Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was conspicuously absent as General Yakubu Gowon, a one-time Military Head of State commissioned the new Bayelsa State Government House which cost over three billion naira.
The “uncommon” absence of Dr Jonathan on such important occasion, observers said points to the wide gap between him and Governor Seriake Dickson in recent times. While government officials claimed that the former President was invited, a close aide and relation of the former President told The Tide that he was not aware that he was invited.
Commissioning the project, General Gowon accompanied by his wife, Victoria, commended Dickson for putting a great edifice that would help in formulation of good policies.
He, however, reiterated the need for completion of projects started by the previous administration, saying, in governance, “when people are happy, you become happier”.
In his speech earlier, Dickson had described Gowon as one the greatest modern father of the nation who as a military leader, created Rivers State which later gave birth to Bayelsa State.
He said the invitation of Gowon to commission the project was to show appreciation for his love to Ijaw nation.
At Kaiama, the headquarters of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, where General Gowon commissioned the IJaw National Academy, he said Governor Dickson’s revolutionary approach to educational development would turn around the fortunes of Bayelsa State in the near future.
Describing the facilities at the Academy as impressive, the former Head of State noted that the vision behind the setting up of the free boarding secondary school is commendable, as it is designed to achieve academic excellence and capacity building.
While charging the students to make optimal use of the scholarship programme and protect the facilities provided for them, he expressed optimism that they would be among other Nigerians that would take the country to greater heights in the foreseeable future.
Presenting a cheque of N97m to the Trust Fund, Governor Dickson explained that in addition to the N100 million recently released, government deducted N97 million from the salaries of both political appointees and civil servants for the month of June, 2017, including the 5% contribution from the State monthly internally generated revenue.
The governor said he was proud of his achievements in the education sector, noting that it was under his leadership that boarding schools were established and funded by the state government, 20 years after the creation of Bayelsa State to nurture and build a crop of future leaders for the Ijaw nation and the country as a whole.
Project N’Delta Group Chides Akpabio Over Delayed NDDC Board
Project Niger Delta, PND, a non-governmental organisation in Niger Delta, has rebuked the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator
Godswill Akpabio, over the delayed inauguration of the substantive board of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
According to the group, the continued delayed in inaugurating the board of the NDDC is” deliberately orchestrated by the Minister for selfish political gains against the collective demands of the Niger Delta people.”
PND in a statement by its Executive Director and National Coordinator, Comrade Prince Timipre Ebebi, said the people of the region are not happy with the procrastination of the inauguration of the board six months after the minister’s promise.
While calling for the immediate inauguration of the NDDC board, Ebebi recalled that the minister had promised that the board will be
inaugurated by July 2021, regretting that the minister was taking the stakeholders and people of the region for granted.
He warned that if the board is not inaugurated soonest, the group will mobilise youths of the region against the Minister and Interim
Administrator and flayed the non-chalant attitude of youths groups in the region particularly the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC.
He called on the leadership of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the Ijaw National Congress,INC, and other ethnic groups in the region to
rise and speak out against the perceived injustice meted out to the people of the region through the failure in inaugurating a substantive
board for the NDDC.
He said: “Since December 22, 2020, Mr.Effiong Akwa has been appointed by Mr President through the lobbying of Sen. Godswill Akpabio as
Interim Administrator of NDDC and the duo hail from Akwa-Ibom, since then the collective prosperity and federal government developmental
incentives to the region are being managed by one lion family led by Sen. Godswill Akpabio and our resources are being used for personal
gains despite our consistent appeal and peaceful resolution, the minister has paid deaf ears.
“We at PND hereby call on Sen Akpabio not to take us for granted and expedite actions to inaugurate the board for the benefit of all,
anything less than that, we shall mobilise Niger Delta youths against him and the Interim Administrator for sabotaging the collective
interest of the Niger Delta people.
“Project Niger Delta also query the nonchalant attitude of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, led by Comrade Timothy Igbifa, for its long
silence and also call on the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress, INC, led by Prof. Benjamin Okaba to continue to speak against the apparent leadership failure of Sen.Godswill Akpabio in relation to the handling of the NDDC matters.
“In the same vein we are also calling on Pa E. K Clark led Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, to speak out against the further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC board, because as it stands NDDC belongs to only Akwa-Ibom State, while Cross River, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Abia and Imo states are being denied their representation to fast track development in their states thereby defeating the purpose
for the establishment of the commission.”
VC Tasks Alumni On Varsity’s Dev
The Vice Chancellor of Rivers State University, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule, has urged alumni of the university to contribute to the growth and development of the university.
Okogbute, who gave the charge while commissioning bus stands built in the university campus by the 1998/99 Set of the school in Port Harcourt recently, said for any university to develop, the alumni must play significant roles.
While thanking the 1998/99 Set for the bold initiative, the Vice Chancellor called on other sets of the university to follow the good examples set by the alumni, as well as to always synergise to accomplish set goals.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Chairman of the 1998/99 Set of the university, Mr Christopher Hart assured that the two bus stands built by the set for the university would stand the test of time, contending that the gesture was the beginning of many more projects to be constructed by the group for the institution.
According to him, the bus stands can be dismantled and re-assembled at will and equally have the capacity to boost security.
Hart noted that members of the 1998/99 Set of the university are doing pretty well in their respective careers and endeavours, even as, according to him, the present Accountant-General of the State is a member of the set.
He commended the present administration of the university for the giant strides it has recorded so far, and urged it to re-double its efforts to truly re-position the institution.
By: Emeka Igbe
Scramble For Gold In Edo: Uneasy Calm As Illegal Northern Miners Troop In
The sleepy community known as Dagbala in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, has been in the news for the wrong reasons for over a year as activities of alleged illegal gold miners deepened and created security breach in the area, forcing the state government to ban all forms of mining there.
According to reports, the issue, which has emboldened illegal miners to flood the area, is the dispute over the ownership of the mining site at Oketegbe in the community by different families and those who are also positing that, irrespective of the ownership of the land, the entire community should be the beneficiary since the environmental impact the mining sites would bring would be borne by the entire community.
Report further revealed that apart from claims and counter-claims, there have been attacks targeting locals which have led to residents raising concerns in an area grappling with kidnapping and other crimes before government slammed the ban.
It is observed that even though the decision has brought relative peace to the community, it has also denied miners with licenses access to their sites to carry out legitimate businesses.
Meanwhile, some of the contending families are already in court while some stakeholders in Dagbala are trying to adopt alternative dispute resolution mechanisms where all parties are expected to make sacrifices for the good of all.
Recall that In February 2021, there was tension in the area over influx of persons mostly suspected to be of northern Nigeria extraction who were into mining of gold and most of them believed to be without licenses.
The small community was overrun by these ‘foreigners’ who were also accused of luring women into amorous relationships. Loads of sophisticated arms and dynamites were purportedly imported into the community at night by the miners without any community member knowing about it.
Some of the vehicles used to ferry these items into the community allegedly had government plate numbers which made their movements easy.
Some illegal miners were recently arrested at the site and they confessed that they were from different parts of the country, including Kogi, Taraba and the Federal Capital territory and that they had waiting buyers to take the raw gold from them for processing.
In the face of all these, there is the allegation of cover-up by security agencies and officials of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
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