Nigerian former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has urged journalists and writers to lend their creative energy toward promoting justice and equity as a means of building a nation of hope for all.
The former President, in his funeral eulogy described late Okara as the voice of truth and justice and urged Nigerians to follow his example.
“Pa Okara represents justice, equality and truth. I, therefore, challenge us to be vanguard of these virtues.
“To all writers, literary enthusiasts, journalists and all of us present to celebrate Pa Gabriel Okara ours is not to sit idle when things are going wrong in our society.
“We should be the ‘Piano and Drums’ that will beat to our nation, the rhythm of hope and truth,’’ he said.
Jonathan, further described Okara as a great treasure and a man of many paths who left behind many legacies.
“The death of a loved one no matter the age and circumstances brings grief to our hearts.
“Pa Okara was a treasure to many and nobody wants to lose his treasure.
“He was a man of many paths: a poet, novelist, and journalist and of course an exceptional statesman.
“Through hard work and diligence, he dotted these paths with success marks and legacies for which we are here to attest and testify of his glorious strides.
“Pa Okara was a literary icon who meant different things to different people; he would be remembered for different things.
“He meant different things to different people, to some he was the first modernist poet of Anglophone extraction.
“To others, he was a cultural ambassador who showcased the folklores of the Ijaws to the rest of the world through his works.
And to some, Gabriel Okara is simply a patriot who prioritised service to his people.’’
Commenting on his contacts and interactions with the late sage, Jonathan said: “For me, I recall that in secondary school, I read his poems such as, “Call of the River Nun”, “Piano and Drums” during my literature classes.
“As an undergraduate, at the University of Port Harcourt, I remember vividly how the management of the School decided to honour him along with two other individuals in a special convocation where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters Degree. (D.Litt.).
“In the formative years of Bayelsa State, Pa Okara served as Chairman of the Committee on Recognition and Re-classification of Chieftaincy Stools in 1997.
“When I was the Governor of Bayelsa State, Okara was an asset to me as he offered wise counsel on different issues,” he said.
Jonathan also spoke on the need to imortalise the late poet, saying: “Life is a journey, in it are many roads, intersections, and stops.
“All human pass through these different paths. Pa Gabriel Okara also had his feet on the different stops of life.
“Today we are here to share testimonies of how he applied his days unto wisdom and inspired hope and impacted on the lives of the people he came across.
“When a patriot dies, our task is not just to mourn and eulogise him for the great works he has done.
“We have a duty to preserve the memories and legacies of the individual by subscribing to his ideas and philosophies; in this, we immortalise the person,” he stated.
The former President appreciated the Bayelsa government for making it a tradition to honour citizens of the State who distinguished themselves in one way or the other “by naming State owned structures after them while they are still alive”.
Family,Friends mourn Olusanya, FCE, Akoka’s former provost
Family, friends and Colleagues of the late Dr Sijibomi Olusanya ,Immediate Past Provost of the Federal College of Education ,Technical (FCE)(T) Akoka, on Wednesday mourned at his Wake.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the late Olusanya died on July 9 in the U.S, following an undisclosed ailment at the age of 61.
He served as provost of the college for two terms ,between year 2011 and May 2019 and led the college to remarkable height of achievements.
In his remark, Mr Abidemi Olusanya, Son of the late provost, described his father as a loving husband , a unique man and a mentor like no other .
Olusanya said the family had reasons to celebrate the death of his late father because he planned his life with God.
“I cannot wish for a better dad because he possesses everything you need in a father and if I could choose a father in my next world ,I will choose him again,” he said.
Dr Ademola Azeez, the Provost of the FCE, Akoka, said the college would miss the late provost, as his sudden death would deprive the institution from gaining from his wealth of experience.
Azeez described late Olusanya , as a man of peculiar administrative style ,whose demise posed a challenge.
“The college is involved fully in the burial of the late provost because of his immense contribution to the growth and development of the institution.
“I urge all the members of staff to reflect on the death of the former provost and allow peace to radiate among us.
God is the best judge ,not the positive or negative testimony given about the dead, ” he said.
A neighbour to late Olusanya, who was simply identified as Mrs Adetanin, described him as her benefactor because he assisted her family greatly financially and also secured admission for her son and offered him scholarship too.
Dr Izeom Ignatious, Former Provost, FCE Asaba, said the late provost was not his friend but a brother in the comity of Provosts.
Ignatious said the late Olusanya was a true christain ,who lived an examplary life with his wife.
“I urge you all to forgive him ,incase his style of leadership offended you in any way or the other because it is not possible to lead without stepping on toes ,” he said.
