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We Must Keep Praying For Nigeria -Jonathan, Wike …Celebrate Dr John Kennedy Opara At 50

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The former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, urged citizens to keep praying for the country despite the challenges of the present time.
Both leaders, who spoke at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Umuopara, Nguru in the Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, during a service marking the 50th birthday anniversary of a former Chairman of Nigeria Pilgrims Commission, Dr John Kennedy Opara, urged the citizens to keep praying for Nigeria.
Jonathan specifically described the celebrant as his friend, who believes in the indivisibility of the country.
The former president said that Opara had devoted his life working for the advancement of Nigeria.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike had joined other prominent Nigerians to celebrate Dr John Kennedy Opara as he celebrated his 50th Birthday.
The former executive secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission and his wife also dedicated their twins as part of the celebration.
The 50th Birthday/Child Dedication of the former Executive Secretary, National Christian Pilgrims Commission, Dr. John Kennedy Opara, took place at St Mary’s Catholic Parish, Umuopara Obetiti Nguru, Aboh Mbaise LGA Imo State, yesterday.
Speaking further, Jonathan said that John Kennedy Opara was an asset to the country, adding that the former Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission executive secretary was a dependable ally, with immense capacity for public relations.
He said that Opara has cultivated friendship across all the strata of the society to the extent that even those who hate him are not his enemies.
Jonathan said that John Kennedy Opara played a key role in the formal establishment of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, explaining that it was on the premise that he nominated Opara to Yar’Adua for appointment as executive secretary.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike described the celebrant as a man of character.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Engr Chukwuemeka Woke, Wike said: “John Kennedy Opara is a dependable person and a man of character. During the last elections, so many people deserted the state due to Federal Might, but John Kennedy Opara stood by us.
“At our very darkest moments, he was there. He is a man you can call a friend. That is why the Rivers State governor is represented here. He is very loyal, sociable and all a man of character.”
Also, the Anglican Primate of Nigeria, Bishop Nicolas Okoh, said that the clergy had a duty of praying for the country.
In a remark, former Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Dr John Kennedy Opara thanked God for his blessing and protection, saying that his friendship with Wike will continue to blossom, noting that the governor is a great man.
The Birthday/Child Dedication attracted prominent Nigerians from all walks of life.

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State Of The Nation: PDP Takes Protest To Foreign Embassies …Insists Buhari, APC Threat To Democracy

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For the second time in the past three weeks, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, took its protest to the embassies of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and France, condemning among other things, what it termed, threat to democracy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The protest, which took off from the party’s National Presidential Campaign Headquarters, Maitama, Abuja, attracted key members of the National Working Committee (NWC), led by National Secretary of the party, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri.
At the European Union Embassy, Tsauri, who stood in for the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, flayed the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for allegedly constituting itself a clog in the wheel of the nation’s electoral progress since it first assumed office in 2015.
In a petition submitted by its leadership, yesterday, the party urged the international community to press on the government of President Buhari to preserve democratic institutions in the land at all cost even as they reminded them that most of their reports on election observations in the country recently showed in decline in the preservation of democratic ethos.
Addressing newsmen after the submission of the petition at the European Union, Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party, Senator Suleiman Nazif, expressed the party’s dissatisfaction at what he called the takeover of the Judiciary and the judicial arms of government by the APC-led government.
He said, “We are not happy, we are not satisfied with the way democracy is being run in Nigeria. We have come here to complain because we have realized that the National Assembly is being intimidated by the Executive.
“The Judiciary is being arm-twisted, the rule of law has become a mockery and we thought it wise to come and lay our complaint because they no longer listen to anybody and that is why the PDP decided to reach out to the international community to lay complaint with respect to the electoral act that has not been accented to up till now.
“You are aware of the systematic collapse in our electoral processes, the way elections are being conducted. In Kogi, we saw what transpired in the last election. Nigerians have seen for themselves what the opposition party is going through.
“We saw what happened in Bayelsa, we saw what happened in Imo with respect to the Supreme Court judgement and we are calling for a review of that judgement and we believe that with the amount of pressure from intentional organisations, I think the right thing would be done”.
On his part, Tsauri said, “Democracy is being derailed in this country. Democracy in Nigeria has been built on five pillars: the media, the electoral empire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agents, the Judiciary, and the international community. These are the pillars that support democracy in Nigeria. If one of these pillars collapses, democracy will derail on that side.
“Out of the five, only two are left. The electoral umpire is compromised, you all know it. Security agents are part and parcel of APC government. Judiciary is being threatened and nobody has any confidence in the Judiciary again.
“The only one that is now left is the media and the international community. The international community, any where there is going to election, they go and monitor. They bring in their reports and most of these reports are negative.
“This is why we came to the international community to tell them that this is the expectations of Nigerians from them and we want them to do exactly what is expected of them to do.
“In Nigeria today, if you talk about security, it is zero. When Buhari came into government, he said that he was going to fight corruption, he was going to intensify effort on the economy and then security but none is working now. This government does not listen to any voice except the international community. That is why we are here”.
However, the officials of the three embassies failed to make statements after receiving the part’s petition.
Also, in the protest march were the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, National Woman Leader, Hajia Maryam Waziri and the National Youth Leader, Hon. Stanley Udeh-Okoye, amongst others.

