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I’ll Replicate Wike’s Giant Strides In ONELGA – Job

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Only few public men entrusted with the responsibility of grassroots development at austere and critical times as these exhude implicit confidence in their onerous assignment. One of such men is Hon Vincent Nwaobakata Job, the Executive Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A veteran task master and politician with Midas touch, Job, at a recent parley with select media executives in his office at Omoku, dwelt extensively on his administration’s modest achievements, vowing to replicate Governor Nyesom Wike’s developmental strides in ONELGA within limits of available resources.
The Tide’s Group News Editor, Victor Tew was there.
Excerpts:
How has it been since you assumed office?
We have tried our best to ensure that we give the much-needed democracy dividends to the people of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) since we assumed office.
Again, what I do is ensure that there is continuity in the execution of projects and also embarking on some new ones that have direct bearing on the people.
We have done quite enough in the areas of security, education, infrastructural development and other social services.
Can we take them item by item beginning from social services which encompass health, education, etc?
When we came on board, we kept our promise to the people to place premium on education. For instance, one Miss Favour who scored the highest marks in the last JAMB UTME has been awarded scholarship to study in any university of her choice.
We also gave a boy from Okwuzi, Egbema, currently in JSS, scholarship to finish his secondary education.
We have also embarked on many educational programmes including the flag-off of an adult literacy programme.
Are there plans for students in tertiary institutions in terms of bursary payment and all that?
For now we have not started doing that. However, my team and I will have to sit down and do a census of prospective beneficiaries to ascertain if they are truly from ONELGA before embarking on bursary payment based on availability of fund.
Is there any effort by your council to carry out needs assessment in schools in the area, especially against the backdrop of the fact that some schools in ONELGA urgently require rehabilitation?
The council’s education supervisor has put up some proposals in that regard and we are looking into it. He has been detailed to ascertain the nature of intervention we can make in both primary and secondary schools with a view to ensuring that dilapidated buildings are rehabilitated, and desks procured for pupils and students to ensure conducive learning atmosphere. We will ensure a conducive learning environment for our students at all times to enable them grasp what is being inculcated in them in the school.
ONELGA has been a flashpoint of insecurity in the recent past. Have you made any deliberate effort to re-jig the security architecture of the area?
As a council, we have made tremendous efforts at securing lives and property of our indigenes and residents in keeping with our promise when we came on board. We procured two Hilux vans and a Sienna bus for the routine patrol of our porous borders with Imo, Bayelsa and Delta States.
We have modernized the security architecture of the local government area. Even, the remodeling of the security gate house of our council secretariat complex is in progress.
We have done and still doing everything humanly possible to sustain the existing peace in the area for which everyone can comfortably sleep with his or her two eyes closed, courtesy of the Police, OSPAC, Vigilante and the Civilian JTF.
How are you engaging the youth who hitherto involved themselves in cultism and other anti-social activities especially now that youth associations in the state are being profiled to ensure peace in local government areas?
As a council, we are partnering with the state government in terms of profiling youth associations to ensure that there is peace. And we have enjoined youths engaged in violence and anti-social activities in ONELGA to refrain from such activities or risk unpleasant consequences.
It is when there is peace and security that you can build infrastructure and whatever and create job opportunities for the people.
We are partnering with the state government to ensure the securities of lives and property.
To what extent has your council gone in empowering the youth?
We have engaged over 4,000 youths in various skills acquisition programmes in conjunction with Afrinet, a non-governmental organization and Bank of Agriculture (BOA)
Afrinet recommends the diligent trainees that can access up to One Million Naira to start their own businesses or improve and expand on their existing businesses.
The skills acquisition programme is spread across the six zones of ONELGA. The last lap of the training is ongoing at Ndoni.
We have done enough on skills acquisition. Beneficiaries are being trained in welding, fabrication, catering, fashion and designing and several other skills.
What about agriculture? What his your council done for farmers to ensure food security, particularly in providing soft loans to them?
The council has not provided them soft loans yet. But we intend to do that. For now, we are partnering with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide some agricultural tools like cassava stems, fertilizers, rice producing tools, among others.
Distribution of the items is ongoing now through the councilors for easy collection.
Do you think it is better to use councilors to reach out to prospective beneficiaries without politics being brought into it?
Yes, so that impersonators will not hijack the process and cart away the items.
Don’t you think that councilors might toe partisan line in determining who benefits, thereby defeating the very objective of the laudable initiative?
No, it is not true. Before now, the leadership of the communities were involved and those concerned have been given certificate which they will present at the point of collection.
What we did by giving it to councilors is for easy collection. For instance, if you are from Ndoni, the Ndoni councilor will pick it up and take it to that place. On presentation of that certificate, the councilor will then give to the already prequalified beneficiaries who will be identified and items handed over to them.
It is common knowledge that bad roads militate against rural farming. Are there plans to grade or construct feeder roads to enable farmers convey their produce home and to the market?
Yes, there are plans to grade feeder roads to enable farmers convey their produce convemently. And since we are anticipating heaving flooding based on NIMET forecast, we are partnering NEMA by giving them the flashpoints that are prone to flooding.
Local governments can’t build roads, but we can rather grade feeder roads to enable farmers bring home their produce.
Any liaison with the IOCs to build roads?
Yes, we have plans to partner IOCs on road construction and other infrastructural development in ONELGA. But NLNG in particular is not helping matters for now. But we will continue to appeal to them to partner with us in the development of our area.
Have you ever engaged them in any kind of discussion?
We have engaged them through letters but we have not met them face-to-face. They have not been able to come to meet with us.
Back to security. How is your council addressing the menace of herdsmen who have forcefully occupied farmlands grazing their cattle on cultivated farms with its attendant damages and losses to the farmers?
The clash between herders and farmers is a national issue. About three weeks ago, Usomini women from Obrikom, Obiye, Obor, Okpurukpuali and Ebogoro communities came protesting. Women from Igburu communities of Obigwe, Ogbidi, Okposi and even kreigeni (from Usomini axis) also came protesting against the menace of the cattle herders. We are appealing to the state and federal government to check the harders-farmers clash. Thank goodness, the state governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has since assented to the Anti-Open Grazing Bill passed by the state legislature, making it illegal for anyone to embark on open grazing of cows across the state. We are appealing to the state government to strictly enforce the law so that both the farmer and the herder who obtained loan for their business would not infringe on each other right.
To what extent has the people, particularly the herders and farmers, been sensitized on the existence of the Anti-Open Grazing Law?
Actually, we have called several meetings with those in the business. Only recently we met with the leaders of the herders and farmers from various zones, and warned the herders against bringing their cattle to the main road or to the farm to destroy the crops of our people. We have also tasked the security agencies on the situation.
What effort is your council making on Sanitation and waste management in the area?
When we came on board, we made sanitation one of our topmost priorities. We have ensured that people stop indiscriminate dumping of refuse which was the ugly practice in Omoku before we assumed office. We have built 10 receptacles at designated locations where refuse are now being dumped for subsequent evacuation by refuse disposal trucks. Also we have been sensitizing the public through jingles which are aired on our local radio station, the Onelga Radio 107.1 FM and other radio stations in the state. We have also appealed to Omoku residents to always desilt their gutters to rid the community of mosquitoes and their harmful effects.
What have been your challenges so far?
Our major challenge has been finance we want more money to enable deliver democracy dividends to our people.
Are you suggesting that the allocation to local governments be reviewed upward?
Yes, we are appealing to the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to do an upward review of revenue allocation to local government, more so as local governments are closer to the people.
What are you doing about your internally generated revenue?
We are doing our best. We have our revenue rejuvenation committee currently working out an improved revenue generation mechanism for the council. We are hopeful that by January 2022, our IGR will improve tremendously.
Sad to say that the IOCs and other corporate organization operating here are not meeting their obligations as and when due. However, we have been engaging them constructively to ensure that they partner with us to develop ONELGA.
What message do you have for the people of ONELGA?
I solicit the support, cooperation and understanding of our people given the fact that Governor Wike had, at our inauguration, given us a template for a purposeful and transparent grassroots governance. What this means is that we shall work assiduously to satisfy the yearnings and expectations of our people as no government in the world can enjoy the blessings of legitimacy and support amid the dearth of basic needs of life.
In other words, I shall, within limits of available resources, replicate Governor Wike’s vision and giant strides in ONELGA.