In his Exhortation, Pastor Idowu Akande, titled his sermon as Death and the Hereafter and while reading a scripture from Hebrew 9 vs 27, said death was an appointment with the creator that it was mandatory.
Akande explained that death actually does not close the chapter of a man’s life but it was rather a transition to a curtain raiser for an eternal life .
“Physical death will surely come and when it does, it should not be strange to anyone, what should be strange is life in the hereafter, ” he said .
Akande, however, enjoined all to forsake sin and live holy to enable them make heaven in the hereafter.
NAN reports that the late Olusanya born on July 29, 1958 to Late Pa Olutunde and Victoria Olusanya from Ijebu -Ode in Ogun State, began his career in the college in 1981 before he rose to become the Provost in 2011.
He is survived by his wife ,Mrs Olusola Olusanya and three children ; Abidemi Olusanya, Salisu Olubowale and Sole Olubanke.
As slated ,lying in state and academic procession for the late provost would hold on Thursday while his remains would be buried afterwards at Vaults and Gardens ,Ikoyi.
Edited by Ifeyinwa Omowole
Zamfara Gov’s wife partners ANCOPSS on girl-child education
The Wife of Governor of Zamfara,, Hajiya Balkisu Bello-Matawalle, has pledged to partner with the All Nigerian Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Women wing, to improve the girl- child education in the state.
Hajiya Bello-Matawalle made the pledge while receiving members of the association who paid her courtesy visit in her office in Gusau on Wednesday.
The governor’s wife noted that the confederstion had important role to play in complementing government efforts in the education sector in the state.
“I am highly delighted to meet with you, as principals. I recognise your support and commitments while managing schools across the state.
“It is impressive to have your number as women principals in this state, this shows that women in Zamfara are willing to contribute to the future education of our children.
“I am ready to partner with you, especially in the area of supporting girl-child education and also soliciting your support for various government policies, especially in your respective schools.
“The present administration in this state, led by Gov. Bello Matawalle-Maradun, came up with various programmes to boost education in the state.
“As principals of secondary schools, you are among major stakeholders of education sector in the state, all we need is your support and cooperation,”she said.
Earlier, the Chairperson ANCOPSS, Women wing in the state and Principal, Government Girls’ Day Secondary School, Gusau, Hajiya Hawwa-Kulu Lugga, pledged the support of the wing to the state government policies and programmes on education.
She said, “We are here to register our solidarity and support to the present administration’s policies on education.”
Lugga said the wing’s support became necessary, considering the role of the state government in improving education sector,especially in terms of the girl-child education.
“We are ready to partner with you to ensure the success of your various programmes to improve education sector in the state.”
Global IT hails Buhari for appointing Abdullahi as new NITDA DG
Bakare, in the letter, applauded the appointment of the 39 year-old Abdullahi, describing him as a “digital guru and industry key player”, with potential to surpass his predecessors’ achievements.
He said: “Abdullahi, for a couple of years, has shown and proven to be a world class professional who will use his wide network to take NITDA to the next level, in line with the president’s vision.
“He will also ensure that the agency is more efficient and effective in its role as the clearing house for all IT projects and infrastructural development in the country.”
Bakare, while congratulating Abdullahi on his appointment, which it described as well-deserved, charged him to leave above board and justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.
NAN reports that the new NITDA boss was born on Feb. 21, 1980 in Hadejia, Jigawa State.
He is a graduate of Computer Science from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT-Sloan), with 15 years experience in IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture in both the private and public sectors.
He attended leadership and management courses at Harvard University, USA, University of Cambridge, UK and IMD Business School in Switzerland.
The new NITDA boss is the first Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) in Nigeria’s public sector and certified project manager as well as solution architect.
He worked at Galaxy Backbone as Network Engineer, IP Network Field Engineer, Senior Network & Lead, IP Operations Team, and Senior Solution Architect & Lead, Technical Solution Design Team from 2004 to 2013.
In 2014, he joined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a Technology Architect, where he dedicated his time to developing Technology Architecture Repository that gives total view of the bank’s IT infrastructure and easy decision on new IT investment.
Abdullahi was part of the team that executed software license rationalisation, which has increased cost savings for the bank in license annual subscriptions.
As a technology architect at the apex bank, he produced seven Solution Architectures for critical IT initiatives that helped in achieving cashless policy in Nigeria.
The new NITDA boss also overhauled the agency’s IT clearance process and encouraged shared services among agencies which helped the federal government saved over N16 billion from IT projects.
Abdullahi is a member of both the British Computer Society (BCS) and Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), and he is a recipient of 100 Leading Telecom and ICT Personalities award in Nigeria.
