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Jonathan, Others Pay Achebe Last Respects …As FG Declares May29 Public Holiday

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President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday enjoined all Nigerians to put all hands on deck to transform the country.
Jonathan made the call while delivering a goodwill message at the funeral service for the late Prof Chinua Achebe at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, Ogidi near Onitsha, Anambra State.
He said that Achebe in his books philosophically reflected on the ills bedevilling the progress of the country and that the present generation of politicians, business moguls, and thinkers should find a way to change negative attitudes for the progress of the country.
“That means that those of us who are political leaders, business moguls, I have seen quite a number of them who have business empires; our religious leaders, our traditional leaders, all of us must work hard to change this country.
“So that when our grand children like Achebe junior would write, they would say there is a country.
“And one thing for those of you who had read this book that I would like to appreciate Achebe is that, if you listen to what I have read, he was overtly critical about the elections.
“But one thing he appreciated at least is that the 2011 election had seen significant improvement. That means that we can change.
“What we inherited about the 60s that Achebe wrote as far back as 1958 about things falling apart, feeling that we have lost our moral values and he criticised the elections that happened in 1959 and so on.
“If we can fix our electoral process and we the politicians, believe that this is our country and we don’t have any other country than Nigeria; then work together, we would work with the religious leaders, work with the traditional leaders, work with the businessmen and women; we can have a country that our grand-children would write in their own books – there is a country.’’
Jonathan, however, commiserated with the family of Achebe especially the wife, Prof Chinwe Achebe; while thanking the various international dignitaries that graced the occasion.
The President later announced that he and President John Mahama of Ghana would rebuild the dilapidated St. Philips’ Primary School, Ogidi where Achebe attended his primary education.
In his remarks, President John Mahama of Ghana, said that Prof Achebe’s life was a great inspiration to Africans.
Mahama said that Achebe would live-on not just only in his literary works but for his forthrightness and candidness to issues of life as it affected his people, his country and the African World.
In his homily, Most Rev. Ikechi Nwosu, Archbishop of Aba Anglican Province, urged Nigerians to be determined to succeed even in difficult and rough times.
Nwosu, who represented Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, noted that the late Achebe succeeded even in the face of present day challenges.
The cleric, who titled his message: “Prof. Chinua Achebe: A Parable to the Nigerian Nation’’, enjoined all Nigerians to be focused and steadfast with the truth and fear of God.
He advised Nigerians not to lose hope, saying: “God shows how strong He is to His people during rough and difficult times“.
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, who spoke on behalf of the elders of the South-East, thanked President Jonathan and his Ghanaian counterpart as well as other foreign national dignitaries for gracing the occasion.
Anyaoku said that Achebe had made Ndi-Igbo and Nigerians proud with his literary works and life-style.
Chief Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, described the late Achebe as a man of many parts, whose legacy would live beyond many generations.
“Prof. Achebe accomplishment only ranks 2nd to the accomplishment of the Great Nelson Mandela of Africa,’’ Ihedioha said.
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, who spoke on behalf of the governors from the South-East and South-South present, said that the people of the two zones, “now united are very grateful to Mr President honouring the invitation’’.
“With the love you are showing to the South-East and South-South, we would remain with you and make sure we project all your programmes and policies.’’
The eldest son of the deceased, Dr Ikechukwu Achebe, thanked the Presidents, foreign delegations, dignitaries and personalities as well as the media for attending the burial service and making the event a success.
Highlights of the event was a presentation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Achebe family and  Ministry of Foreign Affairs volumes of signed condolence registers from Nigerian embassies abroad to the Achebes and a special song rendered by the Old Boys of Federal Government College, Umuahia in Abia State.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has declared Wednesday, May 29, as Public Holiday to celebrate the 2013 Democracy Day.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Mrs Annesthesia Nwaobia, yesterday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, declared the Public Holiday on behalf of the Federal Government.
Moro urged Nigerians to deepen their participation in democratic governance to enable them pass on the baton of credible and good governance to upcoming generations.
Moro urged the citizenry to support Jonathan’s efforts at deepening democratic governance in the country.

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ITF Rates EEDC High On Human Resources Dev

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The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has adjudged the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) “Best in Human Resource Development for 2020.”
Presenting the award of EEDC headquarters in Enugu, the Area Manager, ITF Enugu, Mrs Uzoamaka Yahaya, said the award was in recognition of EEDC’s efforts in the area of human capital development.
Yahaya said that the company did tremendously well in staff capacity building within the South-Eastern part of the company.
“The EEDC, which is a South-East franchise power firm, clinched the coveted award for the first time by meeting and exceeding all the necessary training requirements and financial obligations,” she said.
Responding after receiving the award, the Head Human Resources, EEDC, Mrs Nkiru Chukwuma, appreciated ITF for acknowledging all that the company had been doing in empowering its personnel.
Chukwuma also reiterated EEDC’s continued commitment to the training and retraining of staff, bearing in mind that they remained its critical asset.

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Body Tasks S’East On Climate Change

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A United Nations (UN) affiliated Climate Organisation, Protect Our Planet (POP) Movement, has urged people of the South East geopolitical zone to key into climate protection movements and practical messages to stem the tide of climate change.
The group made the call during its South-East “Climate Strike and Green Walk”, which was sub-themed; “Clean-up Enugu” held last Saturday in major roads and streets in Enugu metropolis.
The members of POP, who evacuated refuse on the roads, carried placards with the following inscriptions: “There is No Planet B”, “Climate Justice Now,” “Recycle Don’t Waste” among others.
The Country representative of POP, Mr Samuel Okorie, said that the essence of the walk and sanitation was to educate the residents of South-East that “climate change is real” and to imbibe good climate habits.
According to him, “we are raising the consciousness of people in the South-East on climate issues, which is already affecting them through numerous erosion sites, extinction of some native crops and excessive heat.”
Okorie also called on Nigerians to jettison a practice that injures the climate and environment.
“Nigerians must stop indiscriminate felling of tress, bush burning, dumping of refuse on drains/waterways, dumping of industrial chemicals on water-ways and streams and building on waterways.”
The country representative challenged residents of the South-East on taking practical actions to support good climate and environmental practices.
Continuing, he further said, “We just need one person to take just one positive action to protect our environment and such deed we add to efforts to revise the current climate change.”
Speaking, Executive Director, Town Crier Initiative Africa, Mr Ogene Ogbodo, said that it was time for Nigerians to rise and reverse all negative habits that had brought climate change development to the country.

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Magashi, Aregbesola, Others Meet Over Insecurity In S’East

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Defence Minister, Retired Maj Gen Bashir Magashi, his Interior Ministry counterpart, H.E. Raul Adesoji Aregbesola and Service Chiefs, over the weekend held a closed-door meeting on security challenges with all the Governors of the South East geo-political zone and other leaders of the political, religious and traditional institutions in the zone, at the Government House, Enugu.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, in his welcome address, described the Town Hall meeting as timely and apt, expressing optimism that the outcome of the meeting will engender the watershed to the security challenges in the South East zone.
The Governor who stressed the need for all government structures to uphold the security and welfare of the people as the primary purpose of government (enshrined in the 1999 Constitution), said that the consultation with the Service Chiefs and critical stakeholders of the South East zone, on the current security challenges, “underscores the centrality of this security responsibility in our consideration”. 
He, therefore thanked President Muhammadu Buhari over what he described as “desirable and laudable development”.

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