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Jonathan, Amaechi Extol Obasanjo’s Virtues

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President Goodluck Jonathan said last Saturday that his administration would continue to build on the foundation laid during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime for the transformation of the country.
The President made the statement in Abeokuta at a civic reception organised for Obasanjo by the South-West Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in recognition of his contributions to the party and the nation.
Jonathan, who was represented by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, noted that Obasanjo, during his administration, had laid a solid foundation for successive governments in Nigeria through initiation and implementation of great policies.
The President, who described Obasanjo as a national Icon and an outstanding Nigerian statesman, said his administration would not deviate from the core values of Obasanjo’s administration.
The President gave assurance that his administration was already addressing major hindrances to the development of the nation. He noted that government’s interventions in the area of power, agriculture, health and infrastructure, among others, were already yielding positive results.
Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan and Godswill Akpabio of Delta and Akwa-Ibom states respectively, also extolled the virtues of the former President at the programme, describing him as “the defender of the defenceless”. They both recalled how Obasanjo fought on the part of justice against the powers that opposed them in their respective states when they sought elections as governors.
While Uduaghan described Obasanjo as a detribalised Nigerian, Akpabio said that the former President transcended cultural, religious and political leanings. Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, in his remarks, noted that Obasanjo only needed the PDP as a vehicle to lead the country. He argued that Obasanjo’s stature transcended any party in Nigeria, describing him as “the father of all.’’
The National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, also described Obasanjo as a living legend, recalling that the party made giant strides during his administration. He described Obasanjo as a symbol of hope, noting that he was relentless and fought with dogged determination at a time when most Nigerians had given up hope about the nation. Responding, Obasanjo appreciated organisers of the event, and attributed all his accomplishment to God.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor and Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, says the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, popularly called ‘OBJ’ is  an embodiment of greatness”, whose contributions to nation building are unquantifiable.
Gov Amaechi was represented by his Deputy, Engr Tele Ikuru.
In his address read by the Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, on behalf of the NGF, Governor Amaechi extolled the virtues of the former president, stating that Obasanjo has made an indelible mark on the leadership barometer of the country, adding that members of the NGF wish him well in his future endeavour.
Responding, the former president expressed appreciation for the honour done on him, stating that nothing can gladden my heart when government at all levels is doing what is right’, attributing his success story to God and the self-less desire to serve his country.
Also the former Ghanaian President, John Kuffo extolled the virtues of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing him as “a gift to Africa’’.
Kuffo, who delivered the keynote address, described the programme as exemplary, noting that very few heroes and legends were celebrated during their lifetime.
He described Obasanjo as a friend, a brother, a confidant and a sympathetic African leader who had contributed immensely to the uplift and transformation of less endowed African countries.
He described Obasanjo as “a growing concern’’ who had continued to work tirelessly for the unity and transformation of the African continent.
Chief Earnest Shonekan, the former Head of Interim National Government, described Obasanjo as a man of integrity.
He noted that Obasanjo was the first Nigerian Military leader who in 1979 relinquished power peacefully to a democratically elected government.
Shonekan said that Obasanjo was passionately committed to the unity and transformation of Nigeria.
The Senate President, David Mark, described Obasanjo as an outstanding Nigerian statesman and a national icon whose love for the nation would be difficult to surpass.
Responding, Obasanjo appreciated the organisers of the programme, attributing his accomplishments to “the grace of God’’.
He said three principles normally guided his actions in life namely: “Can I defend my action before God? Can I defend my action before the people? Will my action benefit majority of people?’’
He said a leader should be “fearless and courageous’’ and be ready to step on “toes’’ whenever it was necessary.
Obasanjo also expressed optimism that Nigeria and the African continent would very soon be ranked as one of the best countries and continents in the world, respectively.

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Rivers LG To Give Grants To 80 Post-Graduate Candidates

