In a move to take education to rural communities of Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike last Saturday flagged off the reconstruction of Community Secondary School, Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
The school sited in the village of former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi had been abandoned for several years without any form of upgrade.
Performing the flag-off, Wike recalled how the former Rivers State Governor stopped the rehabilitation of the school in 2014.
He said: “As the Minister of State for Education, I tried to intervene and rehabilitate this school. But the former Rivers State Governor drove away the contractors on the ground that the Federal Government cannot intervene in a school in the state.
“But God’s time has come. As governor, I now have the opportunity to turn around the fortunes of this school. I also call on the Federal Government to intervene in projects in this state, even though, I know they will never do so”, the governor said.
Wike said that the reconstruction of the Community Secondary School, Ubima will be completed in five months, as the funds have been deposited in the account of the state Ministry of Education.
The governor charged the people of Ubima to work with the contractors for the scheduled delivery of the project.
He explained that the state government was tackling the security challenge in Ubima by checking the excesses of kidnappers and cultists in the community.
Wike announced the process for the revival of electricity in Ubima, with the donation of a transformer.
He directed the Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike to commence the process for the rehabilitation of General Hospital, Ubima, while he stated that the road leading to the Community Secondary School, Ubima will be constructed.
Also speaking, the former Rivers State governor, Sir Celestine Omehia thanked Wike for remembering Ubima, which was forgotten by Amaechi, an indigene of the community.
Omehia said that Wike has made history by his decision to reconstruct the Community Secondary School, which was built through communal effort in 1980.
Former Chairman of the Governing Council of Kaduna Polytechnic, Chief Sergeant Awuse regretted that the ex-governor of Rivers State would exhibit so much hatred for his people.
Awuse wondered why President Muhammadu Buhari was harbouring Amaechi, who has no political relevance, aside the sponsorship of violence in the area.
Senator George Thompson Sekibo praised Wike for taking development to Ubima, even when their own son neglected them.
Rivers State Education Commissioner, Dr Taminosisi Gogo-Jaja said that new facilities such as administrative block, modern classrooms, laboratories, hostels and staff quarters would be built as part of the reconstruction efforts of the government.
Meanwhile, government’s hammer has finally hit some persons encroaching on public school land as the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last Friday, declared all buildings in the premises of Western Ahoada County High School, as government property.
The governor announced this during the flag-off of upgrading/remodelling/reconstruction of Western Ahoada County High School in Ahoada-East Local Government Area of the state.
The governor directed the state Commissioner for Education, Dr Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja to immediately commence the fencing of the entire school premises, and challenged those who developed properties in the school to go to court.
He equally appealed to parents in Ekpeye land to warn their children to stop forthwith from harassing or disturbing the contractors doing work in the school compound as the state government would deal decisively with anyone caught in the act.
Wike, who expressed disappointment that in spite of efforts by the government to turn around the fortunes of the school, said some direct beneficiaries of government’s gesture from the area were rather frustrating the plan, and stressed the determination of his administration to reconstruct the school.
The governor said the flag-off ceremony was in fulfilment of his promise to the people, and disclosed that the fund for the project has been set aside.
“I’m committed to keeping our promises to the Ekpeye kingdom. The fund for the rehabilitation of this school has been set aside”, the governor said.
Wike explained that the remodelling of the school was part of his administration’s effort of bringing back boarding system, and urged the people of the area to support the contractors handling the job to complete the project within scheduled time.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Education, Dr Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, while giving description of the project, said it has four hostels, new well-equipped classroom blocks, administration block, various laboratories, sick bay and council lounge, among other modern facilities.
The Eze Igbu-Upata 111, Dr Felix Otuwarikpo lauded the governor for keeping to his promise to the people of Ahoada-East Local Government Area.
North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.
Boxing: Joshua Facing Toughest Test In Usyk?
Boxing champion, Anthony Joshua could face his toughest test yet when he fights Oleksandr Usyk in London on Saturday, says ex-world champion George Groves.
