By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
No fewer than six decades after its conceptualisation,the far-flung communities of Southern Ijaw council area of Bayelsa state might have just started heaving a sigh of relief as Nigeria’s Vice President,Yemi Osinbajo at the weekend flagged-off the Angia-Ibe(Angiama Communitiy – Oporoma link bridge project.
The Tide correspondent reports that the Southern-Ijaw council area of the state is more than ninety percent riverine and that Oporoma Communitiy, where the flagged-off bridge was expected to link is its headquarters,just as reports have added that Southern -Ijaw might probably be the largest local government area in Nigeria.
The flag-off by the Vice President was preceded by a historic drive on the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road, which construction has reached Angiama Communitiy,just as Vice President Osinbajo commended Governor Diri for continuing projects that predated his administration, noting that the 36km Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road was significant as it will improve the economy of the people and reduce the incidences of sea piracy in the area.
The nation’s number two citizen restated that the partnership between the federal and state governments was working as was evidenced in the refunds of money earlier spent on federal roads by state governments, assuring that the federal government will continue to support Bayelsa state to enable it meet its developmental aspirations.
He said the rural communities in Southern Ijaw were hosts to oil and gas wealth,which he identified as Nigeria’s economic mainstay, saying that as a result the council area like every other area with these economic contributions, deserves developmental projects.
The Vice President mentioned that no inclusive prosperity can thrive without linking communities by road,charging the people of the area to take ownership of the project,just as he also called on the people of the state to support the Diri’s administration to enable it deliver on its mandate.
Osinbajo expressed the optimism that the project would be completed by the governor and urged him to continue to serve the people of the state diligently.
“Let me thank my brother, Governor Diri, for inviting me to be part of the second anniversary celebrations and the traditional rulers for the title conferred on me. I also bring you warm greetings from President, Muuhammadu Buhari GCFR.
“I am, of course, very excited to join you for this project. Driving through the road, I appreciate the wonderful gift that nature has bestowed on the state.There will be no inclusive prosperity without linking communities by road. So this project is very important. We must commend our dear brother, Governor Diri and his team for continuing with this project that has been on the drawing board for over 60 years”, he said.
“The partnership between the federal and state government is working as evidenced in the refunds of money used by the states for federal roads. We are confident that what your administration has started will be completed at the highest quality. I assure you of the support of the federal government and that you have not been forgotten. Once more, I congratulate Governor Diri and the beneficiary communities”, the Vice President added.
In his remarks, Governor Douye Diri described the flag- off of the link bridge as significant to the people of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, given the fact that it has been on the drawing board for over 60 years, saying despite the daunting hurdles and notwithstanding the lean financial situation of the state, his administration decided to prioritise the completion of the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road in furtherance of a strategic government master plan.
Diri described the project as a Trunk A federal road, expressing the readiness of the state government to partner the federal government to ensure the speedy completion of the project.
The governor while commending the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) for doing a good job so far, directed the Ministries of Finance and Works and Infrastructure to release not less than seventy(70%) percent of the contract sum to the firm to enhance its job, thanking the Vice President for finding time out of his tight schedules to flag-off the project,describing him as a lover of the state and a friend of the Niger Delta region.
A statement made available to Newsmen by the Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa state Governor,Mr Daniel Alabrah quoted Governor Diri to have said: “That we are here today is the culmination of the collective prayers, resoluteness and singlemindedness of the people of Bayelsa State and a demonstration of the fact that determination and perseverance can make the most unlikely dream come true. Thank you for joining us to change the trajectory of development of Bayelsa State.Interestingly, this bridge project evokes a symbolism that is compelling. When the wonderful story of how a bridge changed the destiny of a people would be told, Your Excellency, your name will be conspicuously mentioned.
“Mr. Vice President, there is a particular symbolism in today’s event. In the same way that physical bridges connect places, collaboration is a ‘bridge’ that connects people and interests. Your presence exemplifies the bridge of cooperation that endures between this Government of Prosperity and the Federal Government. And similarly, it takes time, effort and planning to build cooperation, as it does a physical bridge. We are greatly encouraged by your attendance.This Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road project is only one of the few projects by the federal government in Bayelsa State. That this project has been ongoing for 60 long years is a sad parable of the lack of attention that successive federal governments have paid to the region that continues to provide the bulk of the nation’s resources, at severe and sacrificial cost”, Governor Diri said.
In a welcome address, the chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Chief Nigeria Kia, described the ceremony as one of the happiest days in the lives of all Southern Ijaw people given the significance of the project, noting that the local government, which has over 200 communities, has only about five connected by road.
The Council chairman thanked Governor Diri for prioritising the project while, assuring that the people of the area will continue to support him.
Also speaking,the state’s Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Moses Teibowei, said the road was one of the three senatorial road projects aimed at opening up the state and boosting economic activities while also decongesting Yenagoa and reducing sea piracy, lauding CCECC and expressed optimism that the road will be completed within the specified time.
The Tide reports that other high points of the flag-off ceremony was the conferement of the chieftaincy title, ‘Ebi-akubowei 1’ (one who seeks good or progress) of Angiama Kingdom on the Vice President by the Angia-Ibe (Angiama) traditional institution.
The Tide also learnt that the Vice President prior to doing the flag-off had earlier paid a courtesy visit on the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council where he thanked custodians of the Ijaw tradition for the warm reception accorded him,while the Vice Chairman of the state’s Traditional Rulers Council, King Malla Sasime, had also thanked Osinbajo for recognising the traditional stool by his visit to them.
