As the country gears up
for the 2015 general elections, workers in Bayelsa State have been urged not to allow the political class use them to push interests that are inimical to the state.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who gave the advice during the May Day celebration at the Peace Park in Yenagoa, reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the welfare of the workers.
He also reiterated his preparedness to engage the organised labour in discussing matters affecting their conditions of service and the wellbeing of Bayelsans at all times.
The governor stressed the need for civil servants to tread carefully, noting that greedy politicians, who do not have the interest of the state at heart, would stop at nothing to infiltrate labour with a view to actualising their sinister agenda.
While commending the state workforce for contributing to the achievements of the present administration, he emphasised that, all ongoing reforms of the government were intended to enhance efficient administration and productivity of the civil service.
According to the governor, “In view of the times that we are in, the organized labour should work hard to ensure that you don’t allow people, who want to contest for various offices to infiltrate your ranks, and even when you have legitimate complaints, let us not see political colour in them.
“ Even when we disagree, we remain open to work with you and engage you all, because in the first place, we are all citizens of Bayelsa State. So, we all have this state to develop by working together. There is no “us and them” situation, and as I keep saying, we, your political leaders are only tenants in this building called the public service, while the real landlords are yourselves. So, value the change that has come to you.”
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Rtd), urged workers to be patient, assuring that government would do everything within its reach to ensure that all civil servants in the state were paid the arrears of the 18 per cent minimum wage.
Responding to some of the issues raised by labour, the Deputy Governor noted that in line with its policy of promoting efficiency of workers, the present administration has not only reopened the state public service training institute, but also appointed a Director General to oversee it.
According to him, the government has already acquired land to build the permanent site of the institute, adding that work on the project would commence soon.
In a joint address, the state councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) expressed appreciation to Governor Dickson for commencing payment of the N18,000 minimum wage arrears and pension gratuities to retirees and for the construction of modern school infrastructure in all parts of the state.
Meanwhile, Governor Dickson has signed into law three bills recently passed by the State House of Assembly. The bills are, Micro-Finance and Enterprise Development, Bayelsa State Maritime Academy, and the Bayelsa State Polytechnic.
Assenting to the bills in Government House, Yenagoa, Governor Dickson expressed optimism that the new maritime institution would be second to none in the training of seafarers, adding that the government is taking youth empowerment to the next level, where they would be productive and contribute to the growth of the economy.
Dickson, who noted that his administration was desirous of changing the trend where youths were dependent on handouts, said, the two new institutions; the Maritime Academy, Okpoama and the Bayelsa Polytechnic, Aleibiri, would help nurture the future of the youths.
He stressed that the polytechnic would specialize in providing technical skills to make youths employable and appealed to communities where the institutions are sited to ensure a conducive atmosphere for them to flourish.
Presenting the bills, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Konbowei Benson, applauded the relentless efforts of the governor at improving the standard of living of the people, describing him as a visionary leader.
Rt. Hon. Benson said the signing of the Micro Finance bill was timely as it was coming on the heels of the 20th edition of the international conference on Small and Medium Enterprises holding in the state.
I’m Proud Of You, VP Tells A’Ibom Gov
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has said he is very proud of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State for his great achievements in the area of infrastructure and industrialisation in the six years of his stewardship as governor of the state.
Osinbajo, who spoke while commissioning the 21-Storey Dakkada Towers on Friday in Uyo, recalled that in 2015 the governor had shared the vision of his administration to construct the tallest building in the South-South and South-East regions.
He noted that the 21-storey smart building is not just the tallest in the region, but certainly among the tallest in Nigeria and in West Africa.
He congratulated the governor and members of his team who had worked so hard to ensure the realisation of the vision as well as the project developers for delivering the edifice in good time.
His words, “So the completion of the Dakkada Towers will most definitely address the questions of the paucity of world-class office accommodation for both the local and corporate international companies, especially oil and gas companies. This will certainly boost the revenue of the state and open doors for further investments.
“With this development, the big players in corporate Nigeria, especially in the oil and gas industry should now find it entirely auspicious to relocate their administrative headquarters to Uyo. I hear that various expressions of interest have already been received from companies in the oil and gas, banking and all various sectors of the economy.
“The Dakkada towers is a catalyst for the private sector, to leverage on the emerging real estate market by constructing more skyscrapers which will be required, as the promoters and partners of several of the industrial projects here in Akwa Ibom State begin to demand quality accommodation for their offices.
“I am very proud of what my brother has achieved in the six years of his stewardship as the governor of this state, especially with his industrialisation agenda. There will also be new jobs created, transfer of knowledge and technology as the tower is put to use”
The vice president, who earlier flagged off the 557 low density “Dakkada Luxury Estate, underscored the importance of infrastructure in attracting investment, noting that the federal government has spent over N8.9trillon on infrastructural development in the country as of last year.
“As you are aware, since the inception of our administration Mr President has prioritised the development of infrastructure. And despite the severe economic headwind we experienced in the past six years we have invested more than any administration on infrastructure.
“As of last year, we had expended over N8.9trillion on infrastructure. Just last month the Federal Executive Council approved the Lagos-Calabar rail project which will pass through Uyo as a major station. At the end of last year the council also approved the full business case for the Ibom Deep Seaport”, Osinbajo disclosed.