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The Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, has concluded process of giving grants to 80 indigenes of the area to pursue Masters and Doctorate degree programmes in universities in the state.
The council Chairman, Barrister George Ariolu, disclosed this, yesterday, when the leadership of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) visited him in his office at Rumuodomaya, near Port Harcourt.
Ariolu stated that grants will be given to 50 candidates to pursue Masters degree programme and another 30 to those pursuing Doctorate degree programmes in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
He said: “Our main focus as we promised our people is the area of human capacity development. Not that we don’t have interest in infrastructures, we do.
“As it stands today, we are giving grants to our people, those who are interested in advancing their academic qualifications by taking up Ph.D and Masters degree programmes.
“For Masters degree, we have grants for 50 while Ph.D is 30 for now. But because of pressure, we will likely take it up to 50. We set up a committee made up three professors, an academic doctor, who is a senior lecturer and a lawyer. Today, they are conducting interviews for the applicants at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
“Our catchment areas are University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education. Those are universities in Rivers State so that little money we will give will be of immense benefit to them.”
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ, Amaechi Okonkwo, assured the Council Chairman of the support of journalists throughout duration of his tenure in office.
Okonkwo said: “We have had a relationship with you before now and we are happy with that relationship because we were getting quality service and advise from you.
“So, we deemed it fit and necessary to come to say congratulations to you and to assure you of our support through your stay as Chairman of Council.”

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Insecurity: Address Nigeria’s Descent Into Chaos, Nigerians Tell UN Assembly

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The Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance (NINAS), yesterday, urged the United Nations General Assembly to take urgent steps to address the country’s alleged descent into chaos, saying that Nigeria has failed as a state.
This was contained in a letter addressed to United Nations Security Council, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly by NINAS at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The letter was signed by Chairman of NINAS and Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof Banji Akintoye; Prof Yusuf Turaki of Middle-Belt Movement; and Secretary-General, NINAS and Lower Niger Congress, Tony Nnadi.
The letter reads, “We, the Indigenous Peoples of Nigeria at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York to alert the United Nations, and the rest of the global community that the union of Nigeria has failed irredeemably; and is now at the verge of a violent disintegration with catastrophic consequences for global peace, and security as our population of over 200million would become an instant global refugee nightmare.
“Amidst the extraordinary difficulties inflicted by the imposition and enforcement of Sharia by a section of Nigeria in a supposedly secular union, the immediate reason for this looming catastrophe is the cocktail of mass killing, kidnapping and general banditry being orchestrated against the indigenous peoples of Nigeria by an invading Fulani militia masquerading as herdsmen in an undisguised ethnic cleansing campaign that progressively demonstrate the complicity of the Federal Government of Nigeria headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani man, who as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is also the Life Grand Patron of the notorious Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), that proudly takes responsibility for the murderous exploits of the Fulani herdsmen militia designated the fourth most deadly terror group.
“Compounding their impunity, the same Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association at a recent press conference organised to mock the planned NINAS million-man freedom march to the UN boasted to be in control of the UN through their daughter, the Deputy Secretary-General at the UN, Amina Mohammed.
“An indication that (Amina Mohammed) nominated to that exalted UN position by President of Buhari, is in some way a part of the grand protection design for the Fulani herdsmen in their bloody, onslaught against the indigenous peoples of Nigeria.
“It will be recalled that following widespread extrajudicial killings in Nigeria, the UN in August of 2019, dispatched a Special Rapporteur Mission to Nigeria led by Agnes Callamard. The damning verdict of that Rapporteur Mission was that the widespread extrajudicial killings were flowing from the unitary constitutional arrangements of Nigeria, which operates as a pressure-cooker for injustice and that Nigeria under that Constitution is a danger to global peace and security.
“The report warned that unless something is done urgently, Nigeria would snap, plunging its 200million population into turmoil that will trigger a large-scale refugee crisis of unprecedented magnitude at a time the global terror networks, ISIS, ISWAP and AL-Qaeda are already converging in Nigeria.
“That Nigeria has failed as a State is no longer a subject for debate, having emerged the global poverty capital, and playing host to two of the world’s top four most deadly terrorists’ organisation, with three-quarters of the constituent components (South and Middle-Belt), seeking urgent extrication by way of referendums from what has become a union of death.
“Looking back at the recent turn of events in Afghanistan, this freedom march to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, is to alert the global community of the rapidly degenerating situation of Nigeria, and to invite United Nations, particularly the Security Council, and Trusteeship Council, to initiate urgent steps to arrest Nigeria’s descent into chaos, as besieged communities drift dangerously to self-help.”