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One Year Not Enough To Judge Tinubu -Kukah

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The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese and Founder of the Kukah Centre, Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah, has been reported to have visited President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Addressing State House correspondents shortly after meeting with the president at the Presidential Villa, the cleric said one year was not enough to pass judgement on President Tinubu’s government.
Bishop Kukah said while the administration was providing solutions to the myriad of challenges, Nigerians need to get a sense of how soon they expect to breathe a sigh of relief.
He, however, said that the government needs to communicate to Nigerians when it will fix the current socio- economic challenges in the country.
According to him, Nigerians were in various levels of pains.
“I’m sure that many people will tell you that one year is not enough to make a judgement. However, from where we all stand, we know that we are all in a very difficult situation.
“Nigerians are in various levels of pain and they are pains that are unintended. But, they are as a result of certain policy decisions that hopefully, with time, can be amended in order to serve the welfare of ordinary people,” Bishop Kukah explained.
He said it is the responsibility of the government to ensure better living conditions and security of the citizens.
“I believe that the essence of government is to guarantee the welfare and security of ordinary citizens. I believe that the times that we are in are very very difficult times, and nobody should be under any illusion.
“But, there are also times for renewal. We just need to commit ourselves to the fact that building a good society takes a lot of time.
“This is politics. I’m very hopeful, we ordinary people cry more than the bereaved. The important thing is that politicians will fix their problems”, he added.
“Rivers State is a place that is very dear to me because I have been associating with them for a very long time. But, look, when politicians fight, don’t get carried away because they have their capacity to fix their quarrels.
“I hope and pray that Rivers State will sooner than later reposition itself because it is not an insignificant part of Nigeria,” he said.

