Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Edwin Clark and the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Sam Amuka are set to be honoured with the “Niger Delta Lifetime Achievement Awards” by Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper.
Also to be honoured with “Niger Delta Governor of the Year Award” include the Governors of Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta States, Hon Seriake Dickson; Chief Nyesom Wike and Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, respectively.
The Publisher of Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper, Mr Jacob Abai disclosed this in a press statement signed and made available to newsmen, yesterday, in Warri, Delta State.
According to him, the recipients would be honoured with the awards on September 11 at the KFT Event Centre in Warri.
The publisher said the award was part of the programmes lined up to mark the 3rd Anniversary of the foremost multimedia organisation in the South-South region.
He said a lecture titled “Niger Delta Beyond Oil: Searching for Sustainable Development” would be delivered by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo.
Abai said that the awardees were carefully selected by a committee constituted by the newspaper.
“Gbaramatu Voice announced the names of the former Nigeria President, Dr Jonathan and foremost Ijaw leader, Clark as winners of Niger Delta Lifetime Achievement Awards.
“Also, the publisher of the Vanguard Newspapers Limited, Sam Amuka, will be honoured with Niger Delta Media Icon Award.
“Others to be awarded are: Founder, Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities, Mr Bello Oboko; Founder, Word of Life Bible Church, Pastor Joseph Oritsejafor; and Founder of the Salvation Ministries, Pastor David Ibiyeomie,” he said.
Abai also said that member representing Burutu Federal Constituency, Hon Julius Pondi, and member representing Sapele/Okpe/Uvwie Federal Constituency, Hon Evelyn Oboro at the House of Representative would be honoured with the Niger Delta Representative/Lawmaker of the Year Awards.
He said that Chairman, Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, would receive the Sports Personality of the Year Award for his “superlative performance in piloting the affairs of the nation’s football body.
“Ann-Kio Briggs will receive Niger Delta Woman of the Year Award, Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Fenog Nigeria Limited, Engr. Augustine Oghenejabo, will be honoured as the Niger Delta Businessman of the Year Award.
Oyo PDP Denies Factionalisation
The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State has debunked the news making rounds that the state party has been fictionalised.
The party gave the clarification in a communique issued at the end of the party meeting which held at the party Secretariat, Molete, Ibadan on Friday.
The party, however, warned those it described as ‘dissident voices’ fanning the flames of discord to desist, saying the party leadership will no longer tolerate indiscipline and public defamation of its image.
Recall that about two weeks ago, a group of aggrieved members of the party recently declared itself as a faction, assuring Governor Seyi Makinde that its members would recover the party from him in the 2023 elections.
The group, led by former deputy governor Hazeem Gbolarumi, former House of Representatives Majority Leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, Hon. Ajibola Muraina, Engr. Femi Babalola and Chief Nureni Akanbi, among others, accused the governor of using members of other parties to run the PDP and government.
They also accused the governor of “high-handedness, recalcitrant attitude and lack of leadership in the party”, after a stakeholders’ meeting held at Jogor Centre, Ibadan.
The factional group, with members drawn from the 33 local governments of the state, said it had given up on Makinde and his style of leadership, stressing that it was already preparing to wrest the party from his grip in the next general elections.
But, the party leadership after the Friday meeting affirmed and identified with the leadership of Governor Makinde as the authentic leader in the state and the South-West zone.
The communique reads in part, “We also use this medium to announce that our position in Oyo State PDP is in alignment with the position of our amiable governor and leader of our party in the South-West, Engineer Seyi Makinde on the areas of security of lives and properties.
“We enjoin all the relevant security agencies to justify the good disposition of the governor towards them and see to curbing crimes in our State.
“We want to implore dissident voices that are fanning the flames of discord in our party to desist from such acts as the entire leadership of the party will henceforth not tolerate indiscipline and public defamation of the image of our party and the government by some sectarian elements in the party.
“We want to make it unequivocally clear that our party is not divided and we do not have factions. We are united and the party is becoming stronger daily under the leadership of Alhaji Omokunmi Mustapha and Governor Seyi Makinde.