Joshua, 31, puts his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian has won all 18 professional fights, beating Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora on that run.
“Technically, Usyk is brilliant,” said Groves . “He showed that in unifying the cruiserweight division in great fights and I believe he could be Joshua’s toughest test to date. This is the first fight when I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua got beaten.
“Joshua has fought [Wladimir] Klitschko and been in with Joseph Parker and also been beaten [by Andy Ruiz] and the only question mark for Usyk Is he big enough to compete with AJ?
“If Usyk keeps a high pace and makes Joshua miss with a lot of shots, that will work to Usyk’s advantage as he has probably got a better engine.
“Joshua is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous punching power and strength but has a tendency to tire out if the pace is uncomfortable for him.”
A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected and it will be the largest attendance Joshua has fought in front of since his win over Alexander Povetkin with 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in September, 2018.
Since then, Joshua has lost to Ruiz in New York before winning the rematch in Saudi Arabia and gained a ninth-round victory over Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena last December, with only 1,000 fans attending because of Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Joshua and Usyk won gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, at super-heavyweight and heavyweight respectively, with the Briton going on to win 24 of his 25 professional fights, including 22 inside the distance.
Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015 and is pushing for a rematch with him or a shot at WBC champion, Tyson Fury, believes the key to beating Usyk on Saturday is to adopt an attacking strategy.
“I think it’s a great fight and Joshua will stop him in the first six or seven rounds,” Whyte told Tidesports source.
“Usyk will start fast and Joshua should be cagey as Usyk is a bit lighter. Joshua can sometimes lack confidence but hopefully he goes back to the old him, starts pressing, being the bigger, stronger guy and gets the job done early.
“If Joshua sets the pace, he can get an early knockout and if he is strong, confident and walks him down, then I don’t see Usyk’s punches troubling Joshua.”
Groves, who held the WBA Super-Middleweight belt in 2017 and 2018, added: “If I was Joshua, I would take control of the ring and try to dominate and bully off the front foot.
“Usyk will want to be off the back foot for the first couple of rounds, then try to pepper Joshua.
“If I was in the Joshua camp, I would say: You want to keep this guy in his box. You don’t want Usyk having any confidence, so hit him hard and early.
“In the first three rounds, you want to land something big on him.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn also suggested Joshua could get an early victory.
Hearn said: “I’m always nervous for an Anthony Joshua fight, especially when you’re fighting someone that really believes he is going to win”.
2022 AFCON: ‘Cameroon On Track’
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, has said that Cameroon is “on track” to successfully host the Africa Cup of Nations early next year after visiting Olembe Stadium in Yaounde last weekend.
The venue will host the opening match and final of the AFCON in January and February of 2022.
A CAF delegation, including President Motsepe and General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, were joined by Cameroon’s Sports Minister, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi in inspecting progress made at the Olembe Stadium and various other facilities in the capital city.
“I’m very satisfied with the briefing I got and what I saw. I saw the Olembe Stadium and it is world class; we should all be proud as people of Cameroon and as Africans,” said Motsepe, as quoted by CAF’s website.
“We must applaud Cameroon [for] building such infrastructure. In partnership with the Government, the Minister of Sports, LOC, FECAFOOT President and CAF administration under Veron [Mosengo-Omba], I’m certain that in January next year, the rest of the world will be impressed. I’m very satisfied with what I have seen. We are on track.”
Motsepe continued: “The quality of football that will be played here will once again show the world that Africa has the quality to one day win the FIFA World Cup, that is the ultimate goal. The AFCON is special and I think it is important for us to set the tone in Cameroon.”
Mosengo-Omba also heaped praises on Olembe Stadium: “The infrastructure and architecture of the stadium is world class and can be compared to many other famous stadiums globally. In Cameroon, we have six beautiful match venues. Our job now is to ensure that we are ready with everything else.”
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