Edited by Olabisi Akinbode and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Plant trees to mark special events: DG advises Nigerians
The Director-General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, on Wednesday in Lagos appealed to Nigerians to cultivate the habit of planting trees to commemorate special anniversaries in their lives.
Aminu-Kano made the appeal during the planting of 30 trees at the NCF Family Park in Lekki located within its premises by IBTC Bank to commemorate its 30th anniversary.
He added that it would also help to restore the nation’s depleted forest cover.
He said that Nigeria had lost 94 per cent of her forest cover and all hands must be on deck to reverse the trend through sustained planting of trees.
He commended the bank and appealed to other Nigerians, corporate organisations and the three tiers of government to emulate the gesture to restore the nation’s forest cover.
“This is something I will recommend to every Nigerian; to plant trees to commemorate special events in their lives because trees are long lasting and you remember that event whenever you see such trees.
“If you have an occasion to commemorate whether marriage, the birth of a child, jubilees, any birthday or landmark event, plant trees.
“I commend what the bank is doing and they have promised to replicate the planting in the six geo political zones of the country.
“I hope the public, companies and governments can do more to take to this habit of planting trees in hundreds,’’ he said.
Aminu-Kano said that NCF as part of its Green Recovery Nigeria initiative would continue to plant trees even in some forests that need regeneration.
“We can never get tired of planting trees. Even in a forest, there are places where you will need natural enrichment due to natural processes that some trees go through and die. And sometimes there is the need to assist the forest to recover,’’ he said.
He lamented how flooding had been affecting some trees in the Lekki Conservation Centre due to eastward ocean current causing erosion.
He said that this had continued to threaten the existence of the entire NCF.
He appealed to the Federal Government to support the Lagos State Government in combating the problem by building more groins.
He lamented the sharp drop in the nation’s forest cover to less than six per cent and called for sustained efforts by stakeholders to save the nation’s environment.
“We think that it is pitiful that the amount of land in Nigeria that is forested has moved from 40 per cent in the 1960s to arguably below six per cent.
“And the international standard which Nigeria signed up to is that a country should aim to have a minimum of 25 per cent of its area covered in forest; so we have a long way to go.
“And we have to plant as many trees as possible; we are doing an exercise now with government and other stakeholders to identify which are the right trees that should go to the right places, in the right numbers, at the right time.
“We are losing 350,000 hectares of forests every year in Nigeria and we need to catch up by planting enough to not just replace the ones we are losing but pick up and try to hit that target of 25 per cent,” he said.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that two species of trees: the African mahogany and Ijebu Mahogany were planted.
Mr Adeyemo Olayomade, NCF’s Conservation Assistant, explained that the two species were chosen because both were hard wood of the same family, ever green and medicinal.
NAN reports that IBTC Bank was established in 1989.
#Revolutionow: 9 northern groups pull out of planned protest
Nine groups out of the 15 that formed the Joint Northern Action Front to partispate in a planned revolutionow protest in some northern states on Aug. 22, have pulled out.
The Secretary of the groups, Tanko Mustapha made the declaration in a joint press statement issued on Wednesday in Kaduna.
“We are pleased to announce today that these nine groups have resolved to pull its members out of tomorrow’s planned protests called by the Joint Northern Action Front which we were part of,” he said.
Mustapha said their withdrawal from the protests was based on some considerations.
“We have reviewed the planned protests by critically looking into the nature, salient intentions and most importantly the likely negative consequences on the North in particular and democracy in generall.
“We discovered that the main intention of the protests is far from checking government excesses that are of national concerns, but rather to further the hidden agenda of some people.
“Our concern is that the nature of the protests may very likely not be peaceful and it will not only be unproductive but may have negative consequences on the north and our democracy as well.
“We weighed all the possibilities against the background of its dangerous consequenses in countries like Libya and Yemen who embarked on such moves blindly.
“After candidly weighing the pros and cons, we arrived at the conclusion that the exercise is ill informed, in bad taste, counterproductive, self-serving as well as an ill wind that will not blow anybody any good.
“Despite the lapses in governance in all aspects, especially in security, economy, and infrastructure, we wish to align with the patriotic position of the apex conglomerate of groups in the north, the CNG, that every issue can be discussed and resolved in a civilized manner and never by violence.
“We today, therefore, declare a complete pullout from participation in the organization and call on the protesters and all people of the north to disregard the calls,” he said.
Mustapha called on the government to as a matter of urgency, address all the observed lapses and misgovernance to avoid uprisings.
Edited by Chidi Opara/Maharazu Ahmed