“We also wish to state that the winning team, the executives that won elections i.e the present set of PDP Executives are united and we are running the party according to the provisions of the constitution of our party.
“We say that those calling for the dissolution of the State Party Executives are ill-advised, misinformed, insensitive, forgetful and deliberately malicious. The state party leadership is fine and we are solidly behind our hardworking governor.
“It is important to remind those who are enemies of success that when these current set of Oyo State PDP Executives came on board, there was no single national/ state House of Assembly member neither was the party winning elections.
“The current set of executives has led the party to win gubernatorial election, a senatorial seat, four house of representative seats, 26 out of 32 houses of assembly members and also conducted, monitored and oversaw the LG elections where the party won all the 33 Chairmanship seats and 90 percent of the councillorship positions. It is sheer wickedness to call for the dissolution of a winning team.
“We want to also implore the entire populace of Oyo State to continue to support the governor of Oyo State in his quest to restore our state back to the pacesetting pedestals.
The governor has done well in the past two years of his administration despite that the fact that we inherited a state that was badly battered, almost destroyed and our funds and resources seriously injured by the inhumane, wicked, unkind, unfair and the corrupt government of the APC and their failed leaders.
“We find it rather laughable and preposterous that majority of the so called, self-acclaimed and passive leaders who are defaming, disparaging and embarrassing the hard earned victory of the party today were caught in bed with the opposition parties severally before the last general elections.
How do you describe PDP leaders who publicly campaigned for candidates of other parties and even mobilized their followers to vote for ADP/ADC and APC candidates on the Election Day?
“Many of these leaders who did not vote nor supported the candidates of the party at the national assembly and presidential elections forgot that the major negotiating data that birthed the coalition that made the gubernatorial victory easy for us was the results and the achievements of the party at the first elections which many of them worked against the interest of the party.
“It is highly imperative to note that one of the so called leaders who even signed the poor communique at the failed Jogor centre meeting sued the party up to the Supreme Court. At what point did He actually become a true party man?
“We want to inform the good people of Oyo State that many of these misguided leaders have left us in soul and spirit.
How else do you explain the characters of PDP Leaders who hosted many figures from the opposition in their houses? We have very well publicised images of the visit of Dr Fola Akinosun, Sen. Soji Akanbi and others few days/hours before the National Assembly elections and many of them have also hosted the gubernatorial candidate of APC in the 2019 election, Chief Adebayo Adelabu.
“The Senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Senator Teslim Folarin, and other ambitious opposition figures and we are not unaware of several nocturnal meetings of some of these so-called leaders with leading top-notch figures from the APC like Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Their game plan is to frustrate, truncate and destroy the relative peace we currently enjoy in Oyo State PDP and mortgage our hardworking governor for their selfish agenda of handing over Oyo State into the hands of the wicked, inhumane and high handed APC.
“We want to thank the good people of Oyo State who actually separated the wheat from the chaff in the current situation in Oyo State.
“We are certain and we want to assure the good people of Oyo State that our governor is working assiduously with every relevant persons, institutions, agencies and stakeholders to ensure that Ibarapa, Oke-Ogun, Ogbomoso, Oyo and Ibadan is more secured and conducive for all.
“We want to say it with all confidence that under Governor Seyi Makinde and PDP, a better Oyo State is assured.”
The meeting was attended by members of the party’s state executive council, lawmakers from the National Assembly, state assembly, council bosses among others.
10m Nigerians,Addicted To Indian Hemp, NDLEA Confirms
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Gen BubaMarwa(rtd) has said at least about 10.6 millions Nigerians are addicted to cannabis consumption saying the trend of drug abuse in the country was highly worrisome.
Marwa disclosed this at the weekend during the celebration of OgidiDay in IjumuLocal Government Area of Kogi State, where he was honoured with the chieftaincy title of Aare Jagunmolu of Ogidi kingdom.
