaba through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, “at the moment, the Governor is interfacing with the people of the state by holding a townhall meeting after the commissioning and inspection of projects in each of the 25 local government areas of the state, where the people are given free latitude to bear their minds to speak up about what they want the government to do and what they believe that government may not have done satisfactorily, in which case, nobody is being gagged, so, for anybody to want to blame the media, civil society or the opposition of not living up to expectation is very far from the truth.”
“If indeed this new group is desirous of having government develop the creeks, is desirous of having us live in peace, is desirous of having us protect the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters who live in these oil bearing communities, they cannot be talking about bloodbath because, bloodbath will affect most likely those who live in that environment much more than anyone else and so, you cannot begin to raise arms against those that you claim to protect,” he said, adding, “if indeed their desire is for the development of the creeks, we cannot take actions that is capable of further polluting the creeks, if indeed their actions is to bring prosperity to the people of the oil bearing communities, you cannot go and destroy the infrastructure that will bring dividends of democracy to our brothers and sisters who live in these areas, but most importantly, this government is already constructing roads in Okerenkoko, today you will see that work is ongoing in Ogulagha where internal roads are being tarred, if you go to a larger part of Burutu, you would never even know that we could get a road that will be up to 18 km within the creeks that is being constructed by Governor Okowa’s administration.”
He continued, “all these are being done to make life much more meaningful for our people in the creeks and the empowerment programmes initiated by this administration, you will discover that our people in the creeks are not left out, so, it is a holistic approach that the government has adopted with a view to ensuring that everybody is brought on board.”
“We want to believe that these individuals are not Deltans because Deltans are very peace-loving, they are people who yearn for development because they are development-minded and anybody who wants development can not begin to speak the way that this particular group is speaking, but. if it happens that they are from Delta State, we plead with them to give peace a chance because it will help everybody, it will help our brothers and sisters in the creeks because what touches them also touch us all; we plead with them to embrace dialogue at all times more so, now that there is a platform made possible through the townhall meetings where there is a no hold back session between the government and the people,” he stated.
“I am addressing specifically, the publication credited to a group that calls itself New Delta Avengers because, we must set the record straight; it is not true for anybody to accuse the government of neglecting the oil bearing communities; it is also wrong for anyone to accuse the government of not properly funding DESOPADEC, and I do not want to address our mind to the group’s motto which says, ‘bloodbath to anyone who opposes or seen as a traitor;’ this administration has special respect for the ethnic diversity of the state and indeed respect to the 3 senatorial districts, respect to the 10 federal constituencies and respect to the 25 local government areas that make up the state; everybody is being carried along because we believe that together, we will be stronger as a state,” the Governor said.
While stating that his administration was working without preference to any special group, Governor Okowa disclosed that based on the recession that hit the country, there is no way allocation to DESOPADEC would not be affected because, salaries of workers and the stability of the srate is equally important.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said government should not compromise on quality education for the youths.
Speaking on 14/06/17 in a separate town hall meetings for the people of Uvwie and Ughelli South local government areas at the PTI Conference Centre, Effurun and Unity Hall, Otu-Jeremi respectively, Governor Okowa stated that quality education laced with proper skills will prepare the youths to be self sufficient in the future.
According to the Governor, his administration has not compromised quality education, especially, reviving of technical education to ensure that the youths are equipped for future challenges.
He disclosed that despite the fact that the state boasts of more than 1, 000 primary schools and about 500 secondary schools built by government, most of the communities in the state are still yearning for more.
While assuring the people of Uvwie that the Urhobo College will be renovated, Governor Okowa stated that from 2018, more schools would be built in the state.
“In every local government, there are roads being constructed because, we know the roads are important to the development of our people; we have taken on roads in the first two years, in the coming year, we will take on schools because, Deltans love education,” he said, adding, “we have fixed three technical colleges that are very functional and we have started to renovate the other three in the state because we know the importance of skill acquisition for the youths.”
He reiterated, “I want to urge parents to take their children to the technical schools because, apart from the skills they will acquire, the schools still offer the same subjects done by other schools, we should equip our children to face the challenges of the future.”
The Governor disclosed that the town hall meetings which will make him transverse the 25 local government areas of the state, inspect ongoing projects and commission completed ones will also provide opportunity to hold town hall meetings with the people, asserting, “in these town hall meetings, we should push away politics, it is a serious business, this is an opportunity for the people to know what we are doing, how we are managing their funds and an opportunity for our people to participate actively in government by telling us the truth, if we are doing well, the areas we need to improve on and what they need for us to build such into our programmes.”
The Governor who attended the town hall meetings accompanied by his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro and other top political office holders stated that apart from infrastructural development in all the local government areas of the state, his administration has empowered a lot of Deltans through skill acquisition programmes.
He noted that beneficiaries of the skill acquisition programmes were trained, equipped and are being monitored and mentored to ensure that they become successful entrepreneurs.
Governor Okowa thanked Deltans for their peaceful dispositions, stating that such should be sustained for the desired development to be achieved.
Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, former Deputy Governor of the state, Prof. Amos Utuama (SAN) were among dignitaries that attended the town hall meetings.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has said his administration will continue to patronize contractors that has track records of delivering quality projects.
The Governor gave the assurance yesterday (13/06/17) during the commissioning of Okpe-Olomu/Umolo road, in Ughelli South local government area of the state.
Governor Okowa accompanied by his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, top government officials and political office holders also, carried out inspection and commissioned roads in Ughelli South and Uvwie local government areas of the state.
Some of the projects commissioned or inspected by the Governor and his team include, Ewu-Orere road, Ovwor/Effurun-Otor bridge, Rehabilitation of Ekakpamre/Ekrokpe/Usiefurun road, construction of Ugbomro road and the Federal University of Petroleum Resources junction, Osubi Airport road dualization project, and commissioning of Obodo Avenue, Shaguolo area, off Refinery and Petrochemical Company, Ekpan.
I am impressed with the quality of work done on the roads; we will give more jobs to contractors who deliver their works to specifications and as at when due,” the Governor said.
At the Palace of Okobaro of Ughievwen, HRM Matthew Ediri Egbi, Owahwa II and that of the Ovie of Uvwie, HRM Emmanuel Sideso Abe I, Governor Okowa explained what his administration has been doing to uplift the standard of living of Deltans within the past two years.
He commended the traditional rulers in the state for instilling in their subjects, especially, the youths the need to avoid any action that could lead to break down of law and order, noting that a peaceful state would lead to more revenue for the execution of projects.
The Governor also, assured the people of Uvwie that government would resume work on the Warri/Effurun road dualization project in the next dry season, adding that other roads in the area would also be looked into with a view to working on them.
He used the occasion to urge miners to liaise with the State government to carry out a proper environmental impact assessment before mining licences are issued to Miners, assuring that the different empowerment programmes will continue to create job opportunities for the people and make them to be employers of labour.
The Delta State Honourable Commissioner of Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah has advised the newly elected Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Delta State Council, to build bridges of unity across all segments of her membership to ensure a one happy united family, adding that as sportsmen it is expected that after election, everyone should be carried along in the interest of peace and progress.
The Commissioner cited that his major hobby are sports and politics, stressing that win or lose, sportsmen and politicians must learn to move on. “During ur election I made it a point of duty that we from here stood on the principle of working with anybody that wins, because I knew how dangerous it would look interfering in this kind of election. I thank God that u recognize that we indeed maintained neutrality in that election. And so, I congratulate u and I am especially grateful to God for the success of that election”, he said.
The highly cerebral information manager however, admonished the executive to ensure that the ethics and codes of conduct of journalism practice are adhered to by practitioners. He appealed that journalists should be responsible to their assignments and not see their statutory power of checkmating government to cause frictions.
The peace loving Commissioner reiterated that the Media Team of His Excellency Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is strong and united. He affirmed that there is no division amongst them; therefore, the media should desist from putting up divisive reports to score a point, warning that they should report unity rather separation, so as not to be viewed in the contrary by the public.
The Chief Media Officer of the state going forward, promised to synergize and partner the press to make progress, which he said is part of government’s responsibility.
As a fatherly advice, he appealed to the new executive of NUJ to hold dearly to God, affirming strongly that only a faith in God would bring the success that the new leadership desires.
Meanwhile, the NUJ Chairman, Delta State Council, Comrade Mike Ikeogwu had earlier appreciated the Commissioner for always being a father to the Union, while also commending him for remaining neutral during and after the State Council election that produced the current leadership.
Ikeogwu assured the Commissioner of the commitment of his executive to build a virile and resounding NUJ that can stand a test of time.
Reported By Patrick Ochei (for Anioma Trust Newspaper)
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has been urged to expedite action on the digital switch over programme in the television broadcast industry.
Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, gave the charge when the Benin Zonal Director of the NBC, Dr. Tony Anigala, paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Asaba
on Thursday (15/06/2017).
Mr, Ukah, who thanked the Commission for including the Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) among stations to be in the first phase of the switch over, said it will give the government broadcast media the platform to reach wider audience.
He said government will partner the Commission in ensuring that the digitization vision come on stream to the benefit of all.
He advised the new Zonal Director to put in his best in promoting broadcast code and ethics pointing out that the state government has put things on ground to fully maximize the programme.
