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Jonathan eulogises Okara, tasks writers on nation building

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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.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that Jonathan stated this on Friday in Yenagoa at a ceremony of songs and tributes in honour of late literary icon Dr Gabriel Okara.

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.

“Yet others see him as a seasoned administrator with a penchant for innovation. “The story of The Tide and Rivers State Television (RSTV) validates their claims.

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”.

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Plateau PDP in fence mending as Gombi takes over as acting State Chairman

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The People’s Democratic party (PDP) in Plateau on Thursday began moves to unite its members with Mr Amos Gombi, its Vice Chairman, officially taking  over as Chairman from Chief Damishi Sango.

Sango, the outgone state Chairman of the party, handed over to Gombi after a Group of 16 stakeholders passed a vote of no confidence in him shortly after the 2019 general Elections.

The party’s National Working Committee had asked the aggrieved group to write and withdraw their letter with apology to Sango and for him (Sango) to step down as Chairman.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Sango, while handing over to his vice, told the press that he was stepping down after receiving the apology letter from the group.

“Since April this year, the state chapter of our great party has been rocked by a tsunami-like crisis that has threatened its very existence as one united political party.

“This followed my purported suspension along with my deputy as Chair and deputy, respectively, by some members of the executive committee on trumped up allegations of mismanaging funds meant for the party’s logistics arrangements in the 2019 presidential election in the State.

“But determined to resolve the crisis and get the Chapter moving again, the national leadership of the Party, led by Prince Uche Secondus, set a three-man committee, under the chairmanship of Senator David Mark, to look into the said allegations and advise it accordingly.

“It is my earnest prayer that my exit today shall cause us to resolve that never again shall we allow narrow-focused personal or group interests to determine the tenure of elected leaders of our Party.

“We cannot afford to have such forced exits (albeit through trumped up allegations, like in my own case) to continue as a common feature of our journey.

“As I bow out, l wish to extend our depth of gratitude to all and sundry especially Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni, Sen. Jonah Hang and many other individuals and groups for their support and contributions of all forms to making the Party in the State to remain vibrant in spite of being in the opposition, ” he said.

Sango wished Gombi God’s guidance, wisdom and Grace to carry the party to high heights toward giving the citizens of Plateau the required leadership and succour toward achieving the desired growth and development.

Responding, Gombi pledged to steer the party to greater heights and called for total efforts of all PDP members and supporters toward mending fences for a United front at building the party and Plateau.

Gombi promised to operate an open door policy to Garner words of wisdom and Grace, which would help to restore sanity and trust in the party in the state.

Edited & Vetted By: Abdullahi Yusuf
(NAN)

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Area demarcation: Daura LG inaugurates monitoring committee

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The Daura Local Government Council in Katsina state has inaugurated a 33-man committee to monitor and evaluate the ongoing Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) exercise in the area.

Malam Bishir Shargalle, the Acting Chairman of the council made this known in Daura on Thursday while addressing members of the committee on what was expected of them during the exercise.

He said the committee was expected to guide the ‘demarcators’ who were new to the environment by leading them to every part of the 11 electoral wards for collection of accurate and reliable data.

In his remarks, Alhaji Abdulkadir Maiadua, the Head of Personnel Department of the council, who would serve as the secretary of the committee, assured that they would ensure meticulous conduct of the exercise.

Maiadua said that the ‘demarcators’ and registrars who were involved in the exercise would be provided adequate care, security and maximum cooperation for the success of the national assignment.

Also in his remarks, Dr Abdulmalik Durunguwa, the NPC commissioner in charge of Kaduna and Katsina states, lauded the efforts of Daura Local Council for its support and cooperation toward the success of the exercise.

Durunguwa said that he was overwhelmed by the logistical arrangement, especially the welfare of the personnel engaged for the assignment.

He said the enumeration area demarcation was aimed at getting an accurate data of households and their heads as well as enable the commission to get fully prepared for population census which was expected to hold in future.

NAN reports that the National Population Commission (NPC) began an enumeration area demarcation across 11 wards in Daura Local Government Area which would last for three weeks.

Edited & Vetted By: Olawunmi Ashafa/ Tukur Muntari.
(NAN)

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Osun Assembly puts on hold budget consideration of 2 ministries till…

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The Osun House of Assembly, on Thursday, put on hold the consideration of the 2020 budget estimates of two ministries pending the status of the Rural Water and Environmental Sanitation Agency (RUWESA) is determined.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the affected ministries are the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy and the Ministry of Rural Development and Community Affairs.

The Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Mr Taiwo Adebayo, gave the order when the two ministries appeared before the House to present their budgets.

This is sequel to the argument which ensued between the commissioners for the two ministries in respect of which ministry the agency belongs.

