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US Hails Wike For End To Militancy …Says Only Nigerians Have Solution To Nation’s Problems



The United States Consul General, John Bray has commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for putting an end to militancy and also bringing pipeline vandalism to zero level in the state.
Bray also said that Rivers State would be safer and preferred destination for investors soonest, if election violence was put in check.
The Consul General stated this, yesterday, when he visited Belema Oil on the sidelines of the second edition of the two-day Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Conference of Emerging Entrepreneurs organised for super young entrepreneurs at the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), University of Port Harcourt.
Bray noted that Nigeria was going into a very serious political period in its history as the momentum for the 2019 general elections gathers steam.
He said that the months ahead would test the ability and capacity of Nigerians to overcome the many challenges that the 2019 elections may throw up.
The consul general counselled the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike to ensure free, fair, transparent and non-violent elections in the state as a veritable means of attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the state, adding that the world was waiting to see this achieved in Rivers State.
“When I was speaking with Governor Nyesom Wike last night, I said ‘if you want investors to come, let’s have free, fair, transparent and non-violent elections in Rivers State. Let the world see that’.”
Bray noted that some of the most terrible cases of election violence in the past were reported in Rivers State, adding that if this negative notion about the state changes, then investors may be willing to come back to the state to do business.
The US consul general said that by 2030, Nigeria was going to be one of the countries with the highest rate of unemployed youth based on available statistics, adding that what was important in the lives of the people of Rivers State, especially the youth and graduates was how and where to secure meaningful employment to withstand the stress of overpopulation.
He charged Nigerians to turn their challenges into opportunities that would better their lives, family members and the society at large.
Meanwhile, the United States Government has stated that only Nigerians have solutions to the avalanche of challenges confronting Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, insisting that the United States has no solution to Nigeria’s problems.
Speaking during the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) second edition of the Conference for Emerging Entrepreneurs at the Institute of Petroleum Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, yesterday, the Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate, Lagos, Darcy Zotter noted that those looking up to the United States for solution to Nigeria’s problems were missing the point, as according to her, Nigerians hold the key to all the challenges besetting the country.
She stated further that Nigeria has all its takes to have a positive and progressive future, adding that all that was required was to put the right tools, skills and ideas in place.
“As a foreigner, people always ask how do I feel about the future of Nigeria in terms of security challenges and economic down turn, among others, but we believe that with the right tools in place, Nigeria has a positive future.”
According to Zotter, “when people try to point out or remind me of the negative things about Nigeria and Nigerians, I refuse to accept or agree with them; rather I prefer the positive sides of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
She explained that the American Consulate was training emerging entrepreneurs from Nigeria because the United States sees huge potentials in Nigeria and Nigerians.
Zotter pointed out that America believes that with the right tools and skills, Nigeria has a bright future, and disclosed that the success story of the first edition of the conference held in Lagos influenced the decision to replicate the conference in Port Harcourt.
She said with the success story of last year’s training, the consulate has confidence that it could work with the right partner to successfully raise entrepreneurs.
“The United States and Nigeria have a long standing relationship and the position of American Government is to celebrate Nigeria’s economic potentials as well as amplify her potentials,” she noted.
Also speaking, the US Consul General, John Bray assured the young entrepreneurs at the two-day training programme of the support of the US Government to enable them build the networks needed to launch their businesses.
Bray also noted that there was growing evidence that entrepreneurs the world over were drivers of job growth, either by creating micro, small or medium enterprises, adding that entrepreneurs contribute to creating jobs and expanding economic opportunities.
He emphasized that since the launch of YALI in 2010, it has been investing in the next generation of African leaders in business, government and civil society.
“After being aware of the ongoing number of people in Africa, the Department of State decided to commit significant resources in order to enhance African youth’s leadership skills and bolster entrepreneurship.”
He, therefore, charged “the super young entrepreneurs to brace up to the yielding entrepreneurial trend, by dreaming big, explore, discover and to do more, adding that they were assets to Nigeria as well as stakeholders and creators of Nigeria’s future.
In his remarks, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said his government has provided conducive environment for entrepreneurial motivations in the state.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the governor said through its Microfinance Agency and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Rivers State Government was providing soft loans to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
He said the state government has also provided interest-free government-backed bank loans to 25 private medical institutions, stressing that the government was also harmonising taxes in the state to provide an enabling environment for growth and stability of enterprises.
According to him, the state government has approved a Rivjobs Project, aimed at tackling the prevalent challenges organizations face in finding quality talents to recruit, while job seekers find it difficult to get notification on job openings within the state.
The platform the governor said, would also provide online training that exposes our youth to entrepreneurial skills, stressing that government have also approved the development and launch of Rivers Creek Tech, to serve as a habitat to support tech entrepreneurship and innovation.
Earlier in her remarks, founder of the Field of Skills and Dreams VTE Academy, Ms Omawale Ogunrinde said her organisation has a verifiable success story as the academy builds businesses that support the family and communities.
She said that products of the conference have become employers of labour because entrepreneurship was all about knowing how to generate wealth and to solve problems.
The Tide reports participating 120 emerging entrepreneurs were selected from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network members across Nigeria.
The YALI Network in Nigeria has more than 150,000 registered members who have access to free online courses and events to enhance their skills and knowledge.
Resource persons at the conference include Tonye Cole of Sahara Group; Stella Okoli of Emzor Pharmaceuticals; Zizi Cardow, an award winning designer, Iyin Aboyeji of Andela, among others.


Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Rivers Electorate’ll Punish PDP National Leadership -Wike



Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says Rivers electorates will use the forthcoming election to punish the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for abandoning them during the October and November 2022 flooding incidence.
Governor Wike made the remark yesterday at the Community Secondary School in Akinima Town during the Rivers State PDP Campaign Flag-off Rally at Ahoada West Local Government Area.
The governor explained that the flooding situation was devastating in some communities of Abua/ Odual, Ahoada West and Ahoada East Local Government Areas with houses submerged, the people displaced, and their socioeconomic life disrupted.
Wike recalled that while the period lasted, the national leadership of PDP refused to visit those communities as a way of identifying with Rivers people when it mattered most.
Governor Wike emphasised that even though the PDP national leadership refused to identify with Rivers communities, they gladly visited flood impacted communities in other States, and identified with them, which can now be interpreted that they hate Rivers State.
He said in retaliation of the hatred, and the mindset that Rivers State does not matter, the electorates will use the power of their permanent voters cards (PVCs) to “pepper” the PDP national leadership in the forthcoming election.
“You had a problem, a major problem. Ahoada West, Ahoada East, Abua-Odual, had a major flooding problem. After they’ll say we are in the same party. Is there anybody from the national of our party that came to visit Ahoada West, Ahoada East, and Abua?
“But they went to other states, which means that they don’t like us. If somebody says he doesn’t like you, will you force yourself on them?”
Speaking further, Governor Wike reassured the people of Ahoada West Local Government that his administration would deliver to them a fully reconstructed Government Secondary School, Okarki.
Governor Wike told them that the contract for the project was awarded long time ago and paid for in full, but their sons who got the contract failed to deliver on schedule.
He assured that the contract would be re-awarded and completed before his tenure ends on May 29.
Governor Wike urged the people not to allow ballot box snatchers in the area to outsmart them anymore particularly, now that the elections will be conducted electronically.
He harped on the need for massive mobilisation of the people per electoral unit, so that the voters will be aware of who to cast their votes for, and to make sure that PDP wins all the election for governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly.
“What I want to advise you this time is, don’t allow those ballot box snatchers in APC to try it again. Luckily, this election is not election of snatching ballot boxes or paper. It is election that will be done electronically and transmitted electronically. All we need from you is to mobilise your people unit to unit.”
In his address, Rivers State governorship candidate of the PDP, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, noted that because of the massive development projects delivered in the area by the PDP controlled State government, the party has first right of winning the election.
Fubara, therefore, urged the people to go and collect the remainder of their PVCs at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said with the PVCs, they can confidently vote into power the PDP consolidation team that will continue to deliver to them more development projects, education infrastructure and to sustain the security experienced in the area.
Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who presented party’s flags to candidates contesting for the various elective positions, charged the people to ensure bulk delivery of winning votes to PDP.
Rivers State Deputy governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is contesting for Rivers West Senatorial District slot, spoke on behalf of the candidates and said sequel to excellent performance of Governor Wike in office, it is given that Ahoada West is faithful supporter of PDP.
She promised that when elected, they would commit to upholding the interest of their constituents and the State at large.
Before going to the campaign venue, Governor Wike had paid a courtesy visit to the Ahoada West Local Government Traditional Rulers Council under the chairmanship of Chief Moore Maclean Ubuo, the king of Engenni kingdom, to first introduce and secure royal blessings for Sir Siminialayi Fubara, as the incoming governor of the State.