In his remarks earlier, the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, appreciated the vice president for his consistent show of love towards Akwa Ibom State, saying he was greatly excited because when he started the project the naysayers said he would not be able to complete it.
“But today, we are presenting to Akwa Ibom people in Nigeria, in the Diaspora, the smartest, the most intelligent, and the tallest building that Nigeria can boast of” Emmanuel said.
He noted that the IOCs will have no excuse not to relocate their administrative headquarters to the state, stressing, “If you check the balance sheet of the IOCs, hardly will you see them erecting any building, but they pay rent. They used to complain we can’t do this, we can’t have office accommodation, that excuse has ended today.
“We are spearheading innovations that will generate revenue, create jobs and put us on the world map. People see me working, and they say you are not working as a second-term governor. There is no second term in my blood vein. What I am doing is to move Akwa Ibom forward. That is why I refused to be distracted”
Earlier in his goodwill message, the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Hakan Cakil, expressed satisfaction over the quality of work done at the 21-storey smart building and thanked the government for inviting him to be part of the inauguration of the edifice which was designed and constructed by a Turkish firm, VKS Construction Company Limited.
He noted that VKS is a global company incorporated in Nigeria for over 40 years, adding, “I hope our bilateral relations will continue to grow and made stronger”
Also in his goodwill message, a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, lauded Governor Emmanuel for fulfilling his vision to move the state forward, saying, “So today I want to congratulate you, the people of Akwa Ibom State for what is happening here. It is leadership, some may not see it, but in a couple of years to come, they will appreciate what has been done here”,
On her part, the Senator representing Akwa Ibom South (Eket Senatorial District), Senator Akon Eyakenyi, said Akwa Ibom people were proud of the governor because they unanimously gave him the mandate to serve in 2015.
By: Reward Akwu
PDP Zones Guber Ticket To Abakaliki Bloc
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ebonyi State chapter, says it has zoned its governorship ticket to the Abakaliki bloc ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Abakaliki bloc comprises two senatorial zones, Ebonyi North and Central.
The state chairman, Elder Fred Udeogu, made this known while speaking with journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital.
He noted that the two senatorial zones will harmonise, decide for themselves on whether the North or the Central will produce the next governor of the state.
Udeogu equally noted that the stakeholders of the party zoned the party’s chairmanship position to Ebonyi-South senatorial zone, whereas the publicity secretary is zoned to Ebonyi-Central zone among other positions.
“We started with zoning, our party leaders decided to zone the governorship position to Abakaliki bloc. Ebonyi South are the ones holding the governorship position now, they don’t have to go again but we have zoned the Party chairmanship to them.
“And so, when the time comes, the Abakaliki bloc will now harmonise on whether the governorship position will go to either Ebonyi-North or Central zone,” he said.
Elder Udeogu also said that his party conducted Ward Congress in the 171 political wards of Ebonyi state on Saturday, September 25, 2021.
He had charged party supporters to conduct themselves orderly and should eschew all forms of violence during the Congresses, adding that PDP was a reformed party that prepared to show examples to other political parties in Nigeria.
According to him, “As you can see, we have commenced the distribution of wards, local governments forms yesterday. Outside that, there are other basic things we are doing to make sure that the Congresses are successfully conducted.
“We have written to Police, DSS and other security agencies, we have equally written to INEC to alert them on our ward congress that will hold coming Saturday. All the preparatory arrangements have all been done.
“We have equally set up electoral appeal panel to entertain some matters that may arise. We are conscious of the fact that we are in the opposition party, and we are putting our house together.
“I’m very much confident that our congress will be peaceful and successful. You don’t trust human beings but I have 99.9 per cent confidence that the congress will be perfectly conducted.
“We are doing all we can to takeover Ebonyi State. APC will be surprised by the outcome of our congresses,” he said.
UNGA: Buhari Seeks Debt Cancellation For Nigeria, Others
Despite criticism back in Nigeria over his numerous loan requests in the past few years, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday appealed to “rich nations” and international financial institutions for outright debt cancellation for countries “facing the most severe challenges in the wake of the Covid-19”.
He particularly urged G20 countries to extend their debt suspension initiatives to all developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing states facing fiscal and liquidity challenges.
He made the appeal during his speech at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The president’s plea comes amid criticisms from Nigerians over his administration’s consistent borrowings.
His latest request for an external loan was sent to the Senate on September 14.
In his letter, the president sought the lawmakers’ approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million loan from bilateral and multilateral organisations to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
He had said the loan request, an addendum to the 2018-2020 borrowing plan, is needed for some “critical projects.” He also asked the lawmakers to approve grant components of $125 million.
The request came barely two months after the National Assembly approved his earlier request to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans contained in the initial 2018-2020 borrowing plan.
It triggered outrage from the opposition party, All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
While the party cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan, the APC said the loans were for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The president’s handlers have always argued that the government is only borrowing for capital projects and not for consumption as done by past governments.
But, developing countries, Mr Buhari said, have been faced with unsustainable debt burdens even before the pandemic.
‘‘The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the risk of a new wave of deepening debt, where vital public financial resources are allocated to external debt servicing and repayments, at the expense of domestic health and financing for critical developmental needs.
‘‘I must commend the current initiatives by the international financial institutions and the G20 aimed at significantly mitigating the economic situation of the indebted countries and urge for more efforts in this regard.
‘‘Therefore, there is an urgent need to consider expansion and extension of the debt service.
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