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2011: Nigerians Abroad ’ll Vote –INEC

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Representative of Nigeria’s Acting President, Chief J.Turner (right) and Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, perusing a document, at the funeral service in honour of late Rivers State Commissioner for Employment Generation and Empowerment, Hon Moses Ahubele, at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Abarikpo, Rivers State, last Saturday

Representative of Nigeria’s Acting President, Chief J.Turner (right) and Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, perusing a document, at the funeral service in honour of late Rivers State Commissioner for Employment Generation and Empowerment, Hon Moses Ahubele, at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Abarikpo, Rivers State, last Saturday

Ahead 2011 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to conduct pilot “Diaspora voting’’ in four countries to enable Nigerians living abroad to have the opportunity of participating in Nigeria’s electoral process.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu, disclosed this in Abuja last Saturday while addressing stakeholders on the electoral process.

He said that the commission had concluded plans to conduct elections in four English-speaking countries, including Britain and the United State of America.

“On Diaspora voting, all we need to do is to amend Section 77(2) of the constitution just to remove one clause that says only Nigerians resident in Nigeria can register for an election, not even vote. If we do that, that would be okay.

“We chose Britain and others for the pilot project because these are countries where we have many Nigerians and there would be no language problems,’’ Iwu said.

Responding to the move, Rep. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Diaspora Affairs, said that the decision was apt because of the contributions of Nigerians living abroad to the country’s development.

Dabiri-Erewa said that with an annual remittance of 11 billion U.S. dollars, Nigerians in the Diaspora were capable of mobilising substantial investments and development capital for Nigeria.

She said that the committee was sponsoring the Diaspora Commission Bill, with a view to unleashing the force of technological, socio-political, scientific and innovative power in Nigeria through the mobilisation of the intellectual and creative energies of Nigerian professionals overseas.

Dabiri-Erewa noted that 15 countries had full Diaspora ministries dedicated solely to Diaspora affairs, while about 10 countries had Diaspora institutions dealing with Diaspora matters.

She stressed the need for a central organisation that would deal with all matters concerning the best Diaspora practices, while coordinating Diaspora programmes in a systematic manner.

“Right now in Nigeria, the various departments and agencies dealing with Diaspora issues are fragmented. Therefore, it is desirable to have a central body where Diaspora issues can be systematically and adequately addressed,’’ she said.

The bill, sponsored by Dabiri-Erewa and 16 other lawmakers, has seven clauses, 23 sections and has gone through the second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill seeks to establish Nigerians in Diaspora (Establishment) Commission, while facilitating the engagement of Nigerians living abroad in the policies, programmes and projects aimed at engendering Nigeria’s development.

The bill also intends to pool the human capital and material resources of Nigerians living abroad and use them for the socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria.

More than 17.5 million Nigerians are currently living abroad, with over three million of them residing in the United States of America.

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Our Legacy’ll Leave Lasting Impression On Rivers People -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that his administration will collaborate and continue to consult widely in delivering a liberated State experiencing enduring peace.
Fubara said, in doing so, he would not operate as a dictator but as a member of a team that has the best interest of the State at heart and determined to leave a lasting legacy that can be celebrated.
The governor spoke during the formal presentation of Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office to the Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, King Ateke Michael Tom, as first class tradition ruler, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Fubara stated that, during the Sixth State Executive Council meeting, N80.8billion was approved with 50 percent contract value paid already as the Government awarded the construction of the Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road.
He said the project will be funded from the savings from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to underscore his administration’s prudence without also borrowing to complete the project.
“We are at a crossroad in our State where we all need to stand for what is right. It happens once in a life time. So, for now, be one of those people that will be in the course to liberate and free our dear State.
“And I know strongly that having the support of a peace-loving Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, having the support of the wonderful Council of Chiefs, having the support of the great people of Rivers State, we will bring peace in our State. We will do those things that are right to develop our State.
“We will continue to consult. We will not act as dictators. We will act as people who know that one day, we will leave, and when we leave, the way we have acted will speak for us. We will not force people to talk good about us. Our legacy will be a signature for how we led”, the governor said.
Fubara explained that he acted within the ambit of the law to upgrade the traditional stool upon which King Ateke Tom sits in recognition of his efforts in promoting peace in Okrika, and indeed, the State, and urged him to continue to do justice to everyone.
In his speech, Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Hon Charles Amadi, congratulated King Ateke Tom for being formally presented with the Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office as first class traditional ruler.
Also speaking, former Transport Minister, Chief Abiye Sekibo, thanked the governor for fulfilling his promise of upgrading the traditional stool of Okochiri Kingdom, and pledged the support of Kirike Se people to his administration.