The NBC Zonal Director in charge of Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo States, Dr. Tony Anigala, said he was in the commissioner’s office as part of familiarization tour of states in the zone as well as seek ways of partnership in ensuring a hitch free digitization in the zone. Dr. Anigala said the Ministry of Information, being the umbrella of the state owned broadcast stations, needed to be carried along in rebuilding and rebranding Broadcasting in the state from analog to digital.
He appealed to the commissioner to assist the stations at all times to enable them meet standards in digital broadcasting affirming that it’s monitoring roles would not be compromised.
Members of the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) have been challenged to challenged to uphold unity, objectivity and professionalism in all their activities.
The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, gave the charge in his office in Asaba on Thursday (15/06/2017) when he played host to the newly elected Delta State Executive Council of the NUJ led by the state Chairman, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu.
Mr. Ukah said journalism, anchored on high ethical conduct, will not only promote development but will also advance peace and unity in all segments of the society.
He congratulated the Chairman and other state executive on their successful election and swearing in and urged them to be magnanimous in victory in addition to carrying all along in the scheme of things.
The commissioner enjoined media practitioners in the state to partner government in promoting the policies and programmes of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa based on facts and not fiction.
He assured the NUJ executive that the union’s secretariat, being financed by the state government, will be ready for commissioning soon adding that a conducive working environment will be provided for Journalists to operate.
On the tour of local governments in the state by Governor Okowa, Mr. Ukah said it has brought to the fore that the administration has littered the three Senatorial Districts with landmark projects even in the midst of economic recession.
He sued for the support of Deltans in building a new Delta where peace and unity will take the centre stage.
The state Chairman of the Delta State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, said the visit was to introduce the new executive to the commissioner and to pledge readiness of members in promoting the policies of government without bais.
Comrade Ikeogwu lauded Mr. Ukah for his neutrality before, during and after the election and reminded members of the need to contribute their quota in bringing the needed transformation to the union.
He thanked the state government for the secretariat project and appealed to the contractor to redouble effort for the quick completion of the job.
He said strict adherence to the core values of the profession will be the watch word of his tenure.
A befitting estate for journalists, otherwise christened ‘Journalists’ Village’ will be vigorously pursued to be achieved in the life of the new executive of the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union Of Journalists, NUJ, said Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, the substantive Chairman of the State Council.
He disclosed this in Asaba at a maiden Press Briefing by the State Executive of the Union where a huge number of journalists and media executives attended to have a first hand information on the plans and strategies of the new Union leaders to forge the Union ahead.
Comrade Ikeogwu said the briefing was to intimate members of the Union with the vision of his administration, stressing that the Housing Estate would be aimed at alleviating the accommodation challenge of members of the pen profession within and around the State Capital.
He commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for approving funds for the building of the NUJ Secretariat in Asaba that is near completion and appealed to him not to relent in seeing what he has started completed and put to full use soonest, while also assuring him of the robust support of Journalists to promoting the SMART Agenda.
He outlined areas of priority for his tenure to include professionalism, training and retraining of members, welfare scheme, establishment of corporative society, establishment of NUJ Agro-based business, re-branding of the NUJ Press Week, as well as sporting activities.
Comrade Ikeogwu said building a virile Union where quacks would be flushed out would not be compromised and advised members to avoid acts capable of portraying the profession in bad light.
He equally lauded all the candidates that participated in the NUJ June 1 election for imbibing the spirit of sportsmanship as seen displayed; and enjoined them to work with him and his executive towards bringing the needed change to the noble profession.
For those who felt offended before, during and after the election, Comrade Ikeogwu asked them for forgiveness, advising all to put the interest of the Union above self.
The Briefing which featured questions and answers session was attended by Journalists from all Chapels across the State.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has urged the European Union (EU) to prevail on multinational oil companies the need to domicile their headquarters in their areas of operations.
According to Governor Okowa, locating headquarters of multinational oil companies in their host communities would boost relationship between the companies and such communities and also, ensure that the host states are not shortchanged in terms of revenue generation.
Governor Okowa made the call on 06/06/17, when the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Michael Arrion paid him a courtesy visit in Asaba.
“Most of the multinational oil companies do shortchange us as a people and as a state, they operate in this state but, their head office and their managenent staff are outside the state, there is the need for them to relocate to where they have their operations,” the Governor said, adding, “if all their operations are in the state, it is comfortable for our people and enables true partnership between the oil company, government, and the people when you domicile in the area where you make your money.”
He continued, “we hope they will listen to the voice of reasoning and relocate to areas where they have their operations.”
Senator Okowa also, used the occasion to appeal to the EU to assist Nigeria by encouraging its teeming youths to be positively engaged for them to be assets rather than liability to the society.
He stated that the youths could be encouraged to acquire skills or be engaged in the agro-value chain, disclosing that his administration had recorded successes in the skill acquisition programmes for youths and the empowerment of the youths though agriculture.
“We have willing youths who are ready to partner with the EU in the development of the agro-value chain,” the Governor assured, reiterating that despite financial challenges, his administration had revived technical education in the state and has continued to provide basic social amenities for the people.
While stating his administration’s readiness to partner with the EU, individuals and corporate organizations that desires to do business in the state, Senator Okowa commended the stabilizing roles the EU is playing in Nigeria and sub-saharan Africa.
Earlier, Mr Arrion had said he was on working visit to the state, noting that the EU has been in the country for 40 years with fruitful partnership with Nigeria and Delta State in particular.
He disclosed that the EU was interested in assisting the country in tackling terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal migration and ensuring that EU states invest in the country asserting, “we see Nigeria as a market to invest much more in, we believe that the European investments can lead to the diversification of the economy.”
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has said his administration is committed to capacity building of its workforce to grow a productive civil and public service.
Speaking on 6/6/17, when the Chairman and members of the National Assembly Service Commission paid him a courtesy visit in Asaba, the Governor observed that despite the current recession in the country his government will continue to train and re-train its workforce for a more productive state.
According to him, “times are very challenging due to the economic downturn in the country and many states are struggling to pay salaries but, that does not stop us from beginning to initiate ways and means of building on the capacity of our staff not just those in the House of Assembly Service Commission but also at the civil and public service.”
“We intend to look in that direction because we know that if our staff are more productive, the entire system will be productive; we are hopeful that our resources will improve shortly but that does not stop us from organizing trainings that are local; foreign trainings will have to be reduced as much as possible because it is very expensive,” he said, adding “we realized the need to build the capacity of our staff to provide the needed foundation for the legislature to grow and make appropriate laws for our people.”
He appreciated the synergy and partnership between the House of Assembly Service Commission and the National Assembly Service Commission, stating. “it is very important because the legislature needs to grow and in growing they need to share ideas at both levels; l think that this new partnership between the service commissions at both levels will help stabilize the staff and service in the legislature.”
Earlier, In a brief address, Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission, Dr. Paul Oweh, informed the Governor that they were on a working visit to the State House of Assembly Service Commission to interact and share ideas and help strengthen the synergy existing between them for a better service delivery.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has advocated for elected political office holders to equip the youths of their constituencies to acquire entrepreneurial skills that will make them to be self-reliant.
The Governor made the call yesterday (26/05/17) at the maiden economic summit of the people of Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency tagged, ‘Njiko AniomaOshimili Economic Summit’ held in Asaba.
According to the Governor, political office holders and philanthropists should go beyond purchase of “motorcycles” for people but, should train such persons to acquire relevant skills that will make them to be entrepreneurs.
While disclosing that technical education should be taken as basic education background for children, Governor Okowa stated, “I am pleading that our politicians train the people to acquire skills and mentor them than just giving out motorcyles and other equipments as empowerment programmes; if the people are well trained and they work hard on their own, they can be job creators.”
“We have had a lot of success stories with our skill acquisition programmes and beyond what the government is doing, individuals, corporate organisations should find a way of assisting the people to acquire skills; we have provided a window for people to come from the private sector and bring youths for us to train and they will empower such persons while we mentor them,” he said.
The Governor who lauded the organisation of economic summits for people to look at how to grow their economies at their ethnic nationality levels, urged Deltans, who are doing well in their chosen fields of life to come back home and be involved in the development of their communities.
He specifically, urged the people of Aniocha/Oshimili to look at ways to cultivate rice, as the area has a rice belt capable of feeding the state and beyond, disclosing that the Federal Government was on the verge of placing a ban on the importation of rice and Deltans should be actively involved in agriculture which is one of the greatest employers of labour.
The Governor assured the people of his administration’s commitment to the development of the state, adding that his administration was partnering with the private sector to provide low-cost housing for Deltans, road construction, ICT development, industrial parks, construction of the Asaba Stadium, among others.
Some of the resource persons who spoke at the occasion include Chief Henry Okolo, Dr Boniface Chizea, Mr Innocent Isichei, Barr. Mike Ejiofor, Dr Tony Iweaka, Prof. Sylvester Monye, Chief Clement Ofuani, among others talked about the economic potentials of the area and how they can be harnessed to the benefits of the people.
Earlier in a welcome address, the convener of the summit, Prof. Epiphany Azinge had stated that the summit was necessary for the people of the area to chart a course towards speedy economic growth.