112,759 Delta Pupils Write Entrance Examination Into Sec Schs
A total of 112,759 final year pupils of public and private primary schools in Delta State sat for the 2022 entrance examination into its secondary schools at the weekend.
Permanent Secretary, Delta State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Augustine Oghoro, made the declaration in Asaba on Saturday while monitoring the 2022 Cognitive/placement examination.
Describing the conduct of the examination as successful, he said, “the Ministry is satisfied with the peaceful conduct of the examination at the centres visited,’’.
The Commissioner for Secondary Education,Mrs Rose Ezewu, who monitored the examination in Delta Central and some parts of Delta South, said the examination was unique as it was the foundation of the pupils’ educational pursuits.
“I am satisfied with the commitment of the pupils that sat for the examination,’’ she said.
In his remarks, the Director of Examinations, Mr Sunday Egomaguna, said Delta was committed to setting the pace in the conduct of examinations.
Also speaking, the proprietor of a group of private schools in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area, Mr Fidelis Egugbo, said he was optimistic about the successes of the candidates.
Udom Plans Reconciliation Of Aggrieved PDP Aspirants
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, has assured people of the State that he would reconcile aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after the party’s primary elections.
Udom, who stated this on Sunday, while speaking with newsmen at his country home in Onna, after the State House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries, said though delegates to the primaries were limited to recently elected ad-hoc delegates, candidates chosen were capable of ensuring a clean sweep for the party in next year’s general elections.
According to the Governor, the party remains united and strong, in spite of grievances from some members, adding that winning elections remains an act of God.
He, however, expressed confidence that all challenges confronting the party would be resolved.
“Today, I decided to obey the rules of the Electoral Act that disqualified me from being a delegate, I refused to go near the venue.
“I have come to understand that whatever comes our way, is an act of God, we cannot blame anyone.
“Akwa Ibom is PDP and PDP is Akwa Ibom, I hope to immediately set up a reconciliation committee for those of us feeling aggrieved that probably the process, today, did not favour them.
“It is an act of God and there is nothing anyone can do about it. No one in this country saw this coming.
“So, we must take it the way we have seen it, so the committee will reconcile and bring them back together,” he said.
He commended the party for the smooth conduct of the primaries.
Meanwhile, Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen, an aspirant from Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, said a group of aspirants in the State had decided to pull out of the primaries because of the pending court issues arising from the last ad-hoc delegates election in the State.
Inyangeyen, the former Chief of Staff to the Governor, said the exercise conducted by the PDP in the State was illegal and could not be considered as a democratic exercise.
He said a group of aspirants had asked the leadership of the PDP in the State to provide a level playing ground for all aspirants, to contest and prove their popularity.
He expressed disappointment at the government for failing to provide that level playing ground, because “they were afraid to lose in a free and fair competition.
“We approached the court and an injunction was granted against the conduct of the exercise in the State.
“I remain in my house today, I don’t mind what they are doing. I am a law abiding citizen and whatever they are doing today, we would challenge it in court.
“We have asked our supporters to shun the primaries because it is being conducted on illegality,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Joseph Ekpeyong, the Returning officer in Esit Eket/Ibeno State Constituency, announced Udo Friday as candidate for the constituency, with 61 votes from 62 delegates.
In he same vein, the Returning Officer for Eket Federal Constituency, Mr Michael Nsang, announced Okpolupm Ette, who got 103 votes as winner of the Eket Federal Constituency, while his closest rival, Mr David Lawrence had 27 votes.
Eket Federal Constituency includes Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno and Onna Local Government Areas.
Hold Arbitrations In Nigeria, Jonathan Tells FG
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has faulted the hearing of arbitrations for the contracts entered by the Federal Government with International Organisations in the United Kingdom.
He made this position in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, during a launch of the book titled “Arbitration and Dispute Resolution in Nigeria”, over the weekend.
The Tide’s source reports that the book is written by King Collins Daniel, the Traditional Ruler, Abureni Kingdom, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
He also charged the bodies responsible for arbitration or resolving disputes in the country to work hard to ensure arbitration for the government contracts done in the country for proper understanding.
Jonathan explained that resolving disputes outside the court room is short, less expensive and makes people more bound to the terms morally.
According to him: “Let me use this unique opportunity to charge the bodies in this country that are responsible for either arbitration or resolving issues to work hard to ensure that arbitrations are done in Nigeria.
“Because all the contracts the Nigerian government entered with international organisations, arbitrations are always done in the United Kingdom. Can’t we do some of these arbitrations in Nigeria?
“I don’t know why it must be the United Kingdom, why it must be outside Nigeria, I think we need to work hard, so that some of these things will be done here in Nigeria.
“As non lawyers, we look at issues of resolving disputes in two different ways: one that takes place in the courtroom, and one that takes place outside the courtroom.
“We think that society is so complex, going to court for judges to settle our disputes solved all our problems because judges decide based on the facts presented to them, that is why people still get back home and start fighting.
“More especially issues like land cases and Chieftaincy cases, so I believe solving disputes outside the courtroom will be a better and shorter way than going through court processes,” he said.
The author of the book and Olila-Ebhugh of Abureni kingdom, King Daniel, said he used his experience as a legal practitioner, law teacher and a traditional ruler to write the book, to help the society on how to resolve issues properly and permanently.
According to him, dispute resolution is a key because in every society, there is bound to be dispute and the way the dispute is resolved to the satisfaction of every party brings lasting peace in the society.
King Charles Owaba, the Paramount Ruler of Ogbia Kingdom, said the traditional institution was the fundamental arbitration and dispute resolution system in Nigeria.
He commended the author for putting pen and book together to come up with such work, to settle disputes without the court.
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