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RSG Begins E-Registration Of Businesses …As Nsirim Heads C’ttee On Investment Promotion

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The Rivers State Ease of Doing Business Council headed by the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has taken far reaching decisions to give impetus to the mandate given to the council by the State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said that with effect from yesterday, an e-Registration Platform for all businesses in Rivers State has been put in place to ensure that all businesses in the state come under one database.
According to him, a help desk has also been established in the office of the deputy governor in line with the decision.
He further disclosed that the Ease of Doing Business Council also set up an Investment Promotion Committee headed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim.
Other members of the committee include, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Nwankpa, Chairman, House Committee on Commerce and Industry, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Ezu Chibudhom, and President, Nigerian Entrepreneur and Investment Forum, Engr. Dozie Abajue.

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2021 AFCON: NFF Moves S’Eagles’ Games From Benin

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After several weeks of speculations, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), May have shelved the idea of playing Super Eagles first international match of the year at the refurbished Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, Edo State.
The refurbished stadium with a sitting capacity of 19,500 stands as one of the best in the country today and is equipped with modern facilities.
The venue was due to be formally opened with the Super Eagles’ Day-four match of the ongoing AFCON 2021 qualifying round clash with Sierra Leone on the 22nd of March, 2020.
However, it has been confirmed from a top official of the Glass House in Abuja that the ancient city of Benin which last staged Super Eagles match in 2011 against Boswana which ended goalless with Late Stephen Okechukwu Keshi in charge of his first match as gaffer, may have to wait for another time.
“We have a strong bond with Edo State Government and this explained why we’ve had many events in Benin lately but due to some reasons, this important match against Sierra Leone will not hold in the new stadium,” the top official told our source in a telephone chat last night.
With Benin no longer in sight, the NFF is looking in the direction of either the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State or Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Both stadiums hosted Super Eagles’ matches in the past. Uyo Stadium in particular was were Eagles secured their qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia
The Asaba ground became new home to the Super Eagles lately following the massive support the team enjoy from Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Delta bankrolled the sent forth match for the Super Eagles to the last AFCON tournament in Egypt where they claimed the bronze medal.
Although no clear reason was given for why NFF decided to move the Sierra Leone game from the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, our checks revealed that it may have something to do with the forth coming National Sports Festival (NSF) which the state will host next month to early April.
Physical infrastructure needed for the games are being completed at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium with base for the track being laid, as the football pitch is ready. Work at the tennis section is completed, while the swimming pools are being furnished.
Organisers of the festival have scheduled the football events at other designated venues leaving the edify to stage only track and field events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
With the Uyo and Asaba as options for Eagles, NFF has at least two weeks to communicate the new venue to CAF as well as the visiting team in accordance with the tournament rules and regulations

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