The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), has called on the Federal Government to harness the reservoir of knowledge available in finding lasting solution to the problems confronting different sectors of the nation’s economy.
The call was made by the President of the Association, Dr. Omede Idris, while addressing participants at the Presidential retreat of the Association, held in Asaba, on Thursday, 18 May, 2017.
Dr. Idris, who noted that the retreat was meant to promote excellence in services to the society and build synergy among professionals for the growth of the country, also affirmed that the retreat would equally provide a platform to create awareness on how best the association could be more viable in the country.
In his keynote address, the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro identified the active involvement of professionals in different fields, as a panacea to bringing lasting solution to the socio-economic challenge facing the country.
Barrister Otuaro, represented by his Executive Assistant on Boundary Matters, Barr. Gweke Akudihor, stated that the professionals had the knowledge and expertise to pull the nation out of economic recession, even as he added that the Federal government had set in motion, plans to launch the economic Recovery team aimed at full economic restoration and diversification of macro-economic sectors like energy, agriculture, science and technology, amongst others.
The Deputy Governor said the State government was desirous of economic growth and this has necessitated the initiation of growth acquisition programmes in agriculture and other agro-based schemes, thus creating a firm structure for employment generation and economic independence.
Delivering his lecture, Dr. Olubumi Ajayi identified that lack of planning of Urban centres has made it hard for development to thrive, even as he advocated for professional input in town planning.
In a paper on Promoting locally made products, Mr. Tony Agenmonmen called on Nigerians to patronize made in Nigeria goods to stimulate the economy and also urged the manufacturers to package their products to meet acceptable standards.
Highlights of the occasion included the presentation of a Plaque of appreciation to the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro by the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, APBN.
Reported by Abel Johngold Orheruata
An appeal has been made to the Members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists to be of good conduct since they are seen as the watch-dog of the society and that whatever they do is subject to public scrutiny.
The Delta State Commissioner of Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah made the call in a statement issued recently from his Office in Asaba, Delta State.
The Commissioner observed with dissatisfaction that the conduct of members during the botched NUJ election left much to be desired.
Commissioner Ukah assured members of the Union that much as the Government may want to assist the Union in making sure that things run smoothly, the Government would not interfere in the matter since the members were matured enough to elect those they prefer to run the affairs of the Union.
Mr. Ukah therefore called on the members to go out on the rescheduled date, conduct themselves in a manner that would not breach the peace and elect Officers of their choice.
A Delta State High Court sitting at Kwale presided over by Honourable Justice V.I. Ofesi has upheld the legitimacy of Private Tax Consultants duly appointed by the Delta State Government to collect taxes on behalf of the State.
In a suit filed by Harrison Ejeluno and 4 others against the Commissioner of Police and 15 others, the applicants sought amongst other reliefs, a declaration that the compulsory collection of union ticket or any ticket however described, is unlawful, illegal and a violent breach of their fundamental rights.
In his judgment delivered on the 10th day of May, 2017, His Lordship, Honourable Justice V.I. Ofesi held that the Association being duly authorized by Government to collect road tax or fees for and on behalf of the Government of Delta State, had “unfettered or exclusive right to collect road tax from any motorcycle and tricycle operators notwithstanding the group they belong.”
The Learned Judge further ordered that the private tax consultant duly engaged by the Delta State Government is legally empowered to continue to collect road tax/fees from all members of the Applicants group operating in that name including members of the 5th – 15th respondents.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to involve the people in its area of operation in project planning and execution.
Speaking when Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, Chairman NDDC led management of the agency on a courtesy visit in Asaba, Governor Okowa said that the siting of critical projects in the region could only be achieved based on the actual needs of the people of the area.
“I want to welcome the spirit of partnership and we are ready to cooperate with you on the development of the Niger/Delta Area, the state and your agency needs this cooperation to help our people; we need to create room for the contribution of the people in project planning and execution. l agree with you that we need projects that will impact more on the life of the people. I want to call for proper monitoring of projects especially road projects and the need to strengthen and fund the department of quality delivery because it is important in the execution of projects,” he said.
He promised to support and cooperates with the on-going reforms by the board, assuring that the state would partner with NDDC in the proposed construction of the Bomadi-Okerenkoko-Escravos road, stating that “this is an important road that crisscrosses two major oil producing nationalities in the state.”
While advising the agency to collaborate with the Senate Committee on Niger/Delta on the funding of NDDC projects, Senator Okowa supported the call on the Federal Government to re- constitute the Advisory and Project Monitoring Committees of the agency
According to the Governor, such measure would deepen the partnership between the state and NDDC in meeting the needs of the people and creating room for the people of the area to contribute to developmental projects, planning and execution.
Earlier, Senator Ndoma Egba said that they were in the state to solicit the support and partnership of the state government in its ongoing reforms of the NDDC, urging the Federal Government to re-constitute the Advisory and Project Monitoring Committees of the agency to improve accountability, transparency, cooperation and partnership.
He said that the agency was desirous of carrying out joint venture projects with member states in the spirit of partnership stressing that to create an enabling environment for the relocation of the International Oil Companies (IOC’s) to the area, the NDDC would soon construct a fiber optic network in the region to deepen internet penetration and speed while a Niger Delta Development Bank would be establish to carter for development of the area beyond oil.
As Ijaws everywhere celebrate the life and times of one of our greatest heroes and champions of the struggle for the emancipation of the Ijaw Nation and Niger Delta from deprivation and poverty, the Late Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro, we the executive council and entire membership of Ijaw Youth Council do felicitate with the Boro family, his gallant comrades-in-arms, the Government of Bayelsa State and the entire Ijaw nation.
We believe that this year’s Boro Festival celebration affords us not only another opportunity to celebrate the labours of our heroes past, both dead and living, but also an occassion to reflect on the state of the Ijaw Nation, as well as a time to think through strategies for surmounting our major challenges as a people.
There is no gainsaying the fact that many decades after Boro’s sacrifice, the Ijaw Nation has still not recorded any quantum leap in terms of development. In Boro’s day, majority of Ijaw towns and villages were not connected to the world by good roads and were in pitch darkness despite the fact that the oil and gas which flow under them lit many cities elsewhere. Majority of Ijaw communities lacked access to portable water and qualitative and affordable healthcare. All these have still not changed today. He gave his all to ensure that qualified, willing and able Ijaw people are gainfully employed. Today, that is still not the case, as majority of Ijaw youths are unemployed due in part to the continuous siting of the administrative headquarters of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) outside the Niger Delta and Ijaw land which is the main area of their operations. This has contributed to their adoption of policies and taking of decisions that are in the main inconsiderate of the fallouts of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta on our people such as pollution, environmental hazards and degradation leading to the dislocation of our local economy. This is why since our assumption, the National Executive Council of IYC led by Barr Pereotubo Oweilaemi has been in the forefront of canvassing for and calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria to speedily implement the relocation of the IOCs as directed by the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. It was against this backdrop that starting from May 4, 2017, we have issued statements condemning the leadership of the House of Representatives for turning down a symbolic motion sponsored by Hon. Goodluck Opiah praying the House to direct the multinational oil and gas companies to relocate their administrative head offices to the Niger Delta Region. It is our belief that for there to be peace, stability and progress in our land and country, Ijaw youths have to be positively engaged.
It is also in line with this conviction that we commended the 8th Nigerian Senate and the Presidency for the passage of a bill for the establishment of Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State and for the setting up of a committee to implement a presidential directive that the institution commences academic activities before this year ends.
The above are just two examples that capture our approach to goal attainment as an IYC EXCO. We commend those that do good things and condemn those that do badly. As the leadership of the IYC, our mission is to restore the council to its original vision and prestige. It is a known fact that the set of Ijaw youths that founded the IYC, such as Dr Felix Tuodolo, Elder T. K. Ogoriba, Late Barr Oronto Douglas, Dr Patterson Ogoun, among others, were young people who were respected internationally for their track record of service. Like Boro who inspired them, these youths placed service above self. However, over the years, due to a cocktail of factors, the institution they built –the IYC – has lost its prestige and sympathy. As leaders of Ijaw youths, the IYC ably headed by Barr Pereotubo Oweilaemi believe that it is our duty to remedy this situation.
In order to achieve the above stated objective, we have developed new tools of engagement and a different approach to solving the developmental challenges of our people.
As a council, our actions so far have been guided by an approach that emphasizes non-violence and collaboration with the relevant authorities at all levels – local, state and federal government and their agencies – as well as the IOCs and international development agencies that mean well for the Ijaw Nation in finding lasting solutions to our problems. We believe that violence cannot resolve the Ijaw question. Violence has never been the best approach to development.
Given the foregoing, in the spirit of this year’s Boro Festival we are calling on Ijaws, especially the youths, to join us in this non-violent approach to solving problems. We want to objectively engage the Federal Government and IOCs. Even when we are agitating for things that ordinarily ought to come to us without asking, we should go through peaceful channels in order to negotiate better deals for our people, rather than take destructive routes like shutting down production which negatively impact on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Nation and the government’s ability to meet the needs of our people. We must engage the government and the IOCs objectively rather than becoming violent and threatening national security and the peace and economic wellbeing of the nation. As a council we want to contribute to national development in Ijaw land, Niger Delta and Nigeria.