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We’re Determined To Leave Legacy Of Quality Education -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has promised to give the best attention to the education sector so that standard and quality learning will never be compromised in the State.
The governor emphasised that in achieving such legacy, schools in the State will be driven with a curriculum that will equip school-aged children to become competitive, innovative and self-reliant.
Governor Fubara made the assertion while inaugurating the Governing Council of Rivers State University at Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said: “There is a lot of noise everywhere: people asking what we are doing; that we are not focused, and that we don’t have direction.
”But I want to tell the world that we are focused and aware that we cannot grow if our energies are not channeled to education. Not just education, but purposeful education.
”Education that is creative. Education that gives you independence. We have left the era in the world when you speak too much grammar. We are in such times when it is what you can do with your hands.
”Our purpose for education is that we should bring back our academic programmes to where, at the end of your studies, you don’t need a job but you create jobs. When one creates a job, you automatically employ others. That is what I want this council to see as their task.”
Governor Fubara noted the non-existence of public secondary schools for the male child in the Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
He said such negligence leaves children in that area who have completed primary education, and whose parents cannot afford sending them to far away secondary schools, to roam the streets, and therefore becoming willing tools for criminality.
Governor Fubara assured that such fundamental problem will be addressed by his administration as a measure to curb the negative impression associated with Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
The governor said he trusts in the capacity of the members of the Governing Council of Rivers State University to bring about positive change in the institution while also contributing their quota to improving the general education standard in the State.
”I charge you, not just in terms of administering the affairs of the university, but let us add something different from the normal things that we already have to see new things.”
In her response, on behalf of the other members, the Pro-Chancellor of the Governing Council of Rivers State University, Justice Mary Odili (rtd), thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve in such capacity.
Justice Odili assured they will work assiduously as a team to solve the problems that agitate the mind of the governor and ensure their contributions form part of the legacy that will be bequeathed by his administration.
The members included Justice Mary Odili (rtd) as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council with Barrister Mela Oforibika and Chukwuma Chinwo, Esq.
Others were Adata Bio-Briggs, Esq., Dr. Jonathan Nimi Hart, Ngo Martins-Yellowe, Dr. Nancy Nwankwo, Dr. Igoni William-Park, and Mr. Ogbugbu Barisua.

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Fubara, Others Eulogise Rivers First Lady’s Mother

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, his Deputy, Prof Ngozi Odu, and key stakeholders of the State on Wednesday paid glowing tributes at the Service of Songs held in honour of late Mrs Adeline Jaja, mother of the wife of the Governor, Lady Valerie Fubara, at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the event, Governor Fubara described his late mother-in-law as a great and visionary woman who lived on truth and conviction in what she believes.
“Mama was a great woman. She wasn’t a materialistic person. When she believes in you, she’ll be all out for you. She stood for me. I feel pained that, like my own mother, she left at this moment.
”Mama believed so much in God, and the wonders of God. I thank everyone, particularly the Church. On behalf of the bereaved family, we will support the Church to immortalise her name,” the Governor said.
In his homily, Vicar of the Church, Ven. A. A. Ijon-Ama, who spoke on the gains of death, said physical departure from earth was not an ultimate end but an opening for higher and permanent gain and perfection.
He pointed out that when a man has a good relationship with God, he stands to gain more in death.
Ven. Ijon-Ama described late Mrs. Adeline Jaja as a devout Christian, who exuded deep sense of hospitality, and endowed with accommodating spirit, noting that she will be greatly missed by all.
The Vicar, who prayed for the repose of the soul of Mrs Adeline Jaja, also solicited for Divine fortitude for the family to bear the great loss, and called for the immortalisation of the deceased to keep her good legacies alive.
Some family members, who spoke at the Service of Songs, extolled the virtues of the deceased, describing her as “a great community leader, counsellor, peace maker, and caring mother, who provided for the needy, and participated actively in Church activities.
Highlights of the event were special prayers for the bereaved family, conducted by the Anglican Bishop of Evo Diocese, Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu; remarks by key family members, choir ministration, among others.

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