The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has lauded the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu for his show of friendship and brotherhood at a time his family was grieving over the loss of their uncle.
The governor spoke, yesterday, during a condolence visit by the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu at the Government House, Port Harcourt over the passage of his uncle, late Chief Charles Wike.
He said: “Indeed, what you have done today shows friendship and brotherhood. It shows that what affects us, affects you. I will never forget this, and I will continue to reciprocate.”
Wike noted that the condolence visit by the Abia State governor has strengthened and encouraged his family to bear the irreparable loss.
He said: “Having died, we believe that he has gone to be with his Creator. With your coming, we are strengthened to continue with life and his own principles.
“The way he lived and kept our community is very key. I thank you on behalf of my family for coming to commiserate with us at this point.”
While thanking the Abia State governor for the visit, Wike noted that his uncle played very positive roles in the development of his community.
“My uncle was the immediate younger brother to my father. He was the traditional ruler of my community.
“He was the one most of us relied on for the history of our area. We know that one day; there will be an end to life. Nobody will live forever. But we didn’t expect him to go at this time.
“For those of us who are Christians, what has happened has happened. What is important is that you go to meet your Creator. Most of us relied on my uncle in terms of education. He was a historian. He did his own best, but as it pleased God, this happened. There is nothing anyone can do,” he said.
In his remarks, the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu said that he was at the Government House, Port Harcourt to commiserate with Governor Wike over the passage of his uncle.
He said: “I have brought warm felicitation and greetings from the good people of Abia State. On behalf of the people of Abia State, we have come this morning to commiserate with our brother and friend, who lost a very close person to him.
“It is traditional and cultural for our people to reach out to one of our own whenever events like this occur.”
He said that the late uncle of Governor Wike lived a good life and has gone to be with his Creator.
“It happens. He lived a good life and he has gone the way of his forefathers. When it happens like this, it brings a lot of pain to us, but it is harvest time for God.
“In the first place, God gave him to us. Now that he is no more, we are confident that he has gone to be with his Maker. I ask his household to bear the loss with fortitude, and pray that God will grant the immediate family and friends, the energy to fill this vacuum,” he said.
Similarly, the Rivers State leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has commiserated with Governor Nyesom Wike over the death of his uncle, Chief Charles Wike, saying it was saddened at the news of his demise.
The state PDP Chairman, Bro Felix Obuah, in a statement issued by his media aide, Jerry Needam, in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said that the party was aggrieved the more, knowing the close relationship that existed between the governor and his late uncle.
The party said it was, however, consoled because Governor Wike did all within his ability to give meaning to the strong bond between him and his uncle while he lived.
Obuah expressed the hope that Wike, being a strong believer in God, will see his uncle’s death as the will of his Creator, and would continue to carry out his official duties with the usual composure and emotional stability which he is known for.
The statement reads, “While we whole-heartedly identify with His Excellency in his moment of grief as our leader and big brother, we also make bold to say that his well-cherished uncle did not die in vain, having contributed in raising one of the most courageous leaders and defender of democracy Nigeria has ever had in the person of Governor Nyesom Wike.”
The state PDP also condoled with the entire Wike family, government and entire Rivers people, enjoining all to take solace in the good works and worthy legacies left behind by late Chief Charles Wike.
“May the good Lord grant the soul of the deceased peaceful rest and to his numerous relations, the fortitude to bear the huge loss”, the statement added.
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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