Thus, as a council, we are resolved to supporting the government and oil companies with security and also manpower-wise.
It is our hope that this creates a better understanding between our people and those who this new IYC view as our development partners, namely: the Government and the IOCs. We hope that this approach would give our development partners enough space and time to implement whatever development roadmap they have for the Niger Delta and Ijaw Nation.
Ha aaaa Izon!!!!
Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has advocated for the award of contracts to technical colleges in the country to encourage them to do more.
The Governor made the call on 16/05/17 at Sapele, during the Commissioning of upgraded facilities at Sapele Technical College, Sapele.
While at Sapele, Governor Okowa also commissioned Ogaga Road and inspected the reconstruction project af Ikoyo Avenue as part of activities lined up to celebrate the second year anniversary of his administration.
Other people oriented projects also inspected by the Governor include tomatoes cluster farm at Amukpe and Jesse Access Road Dualisation Project.
Buttressing the need to patronize technical colleges, Governor Okowa stated that it was important for Nigerians, especially, the youths to be equipped with technical skills which will save the country from capital flights and also, make the youths to be self employed and become employers of labour.
“Contracts are to be awarded to technical colleges, we are going to train and retrain our teachers in the technical colleges, because, our desire is for our children to acquire skills,” the Governor said.
The Governor expressed satisfaction that the Technical College has befitting structures, workshops that are well equipped and asphalted roads, noting that the technical colleges in the state are capable of competing with the best in the country.
Also, as part of the projects commissioning spree, Governor Okowa, accompanied by his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Friday Osanebi, the Ovie of Oghara, HRM Oyibo Eshemitan, Orefe III, commissioned the expanded Oghara Junction to Otefe road, and flagged off the construction of Ogwefe/Ugbenu road.
Earlier at the Palace of the Ovie of Oghara, Governor Okowa assured the people that his administration would continue to do more in the delivery of democratic dividends and thanked Deltans for their support.
The Ovie had commended the developmental stride of Governor Okowa and urged him not to be deterred in meeting with the yearnings of Deltans.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has said intelligence gathering should be adopted as one of the best ways to tackle Fulani herdsmen menace in the country.
Governor Okowa dropped the hint on 15/05/17, when he led top government functionaries to pay assessment visit to Ossissa community in Ndokwa East local government area of Delta State which was recently attacked by Fulani herdsmen.
“You should identify, notify security men or government officials on the location of armed herdsmen and they will be dislodged,” he said.
The Governor who decried the effects of Fulani herdsmen menace on Deltans called on communities to be proactive, assuring that any herdsmen caught with dangerous weapon or perceived to be a threat to Deltans would face the laws of the land.
According to him, a detachment of Police officers would be sent to the Ossissa community to check the menace of the herdsmen.
He assured Deltans that the Federal Government was working on policies to check activities of herdsmen, noting that they should be patient.
“No doubt, you people are in severe pains, unfortunately, we lost some people,” Governor Okowa said, while condoling the families of the victims of the menace and the Ossissa community.
He emphasised, “surely, the people who are carrying AK 47 assault rifles and other unlicensed weapons are not on the side of the law and anyone who is caught with such, will face the wrath of the law.”
Governor Okowa urged the community to remain peaceful and law abiding
Recalling their ordeal in the hands of the herdsmen, some members of the community disclosed some members of the community have died in the herdsmen attack.
Hon. Joseph Kukaye specifically called on the government to take proactive steps to check the menace of the herdsmen because, it was no longer safe to go to their farms which has led to famine and low economic activities in the community.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has said the Nigerian Army has shown a lot of professionalism in tackling security challenges in the country.
Speaking when the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Major General Ene Obong Udoh led top officers of the Division to pay him a courtesy visit in Asaba on 15/05/17, Governor Okowa stated, “the military has shown a lot of professionalism in handling security issues in the country.”
The Governor specifically observed that the military in conjunction with other security organs have recorded successes in curtailing security challenges, in the Niger Delta region, disclosing that his administration at the height of militancy in the Niger Delta which led to the destruction of national assets, set up a high – powered advocacy committee led by his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro.
While noting that the advocacy visits to the creeks of the Niger Delta made the traditional rulers to instill in their subjects the need to sheath their swords, Governor Okowa gave kudos to the military for the professional ways it tackled the situation in the area.
“We have achieved a reasonable level of peace in our state and I want to commend the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo who visited our state, traditional rulers, our youths and the security agencies for the different roles they played for us to enjoy peace,” the Governor said, adding that the security council meeting has been regular in the state to ensure that impending security challenges are nipped in the bud.
He commended the Nigerian Army for setting up a new division for the oil producing states in the Niger Delta noting, “a greater presence of security agencies will enable us have peace in a faster manner.”
“The peace of this state of recent, has been disturbed by the activities of herdsmen and we need to make this known because, the frequent clashes between herdsmen and our farmers are becoming a huge challenge to us; we hope that the Federal Government will proffer solutions through enduring policies,” he added.
Earlier, Major General Udoh had told the Governor and members of the state executive council that he was in the state to inform the government that a new Division of the Nigerian Army has been created to cater for the security challenges in the Niger Delta area comprising Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta State, disclosing that military formations of the new Division will be sited in different parts of the state.
Basking in the euphoria of successful hosting the 6th edition of the Delta State Sports Festival, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on 15/05/17 inaugurated a 17-man Local Organizing Committee [LOC] for the 2018 African Senior Athletics Competition with Chief Solomon Ogba as Chairman.
Other members of the committee are Chief Tonobok Okowa; Mrs Hauwa Akinyemi; Chief Clement Ofuani; Commodore Omatseye Neisama; Mr Kayode Thomas; Mrs Nneka Anibeze; Mr Chris Anazieh; Mr Victor Onogagmue; Mr Olumibe Bamiduro; and Prof Ken Anugweje.
Others are Mrs. Queen Uboh; Mr. Yusf Alli; Mr. Seigha Porbeni; Chief Falilat Ogunkoya; Representative of Nilayo Sports Marketing Company and Mr. Akawo Amechi who will serve as Secretary to the committee.
Inaugurating the committee in Asaba, the Governor described sports as a unifying factor especially, among the youths as it engages their energy, ensure peace among them and boosts tourism.
At the sports festival which the 25 local government areas of the state participated in, Warri North local government area clinched the first position, with Oshimili South following closely while, Ukwuani local government area took the 3rd position,
“Delta State is the home of sports, we just concluded the 6th Delta State Sports Festival a few days ago and the final of the Principal’s Cup is coming up soon; sports is one thing that can unite the people, it engages the youths who will win laurels for the state and the nation and bring peace to the state”, he said, adding, “sports being a unifying factor, will unite our youths and encourage tourism potentials of our state.”
The Governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to ensuring a successful hosting of the championship saying, “the inauguration of the LOC is to ensure early planning and preparation for the championship”.
While congratulating the members of the LOC on their appointment, Senator Okowa said, “we are on course to host a successful championship as the LOC has experienced and seasoned sports administrators to organise the competition.”
Responding on behalf of members of the committee, Chief Solomon Ogba, explained that the 2018 African Senior Athletics Competition would bring world class African athletes to the state, as the championship will serve as a basis for the selection of African athletes for the world championship.
He assured that his committee would organize a successful championship that would be remembered for a long time.
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has said the multi-billion naira Independent Power Plant (IPP) project in Oghara will gulp much more money before it can come on stream.
The Governor who had a town hall meeting with the people of Ethiope West and Sapele local government areas in Oghara and Sapele respectively, stated that adequate power supply was required to boost the socio-economic life of the people.
Specifically, at Oghara where the former Governor of the state, Chief James Ibori led cream of politicians to attend the meeting, Governor Okowa disclosed that with the economic realities of the country, it would be difficult for the state to solely sponsor the IPP project.
“We have to study the project, if I tell you that it will be functional during my administration, I will be telling you lies, a lot have been done, but, we have done the calculation but, it is obvious that we cannot execute the project as a state for now because, the project will gulp over N200 billion.” he said.
Continuing, he said, “there are two options, either we enter into private partnership with the private sector or to outrightly, sell the IPP to the private sector so that it can make the project functional, so as to create jobs for our people and other benefits derivable.”
The Governor also, used the occasion to clarify issues concerning funding in the state, asserting that with the country, officially in recession, revenue to the Federal Government and other tiers of government was affected.
“We will continue to do the best we can even with the challenging times and we will continue to remain focused,” the Governor said.
At Sapele, Governor Okowa who was accompanied to all the events by his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro and other top government functionaries commended Deltans for their peaceful ways of resolving issues, observing that the protest by the people of Sapele against epileptic power supply was peaceful.
While listing projects executed by his administration in the area which included construction of roads, schools, markets, and others, the Governor expressed joy that since his coming on board two years ago, the Songhai Delta has becoming functional as training ground for the training of youths in different fields of life, especially agriculture.
“I can rightfully claim that i am from Okpe and Saoele local government, I want to thank you for coming out in your large numbers to attend this town hall meeting which will provide the opportunity to tell you what we are doing and the prospect we have for the future and also, listen to you to enable us add your needs in our budget; we are encouraging participatory democracy which I think we should have,” he said, adding, “I was happy with what I saw at the Songhai Training centre; in the past two years, that centre has been very active and yesterday, I saw a new system of farming, not new to the world but, new to us, the drip irrigation which is the first in our state; it will help to grow tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables and with the drip irrigation system, tomatoes will be grown at least three cycles in one year.”
