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.
CAS Lauds Troops For Exceptional Performance In South-East Operation
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has lauded Nigerian Air Force (NAF) troops for exceptional performance in ongoing Joint Task Force in the South-East code-named “Operation Udo Ka II”.
Abubakar said this yesterday in Enugu during his maiden visit and tour of operational and training assets and facilities within NAF Ground Training Command (GTC), Enugu.
He noted that NAF troops had done exceptionally well and recorded series of success in the joint operation meant to keep the South-East safe and secured for all.
The CAS noted that the GTC Command was highly important to NAF as it housed the ground component (non technical component) as well as a unit of air component necessary to ensure the attainment of the mandate of NAF.
He said: “Today, we are in Enugu, which is the host of the GTC Command in our maiden visit and we are here to interact with the NAF personnel, see the facilities and infrastructure on ground.
“We are also here to encourage the personnel to continue to do the good job they had been doing before now.
“The GTC Command and the Air Training Command are key to all of our activities in NAF and the two commands ensure we have the adequate and skilled manpower for all our activities and operations.
“I am also here to strengthen our activities within Operation Udo Ka II, which Enugu is the headquarters, and see how we can achieve greater successes more than what we are having now and ensure that South-East is totally secured.”
He disclosed that 750 personnel were currently undergoing training and would be graduating between December 2023 and January, 2024.
“These training are important to us in terms of our operation; and the current number is very significant amount of manpower to be injected into our operations and other activities in the country,” he said.
On the inspection in the new GTC Command Headquarters, new 553 Base Services Group (BSG) Headquarters and BSG Annex; Abubakar said that he was quite satisfied and impressed with the pace, level and quality of work done already.
“I have taken out time to inspect the projects and asked questions about the projects and I tell you that I am satisfied with what are on ground and all our assets and facilities are well maintained and protected,” he said.
The NAF boss commended NAF officers, airmen and airwomen in GTC Command for “doing a good job and keeping the flag flying high” as well as extolled their sacrifices and commitment to duties as well.
“I am very happy for their performance. We at the NAF headquarters, we are doing all we can to make sure they have all the necessary support and equipment as well as welfare and accommodation to carry out their jobs effectively,” he said.
He assured NAF personnel of doing more by providing all necessary infrastructures to ensure the maximum working of the GTC Command.
The CAS also inaugurated a renovated airmen’s club and new Mrs Rakiya Abubakar Children’s Park as well as inspected the water treatment and reticulation system and the hospital within NAF Base, Abakpa in Enugu.
UNIBADAN Lecturer Wins Best Thesis Dollar Prize
The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos, has announced Dr Muhammad Ribadu as winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Ph.D thesis in African Studies award.
The Director of the institute, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, made the announcement in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
Ribadu, of the University of Ibadan, will be rewarded with a total of 1000 dollars, a plaque and a certificate.
Falaiye said a total of 18 entries for the 4th edition of competition were received from various universities in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa
He gave the title of the winning thesis as: The Social Context of Gentrification in Lagos State; Ph.D (Jan. 2023) Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan.
“The first runner up for this competition was Oluwaseyi Popogbe, currently a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Crawford University in Ogun.
“The title of his thesis is: Social Exclusion and Poverty in Selected Coastal Slum Areas in Lagos State; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) Department of Economics University of Lagos.
“The second runner up position went to Dr Charles Akwen, currently a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Lagos.
“Akwen’s thesis is titled: Notions of Identity in the Literary Creativity of Odia Ofeimun and Yang Mu; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) English Literature, University of Lagos,” the director stated.
He said that both the first and second runners up would be awarded plaques and certificates in recognition of their contributions and hard work.
Falaiye noted that the competition was in honour of Prof. Rahamon Bello, who was the 10th Vice Chancellor of the university, at the time the institute was inaugurated.
The prize money is usually donated every year for the award by friends of Prof. Bello.
Falaiye said that Dec, 6, had been fixed for the presentation of the awards.
The Tide source reports that the award was first presented in 2020.
States, LGs Lack Infrastructure To Manage Ecological Fund, Shun Queries – Perm Sec
The 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government councils have no structure in place to manage Ecological Fund.
The declaration was made in Abuja, yesterday, by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made the declaration at an interactive session with the House Representatives Committee on Ecological Fund.
He said since states and local governments began to share the fund with the Federal Government they had not been able to put structures in place to manage their share.
The Ecological Fund is an intervention fund by the Federal Government to address the multifarious ecological challenges in various communities in the country.
Ibrahim told the house committee that the sharing of the fund among the three tiers of government followed a court decision.
He said governors and local council chairmen never welcomed queries about how they deployed the ecological funds.
“It is a `no-go’ area,’’ he quipped.
“They don’t want to see officials of the Ecological Project Office near them; so we cannot ask them how they spend the money,’’ he added.
Ibrahim said also that all motions by the National Assembly regarding intervention on ecological project matters had been treated.
“The Ecological Project Office acts expeditiously on documents sent to it to solve problems; it looks at some of the gaps within the motion and tries to fill the gaps, and we have had more than five of such motions.
“ The Ecological Project Office does not handle funds; it only appraises projects and makes recommendations to the president,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary explained that it is the Ministry of Finance that manages the fund and the projects.
He stressed that it was a misconception that the Ecological Project Office is in charge of funds and at liberty to decide on where projects would be sited with the money in its coffers.
He said whenever there were interventions; the Ecological Project Office informed affected communities and went with the contractor to hand over the projects to the community.
This is to enable the community to take ownership of the intervention and communicate their observations to the project office.
Responding, Rep. Sani Jaji (APC-Kaura Namoda/ Birnin Magaji), chairman of the committee, said there should always be stakeholders engagement before embarking on ecological fund intervention projects.
He noted that the projects were stakeholders’ projects and failure to include the stakeholders would always lead to security breach.
“So many things happened with UNICEF’s polio vaccine rejection; but when it included stakeholders, people began to accept the vaccine.
“It is critical to involve stakeholders and ensure equity. Security cannot be the reason why you won’t execute projects in certain parts of the country.
“The perception about your office is that there is money out there; so you need to change that perception and let people know that you have limitations about the execution of projects,’’ he said.
Jaji challenged the Ecological Fund Project Office to provide the needed advice to the president to enable him to take the correct steps.
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