The former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Hon. Venatius Ikem has encouraged Nigerians to take a positive picture of the country.
Ikem, former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, stated this while delivering speech as a guest Lecturer at the 2nd Distinguished Public Lecture organised by the Department of Educational Administration and Planning, University of Calabar.
Speaking on the topic: “Thoughts on Nigeria’s Development Journey and the Fallacies of Hopeless,” the statesman said that although the country has not progressed at the expected pace but in area of Education, Infrastructure, Communication, Healthcare, Politics and Economy, Nigeria has made significant progress.
He advised politicians to go back to the rules of global best practices in development that guarantees measurable achievements, predictable growth and development.
According to him: “Having said all these, running through few sectors and even deliberately avoiding some like agriculture and security, the point must be made that I am by no means saying that we should rise up and celebrate! Far from it.
“Our development in all sectors lags far behind expectations given our endowment in terms of manpower, grit and determination, natural resources, including a very clement weather devoid of major natural disasters and other challenges that should hamper development. I have as the cliché goes rather preferred to paint a picture of a half full cup than visualize a half empty one.
“I hope to encourage us to take a more positive picture of our nation than look at the dismal one. To be inspired by how far we have come than despair in how much farther we need to go.
“It remains true that the true African renaissance that was expected to come with Independence from Colonial rule has been a story of dashed dreams and failed expectations. Nigeria remains a poster boy of this failure. A peer review of countries with a similar history, even lower endowments and a tougher natural environment to play, have emerged more focused and sure-footed in their trajectory of development while we have continued to play by our own rules,”
He pointed out that, “In a globalised world, we cannot play by our own rules and hope to look like others. There are simply global rules, global standards of development and global best practices as the path towards achieving them.
He said: “There are no short cuts! We cannot elect thieves to run our public treasury and shout corruption afterwards.”
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
C’River Hosting 36,000 Cameroonian Refugees -SEMA
Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) yesterday said that the state was currently hosting 36,044 Cameroonian refugees in its settlements across the state.
Director General of SEMA in Cross River,Mr Princewill Ayim, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Calabar.
Ayim said the refugees were currently in three settlements in Adagom 1, Adagom 3 and Ukende, all in Ogoja Local Government Area of the state.
Ayim told our correspondent that with the increasing number of refugees been registered by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the number has risen from 35,965 in 2019 to 36,044 in January 2020.
According to him, the figure represents 69.5 per cent of the total number of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria, adding that the new figure was released by the UNHCR in January 2020.
The DG said that since the crisis broke out in October 2017 in Cameroon over the demand for Ambazonia Republic by the Anglophone Cameroonians, the settlement had continued to witness an increase of Cameroonian refugees into the state through land borders.
Ayim said that the official number of refugees in Nigeria has risen from 51,723 in December 2019 to 51,864 in the latest data obtained by UNHCR.
He added that from the latest figure, 45.9 per cent of the refugees are male, while the female represents 54.1 per cent.
“As we speak, the number of Cameroonian refugees in Cross River has increased from 35,965 in December 2019 to 36,044 in January 2020.
“This is so because the number keeps increasing due to the crisis that is yet to be addressed in Southern Cameroon.
“These refugees are being registered by the UNHCR as they come in. As we speak, the facilities in the camps are been overstretched because of the increasing numbers.
“We wish to call on the international bodies and the federal government to come in and assist the state government in providing certain facilities like water, education, social support and others,” he said.
He told our corrrespondent that the host communities had been very hospitable and cooperative with the refugees, adding that most refugees have integrated themselves with the way of life of the people in the area.
Edo Blames Insecurity On Unresolved Poverty
Edo State Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu, says calls for the sack of Service Chiefs by some critics, was a misplaced priority that will not solve Nigeria’s security challenges.
Shaibu made the assertion at a meeting with Heads of Media Organisations in Benin yesterday, as part of preparations for successful hosting of the forthcoming National Sports Festival tagged ‘Edo 2020’.
While describing the Service Chiefs as some of the best and competent officers Nigeria could boast of, he said the cause of insecurity was traceable to unresolved poverty in the land.
He explained that even if the President changed his Service Chiefs several times without effectively addressing poverty, people will find excuses to be allowed to be used as tools or weapons of destruction by unpatriotic elements.
“ I know this because I was one of those who screened them and their credentials as a member of the House of Representatives.
“ We know that Gen. Tukur Buratai is a solid combatant soldier with a UN medal; ditto others.
“But there has to be peaceful coexistence among the people. And this can happen only if the people are happy; and the people can be happy only if they are legally gainfully occupied both in their minds and hands.
“And part of ways of finding solutions to the issue of insecurity is through sports. The State Government is determined to contribute its quota in that direction,” he said.
Shaibu said the State Government placed great premium on youths development to prepare them as future leaders.
“ We have seen this huge opportunity and we have invested in it through putting in place massive infrastructure across the 18 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state, which has created windows of employment for hundreds of youths.
“It is when government creates conducive environment and creates job opportunities for the teeming youths that we can aspire for peace.
“But when youths become idle with virtually no hope in sight that their minds begin to absorb lots of negative vibes.
“That’s why we are calling for collaboration with the media to effectively assist the Local Organising Committee (LOC) propagate the huge benefits that will accrue to all and sundry from hosting the festival,” he said.
SEEFOR Phase II: Director Assures More Micro Projects For Rivers
The State Employment And Expenditure For Results (SEEFOR) Phase II project will cover the entire state in the execution of micro projects.
The project Director, Community Driven Development Social (CDDS) Project Implementation Unit (PIU) Ministry of Chieftaincy/Community Affairs, Rivers SEEFOR, Sir ThankGod Amaewhule said this in an interview with newsmen shortly after a thanksgiving service at the St. Barnabas Church Igwuruta
Amaewhule said the SEEFOR Phase II programme would consolidate on the achievements already made adding that more communities will be covered in the execution of micro projects while the lives of millions of Rivers people will be touched.
The project director who commended Governor Nyesom Wike for his supports to SEEFOR, also called for upgrading of the Community Driven Development Social (CDDS) to Community Social Development Agency (CSDA) to enable it tackle the challenges of rural development in the state.
He said the thanksgiving service was to thank God for His goodness to staff of the unit throughout last year as well as commit the activities of the unit to God this year.
Also speaking, the Head of Operations, CDDS Piu, Samuel Lorwell said staff of the unit would ever remain grateful to God for his protection and guidance in seeing them through last year despite security challenges in the state.
Lorwell also called for the unit to be upgraded to a full fledged development agency just as it is done in other states in the country.
Also speaking, the Head, Monitoring and Evaluation CDDS-Piu, Promise Fubara urged for the creation of a conducive environment for development to thrive in rural communities of the state.
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