“So many of our youths have been engaged already in our empowerment programmes and we are happy that our youths are also acquiring new skills through the revamped technical colleges in the state,” he reiterated.
The Governor assured that the Sapele market and other project’s would come on stream in the cause of the year.
Anioma Youth Forum AYF, a pan Delta North socio/political youth group, has thrown its weight behind the establishment of the proposed Stars University and Golf Course in the Idumuje-Ugboko, Aniocha North LGA, by a philanthropist and former member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, Prince Ned Nwoko, noting that the projects will not only transform the social economic lives of the people, but will also boasts the image of Delta State when completed.
In a press statement issued in Asaba, the Delta State Capital and signed by Mr. Felix Ifejiokwu and Barth Inneh, the National President and Secretary respectively, AYF, cautioned a section of Idumuje-Ugboko people and their sponsors to stop their opposition towards the establishment of the projects.
While condemning the impression being peddled by a clique, that the Stars University and Golf Course projects are meant to deprive the people of Idumuje-Ugboko of their land, the group noted that the vision to establish these projects date back to 2011, with the aim of leaving a legacy for human capital development that will engage and harness the physical and intellectual capabilities of the young ones, especially in Idumuje Ugboko, as well as develop sports as a worthy heritage of Deltans and ultimately expose the tourism potentials of Idumuje-Ugboko Kingdom to the global community.
According to the statement, “In other climes, these kinds of projects are craved for. Projects that have already been estimated to employ over 2000 locals with it multiplier effects should not only to be embraced by all, but should be supported by all Idumuje-Ugboko indigenes in particular and the entire Anioma nation and Deltastate in general. Today, Ogwashi-Uku, Abraka, Auchi, Ekpoma to mention but a few are burbling with socio-economic activities because of the Polytheistic and Universities sited in their domain.
Noting further, the statement emphasized that, “Prince Ned Nwoko, the brain behind the projects, is a positive, calm, well-defined gentleman, a world renowned philanthropist and detribalized personality, devoid of sentiments, a man that attends to myriad of complaints from people of various communities and usually deploys his personal resources to improve their conditions. A man that is imbued with wisdom, determination and with the courage needed to succeed in his endeavours and often times, fashions out possible ways to help the people who throng his residence whenever he visits home.”
Finally, the statement admonished the detractors of the projects thus: “The Anioma Youth Forum therefore, call for cessation of all propaganda by a handful of Idumuje-Ugboko indigenes and their sponsors. Rather they should channel their energies and resources into making sure that the Stars University and Golf Course projects are materialized, so as to open the vistas of hope for the teaming youths of Idumuje-Ugboko, Delta State and Nigeria at large”, the statement concluded.
The Town Hall meetings currently going on between the Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa and the entire people of the state and the commissioning and inspection of projects are a fulfilment of a campaign promise that he will come at midterm to meet with the electorate.
Giving this clarification in Asaba over the weekend, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, said that the state government was not cajoled into arranging the Town Hall meetings, but packaged them as a fulfillment of a campaign promise.
He revealed that the two meetings held so far at Isoko North and Isoko South Local Government Areas provided a perfect platform for Dr. Okowa to meet with critical stakeholders and cross-fertilise ideas, targeted at fashioning out ways of improving on the gains made by the state as at the midterm of the government.
Mr. Ukah disclosed that the meetings are already achieving the objectives of its arrangement as the people expressed satisfaction because the projects commissioned were a direct fulfillment of the campaign promises made by the governor.
The Commissioner for Information revealed that there was nothing wrong in arranging the Town Hall meetings because in the corporate world, they hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) to appraise their performances and work out ways of doing things better in the future.
The Town Hall meetings and commissioning and inspection of projects will continue in Sapele and Ethiope West Local Government Areas on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 16 and 17, 2017.
Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Mr. Monday Igbuya has been impeached this morning during the house session. Mr. Igbuya was immediately replaced with the lawmaker representing, Okpe constituency, Mr. Sheriff Oborevwori as the new speaker. It was reliably gathered that Igbuya’s impeachment was signed by 22 out of the 29 members of the house.
Majority Leader Hon. Tim Owhefere was also removed and replaced by Hon. Jonhson Erijo.
However, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon Friday Osanebi retained his seat.
Oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region have been advised to ensure harmonious relationship with their host communities.
The Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa gave this advice on 09/05/17, when he paid a courtesy visit on the Ovie of Ozoro Kingdom, HRM Anthony Ogbogbo.
According to the Governor, “I believe that the Federal Government is becoming responsive to issues relating to oil exploration activities on the host communities and the oil companies should relate harmoniously with their host communities for peace to reign.”
He stated that his administration would not condone any action which will lead to breach of peace or will affect oil exploration activities in the state, assuring that operators of OML 30 in the state would be reached to ensure that they work peacefully with the Ozoro Kingdom.
The Ovie of Ozoro had said there would be dispute with operators of OML 30 if the company fails to respect provisions of the local content law in their operations.
The Governor who told the Ovie that he was in Ozoro for commissioning and inspection of projects as part of activities lined up to mark his second year anniversary in office, reiterated, “any oil company that is not relating well with their host communities will be called to order.”
Senator Okowa used the occasion to call on Deltans especially, residents of Isoko North and South Local Government Areas to come out emmasse on Friday, May 12th for the finals of the Delta State Sports Festival.
“The 12th of May which is Friday, is the finals of the sports festival and it will be held at the Delta State Polytechnic stadium, Ozoro; I invite you, your chiefs, all your subjects and all Deltans to attend the ceremony,” he said.
All is now set for the commissioning of the new, ultra-modern, state-of-the-art Delta State Library complex, scheduled for May 29, 2017, in Asaba, the state capital.
The Chairman of the Delta State Library Board, Dr Israel Abido, made the revelation on Tuesday, 9th of May, 2017, in Asaba, the State capital, even as he emphasized that the project, which was initiated by the immediate past administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghn, was seen as a very good project for public interest by Governor Okowa, who subsequently fast tracked its completion.
Taking newsmen on a tour to ascertain the level of completion of the new ultra modern multimillion naira State Library in Asaba, Dr. Abido hinted that the state government had already doled out about N47.5million to upgrade the standard of the State libraries and the Commissioning ceremony which is expected to be performed by the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on May 29, will be part of activities to mark the administration’s second anniversary in office.
Dr Abido, while addressing newsmen during the tour, displayed the approved and revised new edition books, equipment and furniture procured by the Board for the library and further disclosed that Gov Okowa has directed that the procured items be distributed among the 27 libraries across the State to ensure that the reading public can easily get library satisfaction.
He also revealed that part of the funds will be used to renovate and remodel some libraries in the State including the completion of the State Library in Sapele, for which about N30million has been earmarked and listed some of the facilities in the new ultra modern library, including the E-Library Center which will enable users outside the State register and have connectivity access to the Delta Library, from wherever they are in the country.
Dr Abido, who noted that though the E-books will be paid for annually, revealed that the State Government had already subscribed for a year, adding that the new ultra modern library will also generate revenue for the State through partnerships with examination bodies like JAMB, as well as public users.
Some library users at the old library situated just in front of the Mungo park house like Zainab Abu, Juliet Anumudu and Olumor Charles all commended the State Government for its generosity in upgrading the State libraries to standard, but however confided that the old State library lacked electricity and no alternative power supply source like a standby generator, which has rendered the place very un-conducive for reading, especially in the hot season.
Reported by Abel Johngold Orheruata
Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Nigerians to go for regular health check to enable them identify early signs of health issues.
The Governor made the call on 09/05/17, while flagging off free eye screening, tests, glasses and surgery at Ozoro, Isoko North local government area of the state. The ceremony was the second phase of its kind sponsored by the administration of Hon. Emmanuel Egbabor as the Chairman, Isoko North local government council.
According to the Governor, “this screening exercise is a wake up call for a genuine need for us to go for health check regularly.”
“Most people die gradually because they don’t see the need to go for health check,” the Governor said, noting that local government councils in the state should emulate what was done in Isoko North by partnering with stakeholders to improve on the health status of their indigenes.
He emphasized, “I believe that with partnership with the right people, we can do more.”
Earlier in an address, the Chairman of the Council, Hon. Egbabor stated, “this second phase of the exercise is coming on the heels of the successes recorded in the first phase in August 2015, which saw a 17-year old blind girl regaining her sight after undergoing free eye surgery at the centre,”
While disclosing that a philanthropist contributed N1.5 million for the exercise which was being handled by a team of qualified specialists, Hon. Egbabor said, “in the first phase of the exercise, over 1, 500 persons were screened and treated for various eye related issues while about 75 persons were operated upon and over 750 glasses were issued; we embarked on this programme because, despite the recession, if the people can have their sight, they can fend for themselves, thereby reducing the hunger in the land and increase productivity.”
The council Chairman used the occasion to reel out some of the achievements of his administration which includes, rehabilitation of roads, establishment of a mechanic village, among others.
As part of activities to mark the second year anniversary of his administration, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on 09/05/17, commenced series of commissioning of projects.