The Nigeria News Agency recalls  that the agency was created from the Osun State Water and Sanitation Programme in 1994 and was backed up with an edit in 2005.

RUWESA, after its establishment, was under the state Ministry of Environment and Sanitation before it was later moved to the Ministry of Rural and Water Resources.

Adebayo said the commissioners should go and resolve the issue at the executive level.

He maintained that the House would not accept estimates of any agencies having controversial issues with their ministries.

Earlier, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, had presented an estimate of N2.9 million naira as proposed revenue and N244.8 as total expenditure for the 2020 fiscal year.

The House also urged the Osun State Water Corporation to increase its revenue generation in 2020.

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Erosion: Establish Soil Remediation Fund, Soil Society tells FG

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To tackle soil erosion, the Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) on Thursday called on the Federal Government  to establish a Soil Remediation Fund which should attract 30 percent of the country’s ecological funds.

The body also urged the Federal Government to keep faith with the action plans under the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP) which stipulated that over N194 billion be deployed  to restore degraded lands in the country.

The President of SSSN, Prof. Bashiru Raji, presented the group’s position in Ilorin at the occasion of a press conference to mark the World Soil Day.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the theme of the 2019 World Soil Day is “Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future.’’

Raji, who noted that soil erosion and desertification were the two well-known causative factors of land degradation, added that their effects on landscape were devastating.

He said: “The danger posed by soil erosion is real and presents the greatest threat to food security, poverty eradication and environment health and yet, there is no community in Nigeria that is  spared of one form of soil erosion or the other.

“Soil erosion though a natural phenomenon is accelerated through anthropogenic causes like overgrazing, removal of vegetation cover due to farming activities or deforestation and construction activities among others.

“However, it is important to note that soil erosion affects food security by general decrease in soil fertility and diminution of cultivable land as a result of the occurrence and expansion of gullies.

‘’ Soil erosion also reduces the capacity of the soil in its provisioning services of fibre, raw materials and support for infrastructure.”

The society, he pledged, would work with the Nigerian Institute of Soil Science to evolve a National Soil Policy for the sustainable exploitation of the country’s soil resources.

Raji, however, stressed the need to continuously build human capacity and infrastructure in the agricultural sector through adequate funding of Colleges of Agriculture and other agricultural institutions dedicating a substantial percentage of TETFund to the sector.

He  also commended  the Federal Government for its ” giant and visible strides and gains in the agricultural sector in the last four and half years.”

Raji pledged the society’s readiness to partner with NGOs and CBOs to continue to create awareness on the effects of unsustainable use and misuse of the fragile ecosystem as they affect the capacity of the soil to render valuable services.

(Edited & Vetted By: Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

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Zamfara Assembly confirms 19 commissioner-nominees

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The Zamfara State House of Assembly on Thursday confirmed the 19 commissioner-nominees earlier sent to it by Gov. Bello Matawalle.

The Assembly also confirmed 28 nominees as Special Advisers to the

Governor at a screening exercise during plenary.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Gov. Matawalle had on Tuesday sent the list of the Commissioner-nominees and Special Advisers to the state’s House of Assembly for screening and confirmation.

NAN further reports that the lawmakers unanimously considered and approved the nominees as members of the state executive council.

The Speaker of the House, Alhaji Nasiru Magarya, who presided over the exercise, said the lawmakers confirmed the nominees as they were impressed at the screening.

NAN also reports that one of the Commissioners-nominee, Alhaji Jamilu Aliyu and a Special Adviser-nominee, Lukman Bisalla Majidadi were conspicuously absent during the screening exercise.

/ MTM

Edited & Vetted By: Buhari Bolaji/ Tukur Muntari.
(NAN)

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Adamawa Govt. to pay WAEC, NECO exam fees

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The Adamawa Government, is to pay the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) examinations fees for all Senior Secondary School (SSS) students in the state.

Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri made this promise while addressing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters at a rally on Thursday in Yola.

The campaign rally was organised for the forthcoming Local Government poll slated for Dec. 7, 2019.

The governor said his administration declared free primary and secondary education, as both levels of education remained compulsory for every child in the state.

“Government is going to pay WAEC and NECO examinations fees for our students, who are sitting for the examinations.

“I have directed the Commissioner for Education to meet with the coordinators of the examination bodies in the state for the modalities of registration and payment of the fees.

“Also, we have resumed fully for our boarding secondary schools feeding programme, ” Fintiri said.

He told the party supporters that the PDP-led administration in the state had granted full autonomy to all the 21 Local Government Areas as well as improved security provisions.

The governor said the state government had recently awarded the construction of 280 kilometres f roads in seven council areas and renovated many primary and secondary schools across the state.

Fintiri, however, called on the opposition to join hands with the PDP-led administration to develop the state.

Edited & Vetted By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Yemi Idris-Aduloju
(NAN)

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