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Infrastructure: NNPC invests 1.9trn In Road Construction Via Tax Credit Scheme



The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited says it is investing N1.96 trillion into road infrastructure development via its tax credit scheme intervention.
The company made this known at a meeting with the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola and other key stakeholders in Abuja, yesterday.
Mr Umar Ajiya, representative of the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, said the company was committed to funding the critical roads across the country.
The Tide source recalls that the NNPC in 2021 intervened in the first phase of the tax credit scheme with N621.24 billion to rehabilitate and increase the stock of major roads and highways.
“Clearly as you recall we have done phase 1 and funding has been steady, we are now committed to a second phase of N1.9 trillion and we are also committed to setting aside funds to fund the contractors including any necessary mobilisation that could be required.
“What is important for us is that our consultants will have to validate the value for money and the quality of work that you’ve done on this roads.
“I think that our road users alluded to the fact that they have seen extensive quality work being done on the roads that have been assigned during phase 1.
“We want the same quality to be maintained because of execution of the roads under phase 2, and speaking of execution is very important, because the funds are available and therefore there should be no excuses,” Kyari said.
Also at the meeting, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr Muhammed Nami called on the contractors not to be doubtful of their payments, assuring them that all their monies would be paid.
“I’m assuring you that we have existing and future tax capability based on the estimate received by the FIRS that will be able to provide you with enough funds as your payment are due and confirmed.
“The gains of phase 1 have been evaluated, some of the roads that we were speeding through were roads constructed over 40 years ago and to God be the glory through this executive orders they are now being fixed.
“There are generally benefits for paying taxes because globally civilisation is made possible through the taxes being paid.
“We continue to appeal to Nigerians and particularly the big tax payers to continue to trust this executive 007 so that they will continue to provide critical infrastructure that our country so dearly needed for our people to move goods and products from one location,” Nami said.
Giving a general overview of what had been achieved with the Phase I of the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme, Mr Kuti Adedamola, Director Highway, FMWH said the tax credit scheme had done a lot in the construction and rehabilitation of some major roads across the country.
Adedamola said part of the roads worked on are the dualisation of the Suleja-Minna road, dualisation of Jebba-Mokwa Bokani road. Also Junction road on Kwara and Niger state among others.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on his part said the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari had taken practical steps to increase the stock of infrastructure ‘without infrastructure you can’t grow the economy’.
Fashola said that when this administration came into power what was budgeted for infrastructure was N18 billion but that the present government increased this to N260 billion.
The Minister said even if the government had gone into borrowing to build the infrastructure it was leaving behind a stock of assets in ports, railways, bridges and roads which had impacted positively on the prosperity and economy of the people.
He said the government had gone into other pragmatic models like private sector partnership, SUKUK funds and then the tax credit by the NNPC.
“The debts are building roads and bridges, of which the Lagos-Ibadan road and the Second Niger Bridge are part. And it shows a clear difference between two governments.
“There are 44 roads, many of them are contracted but not funded, but now funding is place. There is sustainability for the completion of these roads even if this government is no longer there.”
Fashola, however, appealed to all communities obstructing the right of way of government, insisting that government would not pay right of way to communities encroaching into the rights of way of the constructions.
Speaking also at the occasion, Mr Lucky Osesua, Chairman, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) while commending the NNPC for its intervention called on government to pay urgent attention to some critical roads which he said are in bad states.
The roads according to him, included Benin- Sapele, Okene Auchi-Okpela road, Obigbo-Aba, Ogoja- Itu road and failed sections of Mokwa-Makera-Tegina-Kaduna border in Niger state adding that an enabling road would enhance the unions performance.

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UBA Appoints Bawuah As First Female CEO For Africa Operations …Announces Six Other Executive Appointments …As Oni Retires From Group Board



The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Africa’s Global Bank, has today, announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Africa.

Bawuah will also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.

UBA operates in 19 African countries beyond Nigeria, in addition to global operations in New York, London, Paris and the UAE.

Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, is the first female CEO of UBA Africa.

Her appointment further demonstrates UBA’s commitment to diversity.

The UBA Group Board now includes eight female Directors.

Prior to her appointment, Bawuah was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

She previously held the role of CEO, UBA Ghana.

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman Mr Tony O. Elumelu said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade.

She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement.

It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

The UBA Group also announced the following executive roles:

Chris Ofikulu becomes the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa.

Ofikulu, who has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.

Uzoechina Molokwu will take on the role as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals.

He was previously the Executive Director, Business Development – UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years banking experience.

Ayokunle Olajubu will be the Managing Director/CEO UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals.

He currently drives compliance across Africa subsidiaries andcomes with 30 years banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries,including Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.

Theresa Henshaw has been appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatoryapprovals.

She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, will be the Deputy CEO in UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals.

Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer.

Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.

In addition to the executive appointments, UBA has announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the Board following the expiration of his tenure.

He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

The Group Chairman, Mr Tony Elumelu expressed his appreciation to High Chief Oni, for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group and on behalf of the Board, wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.

Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, United Bank for Africa provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

UBA is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees group wide and serving over 37million customers globally.

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