While old Ozoro/Oleh road was commissioned at Ozoro, Isoko North local government area, the Governor commissioned the reconstructed Amawah/Idheze road in Isoko South local government area.
The Governor who was accompanied by a retinue of political office holders and top members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also, inspected Ozaha Modern Primary School and the level of construction work done at the Emore Grammer School, both in Oleh, Isoko South local government area of the state.
Speaking with the press shortly after the exercise, Governor Okowa commended communities in Delta State for partnering with his administration by ensuring that projects were executed to specifications and on time, disclosing that his administration has recorded tremendous progress in the provision of infrastructure despite the nation being in economic recession due to proper planning.
According to him, “what we are serving is a product of good planning, due to paucity of funds, we phase payment to contractors.
“We realized that it is possible to get the projects going and pay gradually,” the Governor said, adding, “it is a thing of joy that projects are executed in record time and to specifications.”
He continued, “the communities, the Kingdoms, the youths are partnering with us, they are encouraging the contractors and we are not experiencing disruption of contractor because of partnership; I must thank our youths, our Kings for their cooperation.
Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa has said he will not take any Chieftaincy title while he is the Governor of Delta State.
Governor Okowa gave the affirmation on 09/05/17 when he paid a courtesy call on the Odio Ologbo of Oleh in Isoko South local government area of Delta State, HRM Anthony Ovramwah who was celebrating his 80th birthday.
The Governor who was also in Oleh to commission and inspect projects as part of activities to mark his second year anniversary in office, expressed gratitude to different Kingdoms that desire to honour him with Chieftaincy titles, stated that such titles would be taken after he has left office as Governor.
“I will not take Chieftaincy titles during my tenure as Governor, all titles will be deferred till after I have left office,” Senator Okowa said, disclosing that he wants to concentrate on the delivery of dividends of democracy to Deltans.
The Governor congratulated the Odio Ologbo for clocking 80 years and wished him happy more years on earth and used the occasion to state that the Faculty of Law of the Delta State University has received full accreditation while plans are on to achieve such for other faculties in the University.
He also, urged traditional rulers to continue to instill in their subjects the need to be peaceful, observing that developmental projects can only take place in peaceful environment.
Asaba: The Deputy Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Friday Ossai Osenebi, will on the 23rd of May, 2017 in Asaba, disburse second tranche of his foundation scholarship fund to indigent and intelligent students.
A statement released by the Friday Osanebi Foundation, revealed that both undergraduate and post primary education students will access the scholarship funds, the same venue in Cabana Hotels NTA road, Asaba.
Speaking on behalf of the foundation, Agbanashi Obinne said: “it’s with great pleasure, that I convey to you, our chairman’s approval of the award of second tranche scholarship to both undergraduate and post primary education students, on Tuesday 23rd of May, 2017.’’
He added that over a hundred students from different background in Delta State and beyond, were able to access the N10, 000,00.00 ( Ten million naira), 1st tranche payment last year in Asaba, and the beneficiaries were charged to pursue their academic program with sense of mission, noting that renewal of the scholarship was predicated on certain CGPA (upper credit).
The Friday Osanebi Foundation, has over the years assisted students/youths and women majorly, to enhance human capital development and economic empowerment through his multifaceted empowerment schemes.
In line with the Deputy Speaker’s burning passion to touch lives positively, especially the poor, this scheme has specially distinguished him, due to it’s consistency and standard. He remains the empowerment master !g
Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa has said he will not take any Chieftaincy title while he is the Governor of Delta State.
Governor Okowa gave the affirmation on 09/05/17 when he paid a courtesy call on the Odio Ologbo of Oleh in Isoko South local government area of Delta State, HRM Anthony Ovramwah who was celebrating his 80th birthday.
The Governor who was also in Oleh to commission and inspect projects as part of activities to mark his second year anniversary in office, expressed gratitude to different Kingdoms that desire to honour him with Chieftaincy titles, stated that such titles would be taken after he has left office as Governor.
“I will not take Chieftaincy titles during my tenure as Governor, all titles will be deferred till after I have left office,” Senator Okowa said, disclosing that he wants to concentrate on the delivery of dividends of democracy to Deltans.
The Governor congratulated the Odio Ologbo for clocking 80 years and wished him happy more years on earth and used the occasion to state that the Faculty of Law of the Delta State University has received full accreditation while plans are on to achieve such for other faculties in the University.
He also, urged traditional rulers to continue to instill in their subjects the need to be peaceful, observing that developmental projects can only take place in peaceful environment.
Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) has received and adopted the report of its Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources over a Bill for a law to establish the Delta State Advisory Council on Nomadic cattle rearing and provide for the control of Nomadic cattle rearing in Delta State.
The report was presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon Evance Ivwurhie who stated that a public hearing was organized to collate views, and positions of stakeholders, stressing that the bill was coming at a time when Fulani herdsmen were carrying out series of attacks on communities, farmlands and human lives.
Hon Ivwurhie noted that the activities of Fulani herdsmen had assumed an alarming dimension in the country particularly in Delta State, adding that the pains inflicted on the people by the herdsmen was better imagined.
The report, which was received by the House following a motion by the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Oboro Preyor was subsequently adopted.
Meanwhile and in a related development, the lawmaker representing Ethiope East in the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Chief Evance Ochuko Ivwurie, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently constitute an Investigating Panel or Commission of Inquiry to look into the incessant attacks on the people of his constituency by herdsmen, noting that they should be flushed as a result of the precious lives and property being lost to the unwarranted attacks.
In a petition, Hon. Evance Ivwurie, also urged the Inspector General of Police to carry out proper investigation into the series of attacks on his helpless people and bring the perpetrators to book and also proffer solutions that would forestall a recurrence of such killings and mayhem in Ovre R’ Abraka/Eku/Igun, Ethiope East Local Government Area of the State.
The Lawmaker also copied the offices of the British Prime Minister, United States of America, United States Secretary of States, Israeli Prime Minister, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Central Intelligence Agency and Foreign embassies.
The petition read thus, “It is with a heavy heart that I write to bring to your attention, the continuous deterioration of the security and unwarranted loss of lives and property in my constituency and to urgently seek your intervention to bring to an end the wanton killings, maiming and raping of my people by suspected armed Fulani Herdsmen at Ovre r’ Abraka/Eku/Igun in Ethiope East LGA of Delta State”.
According to him; “I am compelled to write you this letter in view of the fact that I cannot fold my hands and watch my constituents suffer avoidable deaths and injury or watch to see my constituency go up in conflagration as a result of the heinous crimes being perpetuated against my people by the suspected Fulani Herdsmen”.
He also wrote that; It is on record my people have reported that there are over ten thousand herds of cattle and about two thousands Fulani herdsmen armed with all kinds of sophisticated weapons including AK-47 and the sighting of Helicopter delivering supplies to herdsmen severally in our Ovre r’ Abraka/Eku/Igun farmland which I raised the alarm, after the security architecture made me the issue instead of investigating the serious and weighty allegation made by my constituents. The security agencies have not visited the areas (Ovre r”Abraka/Eku/Igun) as of date to investigate the claims and no meaningful steps have been taken to bring an end to the insecurity in the area.”
The Lawmaker added in the Petition that; “In my capacity as the Honourable Member Representing Ethiope – East Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, I have continuously raised alarm on the state of insecurity in my constituency. I have consistently brought same to the attention of the security agencies while presenting the photographs and details reaching me to them and the fact that our people who farm in Ovre r’ Abraka/Eku/Igun are daily terrorized, killed, kidnapped, raped, and those who managed to escape did with bullet wounds and lost their limbs. Yet all the security agencies appear to be disinterested or helpless for reasons best known to them”.
He named those reported or suspected to have been cruelly murdered, maimed or raped by the suspected Fulani Herdsmen at Ovre r’ Abraka/Eku/Igun in Ethiope East LGA of Delta State to include Mr Solomon Ejor killed on Monday April 24th, 2017; Mr Sunday Idama killed on Saturday 25th March, 2017; Mr Sunday Couple killed on 3rd January, 2017.
Others are; Mr Eyabigun Akpovena killed on 3rd January, 2017; Mr Philip Obayendo killed on 11th March, 2016; Mr Francis Okotie killed on 29th March, 2016; Mrs Margret Okotie killed on the 20th of March, 2012; Mr. Adjeke Agodah killed on the 5th of January, 2016 and Mr Friday Ogefere’s young Daughter who was raped and physically assaulted.
Reported By Abel Johngold Orheruata and Christopher Odamah
I met Prince Ned Nwoko 18 years ago as a wide-eyed young man freshly out of NYSC. He was then a Member of the House of Representatives. Within a few days of our meeting it was obvious to me that here was a special character. It wasn’t his academic or professional CV, as impressive as they were (Law & History Bachelor’s, Keele University London, LLM Kings College London, Crown Prosecutor, Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales etc.), that got me believing. What got me tripping were his extraordinary vision, intense drive, self-confidence, acute intelligence, insight, compassion, and his special love of people, especially the people of his hometown Idumuje-Ugboko and Anioma people in general.
