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Omehia, Sekibo, No Threat To PDP …As Catholic Church Backs Amaechi –Wike

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Contrary to speculations about the calibre of personalities in the Rivers State gubernatorial race, the Director-General of Amaechi’s campaign organisation, says the  entry of Sir Celestine Omehia and Dr Abiye Sekibo into the governorship race is not a threat to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaking at a press briefing to flag-off Governor Amaechi re-election campaign at the  weekend in Port Harcourt, Chief  Wike noted that going by the political history of Rivers State, the people never align themselves with a minority party.

Chief Wike was quick to ask: Are the duo of Sir Celestine Omehia and Dr Abiye Sekibo of  All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) moving forward or backward? He said that the question had become necessary because the two political big wigs were members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  before now, but deflected to APGA and  ACN respectively.

He contended that APGA or ACN could not win councillorship seats in any of the 23 local government areas of the state, let alone governorship seat.

His words, “As far as I am concerned, Sir Celestine Omehia who had subjected PDP to unnecessary legal tussle can never come back to the same party”.

Chief Wike further argued that going by the political history of Nigeria, Rivers State had never aligned with a minority party, insisting that the people of Rivers State would continue to move forward, not backwards.

He maintained that he would go personally to Sir Celestine Omehia in his house and challenge him to rescind his decision for joining APGA.

Any serious party, he said, should start going to the field to battle with the PDP for the soul of the oil rich Rivers State, rather than practising arm chair politics of bitterness and acrimony.

Meanwhile, Catholic Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, Most Rev Camillus Archibong Etukudo, has pledged total support for Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s second term bid.

Speaking at a special campaign dedication thanksgiving service at the Corpus Christi Cathedral, Port Harcourt organised by the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the party’s campaign in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Rt Rev Etukudo said the ambition had been divinely ordained.

He said, “we have dedicated the whole campaign to God because if God says yes, nobody can say no”, saying that the church was solidly behind the governor and his administration.

The Catholic Bishop thanked God for His mercies and commended those who attended the  church service.

In another development, Governor Chibuike Amaechi has urged his supporters and party faithfuls to rededicate themselves to God, while urging them not to be blinded by the  victory and position they occupy.

He observed that though it was easy for man to be blinded by his present comfort and power, it would be foolish to forget the mercies of God at all times.

The governor used the forum to recall the travails he went through sequel to his assumption of office in 2007, noting that the experience had always strengthened his faith in God, hence, the coinage of the slogan “I believe”

According to him, the ‘I believe” slogan represents the unwavering faith he had and the anchor on which his administration was tied upon.

The  governor said that his second tenure if given the chance would aim at consolidating on the success recorded in his first term especially in the area of employment generation and security.

Governor Amaechi was emphatic that without creating employment, it would be futile to maintain security because both were dependant on each other.

He therefore urged the church and the citizenry to pray for the administration and ensure they vote and protect their votes during the upcoming elections.

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Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road

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No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.

By: Taneh Beemene

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Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank

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The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.

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Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.

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