The NDLEA boss, who pleaded with parents and guardians to take proper care of their children, said the use of illicit drugs has destroyed many families and ruined lives of youths, and said all hands must be on deck to arrest the ugly trend.
According to him, “Today, no fewer than 14.3 million Nigerians, young people and adults from the age of 16 to 64 years abuse drugs, with cannabis being the commonly abused substance. At least 10.6 million people are addicted to cannabis in the past year.
“What is most heartbreaking is that majority of them are young people who are initiated into cannabis use around the age of 19.
“There is also increasing use of other psychotropic drugs, especially heroin, again, by a growing number of young people who are mostly initiated at the age of 22 years.
“The more you unravel the statistics of drug uses in Nigeria, the more damning it becomes. And when you combine these damning data with the recent results of the activities of the NDLEA, then you begin to get worried.
“In the past four months, we have arrested more than 2,180 drug traffickers, intercepted and seized over two million kilograms of assorted illicit substances such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, tramadol and cannabis.
“Broadly speaking, the agency has been able to seize drugs and cash worth over N90 billion within the first four months of this year.
“We have filed over 2,000 drug cases in court. Over 500 have been sentenced and are now serving different jail terms. And we still have over 1,500 of the cases pending in court. With this reality, it will be ironic to expect peace, security and meaningful development in Nigeria”, he added.
At the ceremony, the traditional ruler of the ancient town and the Ologidi of Ogidi, Oba RabiuOladimejiSule, said the reason the chieftaincy title was conferred on Marwa was because of his steadfast love for the community, and especially the numerous indigenes of the community who the former governor has positively touch their lives.
Sule said most of the development projects in the community were solely carried out through self help, and appealed to government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of the community for rapid transformation.
Rivers SACA Boss Identifies Milestone In HIV Response
The Acting Executive Director (ED) of the Rivers State Agency for the Control of AIDS (RIVSACA), Dr George Nwaeke, has identified improvements in HIV/AIDS response in Rivers State.
Nwaeke, who made the identification recently at a 2-day South-South HIV Media roundtable meeting in Port Harcourt, stated that such improvements are in about ten areas of HIV/AIDS response.
In his keynote address at the occasion, Nwaeke said one of such areas is in the increase of access to HIV/AIDS services across the 23 LGAs of the state and the removal of “User Fees” for HIV/AIDS services.
The ED, who was represented by the Programme Manager, RIVSACA, Dr Naaziga Francis, said the improvement was also in terms of increase in HIV treatment sites from five in 2010, to 86, and increase of HIV testing sites from 11 in 2010 to 367.
Others are increase in sites for Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS from six in 2010 to 115; increase in trained manpower for HIV response; and reduction in stigmatization.
He also stated that the state government has provided three Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines for Early Infant Diagnosis (EID), viral load testing, including hepatitis, which also serves as a testing hub for neighbouring southern states.
He used the opportunity to call on people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS to make it a priority to access these services.
In his remark at the opening ceremony, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor PaulinusNsirim, stated the importance of the meeting, noting its timelines in the face of the emergence of Covid-19, which attracted more public health concerns at the detriment of HIV/AIDS.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Director, Public Enlightenment of the ministry, Mr Celestine Ogolo, urged the media to bring back HIV/AIDS to the front burner.
“I think that this meeting has to find a way of encouraging the media to play their own part earnestly to ensure that HIV/AIDS is brought back to the front burner, so that our people won’t think that it’s over for HIV/AIDS”, he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, at the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Samuel Ogeh, assured participants at the meeting that the Legislature was ready to contribute its quota in HIV/AIDS response in the state by creating enabling laws.
He, however, charged relevant bodies such as RIVSACA to initiate necessary bills, assuring that it will be given priority hearing.
“It (Bill) will only come from you for me to push it. I am always available to work with you”, he said.
On her part, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Uduak Daniel, explained that the meeting was “to better help the media understand HIV response”, adding that “this is the third activity in this process. The last activity will come out soon”.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
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