Prince Ned Nwoko arrived at the House of Representatives in 1999 as a bustling young man of 38 and instead of being content and grateful for just being a Member, as many people would have been, he straightaway set himself the ambition of becoming the Deputy Speaker. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful in that bid, nevertheless, he had distinguished himself amongst his colleagues, the Presidency and the national public. This gave him the platform to begin the fight for what he believes in: a better and more equitable society for all, whether rich or poor. And he especially believes that good education is the gateway to achieving this better life.
Accordingly, one of the dearest subjects to him was and still is the establishment of a federal university in Asaba, as well as the building of other infrastructures in the general Anioma area. To amplify his requests to the Obasanjo Administration, in the year 2000, Prince Ned Nwoko in his capacity as the then Member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, organized a visit of the leaders of the Constituency to Aso Rock. Amongst the members of this delegation were the Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof) Chike Edozien; the Ide Ahaba, Chief Sunny Odogwu; Prof Demas Nwoko; Chief Adadioranma Giwa-Amu; former Biafrian warlord, Colonel Joe Achuzia; Chief Ukadike; Architect Uzor; Chairman of UBA, Mr Tony Elumelu; Chairman Chrismatel Shipping Company; Chief Peter Eloka Okocha, Chairman of Kakasa Engineering Company, Chief Hyacinth Enuha; The late Obis of Idumuje-Unor, Issele-Uku, Ubulu-Uku and Idumuje Ugboko and the then four local government chairmen of Aniocha North, Aniocha South, Oshimili North and Oshimili South amongst other distinguished Anioma leaders.
I remember very clearly that the night before the meeting with President Obasanjo at the Villa, Prince Ned Nwoko conducted these Anioma leaders around Abuja, visiting important government officials like the then PDP Chairman, Chief Barnabas Gemade; the then Minister of Health, Prof Tim Menakaya and the then Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, with whom he directly pleaded for the completion of the Benin/Asaba dual carriageway, as well as the award of the contract for the construction of the Ewohimi/Idumuje Ugboko highway (both now accomplished projects).
At the meeting with President Olusegun Obasanjo in the State Room of Aso Rock the next day, the demands made on the government ministers the previous evening were reiterated. For the sake of clarity the principal requests in the memorandum presented were as follows: the establishment of a Federal University of Agriculture in Asaba, the construction of Ewohimi/Idumuje-Ugboko/Onicha Ugbo link road, the completion of the Benin Asaba dual carriageway (this project had dragged on for many years and was then in a state of abandonment), and the building of a dam in Aniofu, which was later sited in Ogwashi Uku. It is instructive to note that many years after, the people of Anioma and other Nigerians who cross Anioma are still enjoying the benefits of that visit.
Apart from these major projects, Prince Ned Nwoko also worked tirelessly for the construction of the NTA station Asaba, the Delta State Police Headquarters also in Asaba and he was also heavily involved, as Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, in influencing the granting of the licence for the Asaba Airport. He was also instrumental, through the Universal Basic Education Scheme, in the reconstruction and provision of excellent facilities in many primary schools in Anioma area, notably Ani-Nshi Primary School, Ogwashi-Uku; Abuedo Primary School, Ubulu-Uku; Egbune Primary School, Issele-Uku; Asagba Primary School, Asaba and others too numerous to enumerate.
On the floor of the House of Representatives, Prince Ned Nwoko was a very effective Member, of a radical-liberal-progressive inclination; he delivered his positions with insight and vision unparalleled amongst his peers. He was one of the earliest voices for the establishment of an investigative and prosecutorial agency to handle cases of corruption in Nigeria. And some of the bills he introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives were a bill for an Act to establish Public Funds Recovery and Reward Commission (whistle blower), A bill for an Act to Prohibit Expensive Burial in Nigeria, a bill for an Act to establish a National Sports University, a bill for an Act to Standardize Allowances and Fringe Benefits payable to Government Officials (Monetization) and many others.
However, the establishment of a federal university in Anioma remained elusive. But instead of losing faith in this dream, Prince Ned Nwoko decided to bring the mountain to Mohammed. In November 2015, he began the process for the establishment of an international standard private university for academic and sports excellence in Anioma – Star University, he elected to name it. Luckily for his kiths and kin, he ignored more commercially viable locations to choose his hometown Idumuje Ugboko for this privilege. Through observation of recent developmental history in Nigeria it can very easily be seen that the siting of a university or other institution of higher education is one of the easiest ways to bring development to a community. Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma; Okoh Polytechnic, Okoh; Madonna University, Okija; Ogwashi-Uku Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, etc. easily come to mind. And so it is with consternation that many observers are hearing and reading about the opposition to this laudable project in national newspapers and social media, by a section of Idumuje Ugboko elites, due to disagreement about land allocation. The billion naira question is – why are they really opposing this developmental initiative? Could it be out of spite or jealousy? Surely nobody believes that land, an imperishable resource could be packaged and carted away irretrievably by Prince Ned Nwoko.
Surely, Idumuje Ugboko, with one of the highest percentages of educated elites in the area must be aware that a private university in the town will boost the local economy by up to two billion naira per annum, provide up to 500 well-paid permanent and more than 1000 temporary construction jobs to locals, bring in ancillary service providers like banks, real estate developers, hotels, restaurants, cybercafés etc., boost the value of land astronomically and advertise the name of the town nationally and even internationally and transform Idumuje Ugboko overnight, even giving it a status above and beyond the local government headquarters, Issele-Uku.
May I humbly use this medium to urge everybody involved in this internecine opposition to reconsider their position and support this commendable project. May I also urge the Obis and peoples of my home town Idumuje-Unor and Onicha-Ugbo, two communities within 500 metres of Idumuje Ugboko and the proposed Star University site, to stand ready to provide land for this private institution if some persons in Idumuje Ugboko persist in opposing this initiative. On no account should this dream be allowed to die or the project sited outside Aniocha North Local Government Area. It is not a fluke or accident that Prince Ned Nwoko is involved in this massive developmental project.
He has always been a man driven by the passion for public service and philanthropy. He made national headlines in 1999 when he announced that he was donating his salary and allowances, including the much-heralded furniture allowance to members of his constituency. And he regularly gifts money to groups like churches, social and civil societies and indigent members of the society. His passion for public service has been the only reason he participates in politics. He is just not a man to sit idly and watch while the society suffers. And somehow the people of Delta North have recognized this quality in him and that was why they massively supported him in the 2011 senatorial election, which he won handsomely before the mandate was callously stolen by forces beyond his control.
Now as the 2019 General Elections are approaching, Anioma people, having witnessed the selfish, shameful and criminal scandal-hit performance of the incumbent, are once again clamouring for Prince Ned Nwoko to become their Senator and champion their course in Abuja. Prince Ned Nwoko, the philanthropist, the altruist, the international lawyer and negotiator, a worthy scion of the throne of Nwoko, the public servant and legislator par excellence will answer this call. And this time Anioma people will not be cheated.
Onyeka Ibe is the Executive Secretary of Asaba Arts & Literary Society & a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR). He is the author of two novels; Grandmother Caroline & This Is how We Do It and winner of the 2010 Living Earth/DFID National Short Story Prize. He was Chief Legislative Assistant to Prince Ned Nwoko at the National Assembly from 1999 to 2000.
Omu Anioma, Her Royal Majesty Obi Martha Dunkwu, has been invited to the Presidency to participate in a discourse and programme of activities on the launch of a National Action Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325, holding at the Banquet Hall of the Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday May 9, 2017.
Competent and impeccable Villa sources reveal that the indication of interest was made in recognition of the personality of Omu Anioma, who was subsequently invited to the programme as part of the Presidency’s effort to strengthen policies targeted at women, peace and security in the country.
According to the letter which was dispatched from the office of the Manager, Women and Girls of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP), Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, “As you are aware, August 2016 marked the expiration of the life span of Nigeria’s NAP 1325 having been in existence for the stipulated three years. In addition several gaps were observed which necessitated a review of the previous NAP to incorporate emerging issues in Nigeria and its modalities for implementation”.
Going further the letter stated that it is against this background that NSRP supported the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to review and develop the revised National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325.
The invitation letter equally noted that the Nigeria Government reaffirmed her commitment to advancing the women, peace and security agenda by presenting the revised NAP to the global community during the 61st CSW in New York in March, 2017, thus the revised NAP is now due for launch in Nigeria.
The Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme is funded by the Department For International Development (DFID) and managed by a consortium led by British Council.
Based on the agenda of this programme, it was learnt that enquiries were made and advice given that VIPs with direct bearing on the programme under review should be invited. And from a grapevine, investigations made suggested to the organizers the idea to invite Omu Martha Dunkwu as one of the highly intelligent female traditional leaders in the country, to add value to the programme and make impeccable contributions to the subject matter – women, peace and security agenda. This is as a result of her following and the enormous influence she commands among the women folks.
It could be recollected that in 2015, the Omu Anioma made great news when she attended the inauguration ceremony of the Governor of Jigawa State, His Excellency Alhaji Badaru as guest of honour. The Governor is her colleague in NACCIMA and past President of the organised private sector group; and as a result of the high regard he has for the Omu, had specially invited her to grace his swearing-in as Governor of Jigawa State. She was in the process introduced to the Emir and other traditional chiefs in the North, and they were bewildered and elated to behold a beautiful and intelligent female traditional ruler, who is in-charge of women and some traditional functions as the Omu of her community.
