PH Agog As NBA Holds 61st Annual Confab …Over 14, 514 Lawyers Storm Garden City …Eight-Day Event Features 50 Speakers, 28 Sessions
As the 61st edition of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual conference continues in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital has been agog with various activities, including economic, social, among others, taking the centre-stage.
The conference, which commenced on October 22, at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, with the theme, “Taking The Lead”, will end on October 29, with more than 50 subject matter speakers in over 28 sessions.
Lined up to make the conference memorable are various sports activities, including football, table tennis, golf, chess, and scrabble; and social events that include networking, dinners, cocktails, photo booth, live band, comedy, dance performances, presentation of trophies and prizes to winners of various sporting competitions, and awards presentation to distinguished persons both in the profession and other vocations and careers.
The Tide gathered that inter branch football competition began last Saturday and would end on October 28, just as Juma’at Service held last Friday at Rivers State Central Mosque, Niger Street, to herald the commencement of the conference, with health talk at Real Madrid Football Academy on Saturday, and multidenominational thanksgiving service at Christ Church Interdenominational, Forces Avenue, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Tide learnt that the official opening ceremonies would hold, today, at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, leading top echelon of the Judiciary in Nigeria to attend, while many state governors, state and federal lawmakers, politicians, captains of industry, ministers, and law professional across Africa and the globe, would participate and or headline the epoch-making NBAAGC21.
Already, business activities are booming in all sectors in the state capital, with hotels, transport companies and commercial transport operators, airlines, and small businesses making brisk turnovers, as the more than 14, 514 participants relish the opportunities the state offers.
A visit to the venue of the event revealed a beehive of business activities around the entire circumference of the stadium, including the adjoining Real Madrid Academy, the two State School premises nearby, and other hitherto empty spaces around the stadium have been converted to a sprawling economic and social epicentre for commerce and networking, with thousands of people buying and selling all manner of goods and services.
The Tide further noticed high level of security presence at strategic locations to provide adequate security around the area, with the operatives of the police, Department of State Service (DSS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), among others, deployed to perform assigned duties in line with their legitimate mandates.
Also, heavy vehicular movement was witnessed on the various intersections and roads leading in and out of the stadium, particularly the Rumuomai-Elekahia and Ken Saro-Wiwa (Stadium) roads.
The Tide also discovered that virtually all hotels in and around Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas have been fully booked for the conference, showing a bustling boom in the hospitality industry.
The airlines and inter-city transport companies are not left out, as virtually all seats in planes flying into Port Harcourt International Airport and vehicles coming into Port Harcourt from major cities of Abuja, Lagos, and 34 other cities across Nigeria had been sold out from Saturday through today.
Social life has witnessed tremendous make-over with many eateries, restaurants, cinemas, clubs, recreational centres, sports facilities entertaining customers and visitors to full capacity.
In a statement, the former National Welfare Secretary of the NBA, Adesina Adegbite, welcomed members of the association to the 61st Annual General Conference (AGC), and commended the leadership of the NBA for the choice of the topic and for taking a lead in capacity building.
He said, “With great delight, I welcome all distinguished delegates to this year’s NBA Annual General Conference holding in Port Harcourt, which commenced on Friday, October 22, 2021.
“This year’s Theme: ‘Taking the Lead’ is quite apt and ripe for discussions and evaluation at this present time where it is demanding on legal practitioners to lead by example and be at the frontline of leadership.
“I must commend the present executives of our dear association for taking the lead in various spheres, especially in the area of capacity building for members of the association.”
Adegbite also commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for what he described as “sterling performance” in infrastructural development which has made it possible to host the AGC.
“I must also salute the very dynamic Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike (Life Bencher), for his sterling performance resulting in the unprecedented infrastructural development projects in the state, which has made it possible for Port Harcourt to host the largest gathering of lawyers anywhere in the world.
“I look forward to the exhilarating activities, the intellectual discussions and impactful experience yet to unfold during the conference. I encourage us all to prepare to learn, network and have fun and most importantly take the lead and leave a positive impact on others,” he said.
Also, the African Women Lawyers’ Association (AWLA) hailed the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on its 2021 Conference.
In a statement, the President of AWLA, Mandy Demechi-Asagba said: “We at African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) felicitate with the President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, and the entire members of the Nigerian Bar Association on its Annual General Conference 2021 with the theme “TAKING THE LEAD”. The theme is apt and in season – a wake-up call to SAVE our dear country from denigration and disintegration.
“We wish all conferees a very successful, impactful, peaceful, safe and memorable conference!
“We also wish you all journey mercies and divine protection as you journey to and fro.
“We seize this opportunity to appreciate our amiable, gracious and hospitable host, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who is poised to make our experience in Rivers State memorable.”
Similarly, Chairman of the Port Harcourt branch, Prince Nyekwere, expressed the branch’s readiness to receive the delegates and make all activities lined up for the event memorable for members.
“In terms of security, I don’t have any problem at all with Port Harcourt,” Nyekwere added.
The Chairman of the Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP), Mr. Omubo Frank Briggs, said the programme of activities was put together with the interest of all members and the government and people of the state at heart.
He assured that everything has been put in place to make the events seamless and hitch-free, saying that the NBA would come out of the conference taking the lead in all fronts towards making the nation better.
We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.
… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.
Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari
President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.