 

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One Year In Office: Unity Road Stakeholders Laud Fubara Over Andoni Section Commissioning 

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Some stakeholders in Andoni Local Government Area have lauded Governor Siminalayi Fubara for the inclusion of the Andoni section of the Unity Road among roads to be commissioned as part of activities to mark his first year in office.
It would be recalled that the Andoni section of the Ogoni/Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Unity Road was initially slated for commissioning on Wednesday, May 15 but later shifted to Saturday, May 18, 2024.
Speaking exclusively with The Tide, some stakeholders commended the Governor for being courageous to complete a road that was abandoned for 24 years.
They said the completion of the road has given the people of Andoni a sense of belonging, adding that it has ended sea piracy in Andoni.
A community leader in Ngo Town, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area, Chief Awajiokaunye Mbosowo, said the people of Andoni, and Ngo in particular, are very grateful to Governor Fubara for the road project.
According to him: “We are very grateful to His Excellency, our amiable, most focused and action-packed Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Joseph Fubara for his timely response and completion  of the Andoni section of Ogoni/Andoni Opobo/Nkoro Unity Road”.
Mbosowo, who is the head chief of Ukumor War Canoe House of Ngo, said Governor Fubara had broken the jinx as far as development of Andoni was concerned.
He said the Andoni people have never had it so good, adding that the road was abandoned for over 24 years by previous administrations.
“The road was awarded by His Excellency, Sir (Dr) Peter Odili, during his second tenure in office .
“We congratulate the governor for his zeal, determination and vigour to complete the road within his first year in office .
“This is most commendable because despite all the challenges, distractions and economic downturn, you braved it all and completed the road in good time and quality. We say Thank You for your unflinching love for the Andoni people.
“We sincerely appreciate and welcome you to the commissioning of this all important project that now links our Ngo, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area and suburb communities that are on the main land.
“Your Excellency, for the purposes of record, this is the first time in history that a project of this magnitude would be completed and commissioned within the first year of the tenure (of an administration).
“We pray that  the good Lord continue to bless, keep and sustain you richly and grant you the grace to finish both your first and second tenures with joy and good health to the shame of your detractors”, he said.
Also speaking, a one time Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Apostle Felix Ayayi, said Governor Fubara has shown that he truly loves the people of Andoni and Obolo nation in general.

Apostle Ayayi described the road as a conduit through which billions of Naira in budgetary allocations had been siphoned and yet abandoned for 24 years, adding that because of this feat, the entire Andoni was now fully ‘Simplified’’.

In his response, former organizing secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Andoni Local Government Area, Elder Blessing Tiko, said the people of Andoni have started reaping the benefits of that road.

“People are happy that a road that started in the year 2000 and could not be completed, our son came and completed it in four months time.

“So, every true son of Andoni is happy with the Governor and any one who is not happy with the Governor is a witch”, he said

On his part, the leader of Obolo Sim Vanguard, Engr Kingston Silvanus, said the road has ended piracy and kidnapping along the Ngo water ways, noting that the people of Andoni will not fail to give the Governor total support.

John Bibor

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Fubara Has Created Conducive Investment Climate In Rivers -LG Boss

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The Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, Hon. Enyiada Cookey-Gam, has commended the Rivers State governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, for creating a healthy investment climate in the state as he marks his administration’s one year in office.
The Council boss stated this while addressing newsmen shortly after the Simplified Movement’s thanksgiving service in celebration of the governor’s election victory and subsequent affirmation by the Supreme Court at Opobo, headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area.
Hon. Cookey-Gam said that owing to Governor Fubara’s pragmatic economic policies, Rivers State has become an investment destination with enormous potential.
He stressed that the governor has, within his first year in office, invested in the 23 local government areas  of the state, saying, “When you have a head of government who understands the role of government and what it takes to govern, he ensures that investors are comfortable”.
He expressed delight with the personality of Governor Fubara and assured him of his council’s support and cooperation towards changing the economy of Rivers State.
“We will continue to create an enabling environment for you to succeed,” Hon Cookey-Gam assured the governor, saying, “Please bring more investments to the state.”
The local government chairman also urged Rivers people and business owners in the state to gird their loins for an imminent investment boom, stressing that the Fubara-led administration was ready to deliver more development programmes across the state.
Hon Cookey-Gam maintained that Governor Fubara, who is set to commission a lineup of people oriented projects he has executed, was poised to bring transformational development initiatives to Rivers people as his government stabilises.
He described the governor’s one year development efforts as a job well done despite some daunting challenges bedeviling the state and Nigeria in general.
“We are solidly ready to back him to achieve the yearned dividends of democracy to the people”, Hon Cookey-Gam said, and encouraged the governor to stay focused as the generality of Rivers people were on his side.

Bethel Toby

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