However, Omu Dunkwu had indicated her interest to attend the programme as a mother of Anioma Nation and one with the passion for culture and proper mentoring of the Girl Child. This also apart from reciprocating the confidence reposed in her by those who formulate policies at the national level, will attract enormous benefits to the people of Anioma through making her own contributions towards the peace and stability of the country.
Reported by Patrick Ochei.
The Delta State Government has commended media organizations in the country for providing the platforms through which people are informed about the achievements of the state Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Speaking when he led a team of officials from his ministry to visit The Sun’s Corporate Headquarters and Channels Television, both in Lagos, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, said that the essence of the visits was to appreciate the media houses and ask for more cooperation.
He stated that the visits have provided him the opportunity not only to know their operational bases but to put a face on the operators of the media outfits in order to improve on existing relationship.
Mr. Ukah said that the state government does not want anybody to tell lies on its behalf but to report the level of infrastructural developments being carried out by the Governor despite the low revenue receipts of the government necessitated by the current economic downturn affecting the country.
The Commissioner for Information disclosed that Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa will on Tuesday (May 9, 2017) begin a Town Hall meeting in all the local government areas of the state to present his score card to the people, feel their pulse and know other areas of their needs.
The Governor will commission and inspect projects in the twenty five local government areas before the Town Hall meetings, he further revealed.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Sun Newspapers, Mr. Eric Osagie, expressed the appreciation of the organization to the state government for realising that newspapers, which are always in hard copies, are still the best even with the proliferation of radio and television stations and the advent of social media.
Supported by the General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Services, Lady Neta Nwosu, the Editor, Sunday Sun, Mr. Abdulfatah Oladeinde and the Editor, Saturday Sun, Mr. Femi Babafemi, he stated that the Delta State Government has a high brand that is very marketable occasioned by the fact that the government has Professionals in professional positions who are doing very well.
The Chairman of Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, represented by the General Manager, Mr. Steve Judo, Assistant General Manager, Operations, Mr. Kingsley Uranta, Controller of News, Mr. Ambrose Okoh, and the Marketing Manager, Mr. Niyi Adegboye, said that the visit was a very effective step towards cementing the existing relationship between the Delta State Government and the organization.
In the team of the Commissioner for Information were the functioning Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Paul Osahor, the Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Mr. Christopher Nwaoboshi, and the Media Assistant to the Commissioner, Mr. Sam Ijeh.
The State Government has approved the award of contract for the construction of a central secretariat complex in Asaba
The Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah, announced this ON Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at a post Executive Council briefing held for journalists in Government House Press Centre, Asaba.
The Commissioner said the approval was in fulfillment of the State Government campaign promise to Deltans and workers in particular for a conducive working environ made on May Day of 2016.
He disclosed that the project would be completed in two years, explaining that it would accommodate all the Ministries in one central location, noting also that it would enhance the coordination of government business.
The Commissioner also announced the approval by EXCO of the rehabilitation of Aviara/Araya/Okpare Road and the construction of Okpare/Okpawa Road in Isoko South Local Government Area.
Mr Ukah said Exco equally approved the review of the scope and cost of the construction and completion of storm water control measures in Direct Labour/ Jesus Saves Roads corridor in Asaba.
Also approved, according to the Information Commissioner, was the reconstruction/rehabilitation/renovation of existing structures and construction of potable water supply scheme at Chude Model Secondary School, Sapele.
Journalists have been advised to uphold their professional code of ethics at all times.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah, gave the advice in a press statement to felicitate with Journalists in Delta State on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day celebrated every 3rd April.
Mr Ukah said when Journalists learn to work according to the ethics of the business they would enjoy the protection of the Constitution which according to him was strong enough to defend them.
The Commissioner expressed joy that Journalists enjoy freedom in the course of carrying out their job in the State, stating that the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had always maintained a cordial working relationship with the Press.
“Pressmen all over the world and in particular our own environment should learn to work according to the ethics of the business and I am very sure that if that is done, pressmen will continue to enjoy it because the constitution is strong enough to defend you as a pressmen in the country.
“As a government, I am particularly happy because they have had a very good relationship with the media because they allowed them the freedom to do their job.” The Commissioner said.
While paying glowing tribute to journalists who died in the course of duty, he encouraged practicing journalists to keep the flag flying by ensuring that they imbibe the ideals the fallen heroes stood for.
“In Delta we are happy that they enjoy the freedom but generally there is need to pay tribute to gentlemen of the press who have lost their lives in the course of their job, some by accident and some genuinely did their job and paid the price of their profession.” Mr Ukah stated, adding, “It is a very good day that we remember them and we ask the good Lord to receive their souls and that they rest in perfect peace.”
The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day is: Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s Role in Advancing Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies.
World Press Freedom Day is a day set aside by the United Nations to celebrate the fundamental principles of Press Freedom, evaluate the freedom of the press all over the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence.
The day is also meant to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession, inform the citizens of violations of their freedom, encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom worldwide and to serve as a reminder of press ethics.
Workers all over the world on 01/05/17, celebrated May Day with the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa saying that his administration was committed to highly skilled, merit-driven and integrity-based public service.
According to the Governor who spoke after taking the traditional salute from affiliate Unions of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Asaba, Delta State labour apart from ensuring a public sector that is professionalism-driven, his administration is committed to zero tolerance for corruption.
“As encapsulated in the Delta State Medium Term Development Plan, we are irrevocably committed to the creation of an effective, efficient, highly skilled, merit-driven and integrity-based public service,” the Governor said, adding, “our goal is to build a public sector management driven by professionalism, projects performance and zero tolerance for corruption because, that is the only way we can entrench good governance in the polity and needless to say, we need the support and cooperation of the labour movement to make this goal a reality.”
The Governor commended Nigerian workers, especially, those in Delta State for their dedication to duty which have contributed in no small measure to build Delta State from its inception in 1991, stating, “through your belief, sacrifice and labour, we have made great progress as a state.”
He however, observed, “as we gather here today, the Nigerian worker, like all other citizens, is confronted with economic adversity; more and more families are finding harder and harder to stay afloat as the recession bites harder and inflationary trend continues; the current scenario poses a serious challenge to government and other employers of labour to keep workers motivated, happy and satisfied.”
“Our administration has made the welfare of workers a top priority, while working to ensure better relations between the private sector and the government,” Governor Okowa said, disclosing, “it is in recognition of the unique role that workers play in delivering government policies and programmes that from the inception of this administration, we made the payment of workers’ salaries, the first line of charge.”
He also, clarified that his administration from inception, has not tampered with allocations to local government councils in the state, assuring, “when our economy improves, we will continue to assist the Councils because, it is unfortunate that our brothers and sisters in that tier of government are being owed salaries; for transparency, we included NUT and NULGE in our Joint Accounts Allocation Committee meetings,”
Governor Okowa used the occasion to assure Deltans that his administration will continue to create job opportunities despite the creation of more than 20, 000 jobs within two years of his administration.
He urged workers in the state “to continuously uphold and strengthen the values of honesty, commitment, transparency, fiscal discipline, and excellence in service delivery” to enable his administration actualize its ambitious growth plans.
The Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Michael Nwobodo had called on the Federal Government to step up actions in checking security challenges in the country, observing that despite recession ravaging the country, Governor Okowa has been consistent with the payment of salaries and staff emolument.
Also at the occasion, the Chairman of NLC in the state, Comrade Jonathan Jemirieyigbe in an address thanked Governor Okowa for making himself available to the organized labour, asserting that the Governor has been very friendly to the organized labour.
The colourful celebration was attended by top government functionaries, politicians and the organized
The 6th Delta State Sports Festival has been scheduled to hold from May 8-12, 2017 in four venues in the state. They are Asaba, Agbor, Obiaruku and Ozoro.
According to a statement signed by a member of the organising committee of the festival, Mr. Sunny Edoge, the opening and closing ceremonies of the games will take place on the 8th and 12th at the Ozoro Polytechnic Ultra Modern Sports Stadium, Ozoro.
The festival, which will be declared open by the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, is expected to attract other dignitaries and sports enthusiasts from within and outside the state including the Minister of Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung, who will be Special Guest of Honour.
In all, 24 sports will feature during the festival: they are Athletics, Para- Athletics and Football which will take place at Ozoro, while athletes in Swimming and Cycling will be competing for honours at Obiaruku and Agbor respectively.
Other sports that will take place in Asaba are Boxing, Chess, Badminton, Judo, Kungfu, Karate, Golf, Gymnastics, Scrabble, Ayo, Table Tennis, Squash, Para-Table Tennis, Wrestling, Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Power Lifting, Tennis and Para-Tennis.
Each of the 25 Local Government Areas in the State is expected to conduct a mini sports meet to select, prepare and present athletes that will the area in this festival. A minimum of fifty athletes are expected to represent each Local Government Area.
The state programmed and non-programmed athletes will be given the opportunity to compete for honours at the festival which will also be used for trials and selection of athletes that will represent the state in future zonal, national and international sports competitions.
The Local Government Areas that emerge first, second and third will win cash prizes and trophies, while the winning athletes will receive medals and be opportuned to be absorbed into the sports programme of the state.