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Power Sector Revenue Declines By 4.54% In Q2’21

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Gross revenue of Nigeria’s electricity market declined by 4.45per cent in the second quarter of 2021, Q2’21, to N176.27billion against N184.27billion generated in the first quarter, Q1’21, latest data from the sector has shown.
The data from the Power Sector Working Group, however, showed that the N360.54billion generated in the first half of this year was 24.57per cent higher than the N271.96billion generated in the last six months of 2020.
A monthly analysis of the power sector financials in the first six months of 2021 showed that revenue has been fluctuating month-on-month.
A total of N64.98billion was generated in January, but revenue, however, fell by 13.30per cent in February to N57.35billion.
Further analysis showed that revenue in March rose by 7.41 per cent to N61.94billion but declined again in April by 8.76 per cent to N56.955billion.
In May, revenue rose by 8.24 per cent to N62.07billion.
It, however fell in June to N57.25billion, a drop of 8.42 per cent.
The Power Sector Working Group blamed poor power supply as well as glitches for the fall in revenue in the second quarter, especially in the month of June.
“June is a bit short due to glitches in the sweep mechanism and a low energy supply (there were gas payment challenges we have been working on).
“Through the collection discipline via CBN there is full visibility to DisCos collections. Collections over the past six months have stabilized at between N57billion to N65billion.
“The regulator and policymakers are focusing in the second half of the year on boosting electricity and rolling out phase 1 of Mass Metering to boost supply to reduce tariff and increase collections.
“Procurement is being completed for most of the CAPEX interventions that will help boost supply”, the group added.
Earlier, the group disclosed that the Federal Government has concluded arrangements for the commencement of the second phase of its metering program tagged National Mass Metering Program which it expects to drastically reduce estimated billing by DisCos, that will ensure consumers are billed appropriately for the electricity they consume by installing meters free of charge in household and business premises that are currently unmetered.
The Federal Government provided funding for the program through loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to DisCos.
“Meters are provided to customers free of charge. This is indeed unprecedented and has so far led to the tremendous success recorded so far”.
Speaking on how to grow the electricity market, a leading power sector expert and Managing Director of Target Energy Ltd, Abdullahi Umar, harped on the need to review some of the policies that may be hampering growth and development in the power sector.
Umar said at the weekend that the new Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, needs to conduct a thorough review of the sector.
“I am part of those stakeholders who are of the view that the declaration of the transitional electricity market (TEM) in February 2015 was too ambitious and premature.
“What should have been was a phased transition into TEM or at the minimum a testing of the market before the full declaration of TEM.
“The errors of such declaration have continued to plague the power sector with a heightened liquidity crisis in 2016 and 2017, that saw a drastic decline of the revenue flows in the power sector, DisCos remittance went from 70 per cent to a sharp decline averaging about 28 per cent – 30 per cent for that period,” he said.
He pointed out that July, 2021, saw the end of Eligible Customer Regulation in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), adding that the decision by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to rescind the ECR, has sent mixed signals across the board.
Umar further stated that “we have seen the accusations and counter-accusations between the generating companies (GenCos) and distribution companies on the issue. The action by NERC has signalled the lack of preparedness of the market to accommodate direct sale between market players.
“It is a case of willing seller, willing buyer and an unwilling infrastructure; the market cannot accommodate any distortion at this time especially as the grid still operates at average capacity.”
The ECR allows GenCos and Independent Power Producers to bypass the Bulk Trader for excess un-contracted capacity within their portfolio and sell directly to eligible customers who can take a minimum of 2MW of power monthly.
“The ECR was issued on the 6th of November, 2017 by the then Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Barrister Babatunde Fashola”, Umar also averred that the “recent repeal of the ECR further demonstrates the weakness in the NESI and the need for more effective and consistent regulation.”
He further advised, “With a new Minister of Power in the saddle, I suggest that a cue is borrowed from the former Minister of Power, Work, and Housing; who commenced his tenure with sector-wide stakeholder consultation and monthly review meetings, it is important that new Minister of Power gets a proper briefing with all market participants in the same room to curtail self-serving suggestions and recommendations.”
“The frequent policy conflict is fast eroding the little gains of the NESI since the declaration of TEM and plunging the sector deeper into uncertainty.
“The new Minister of Power must pursue sector-wide collaboration and effective corporate governance to move the sector forward.
“It is time to go back to the drawing board,” he concluded.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has, however, denied that it has ended or suspended the Eligible Customer Regulations which allowed power generation companies, GenCos, to supply electricity directly to large demand customers.
NERC, in a statement by its General Manager, Public Affairs Department, Dr. Usman Abba Arabi, stated that the Eligible Customer Regulations has not been suspended and at no time has the commission issued a directive for discontinuation of service to any customer.
The commission explained that what it suspended was the unauthorized direct supply by GenCos to big consumers.

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