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Onyeama Calls For Stronger India-Nigeria Ties

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has called for stronger ties between Nigeria and India.
This was even as Onyeama said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a “game-changer” that is going to be the largest free trade area in the world.
Onyeama made the call during the 7th Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi India where he took part in two-panel discussions with the themes “Out of Africa: Leading on Trade and Economic Integration,” and “Building the Gates of Globalisation: Investment, Infrastructure and Taboos.”
During the panel discussion, Onyeama spoke about the various partnerships for infrastructural development such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other initiatives with India, the European Union, and other African countries, all of which he said, contribute enormously towards development.
On the sidelines of the 7th Raisina Dialogue which had more than 200 speakers from 90 countries in attendance, Onyeama met separately with his host, the External Affairs Minister of India, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and colleagues from Slovenia and the Philippines to discuss bilateral relations between Nigeria and the different countries.
While in India, Onyeama visited one of India’s largest steel and power plants, addressed and inaugurated the Nigeria-India Business Council with impressive attendance by Indian captains of Industry and interacted with 30 invited African Ambassadors and members of the Nigerian community, including students.
Onyeama further said the AfCFTA will make doing business much easier for countries with seamless access to 54 markets which is a huge advantage.
He said: “Why I say AfCTA is going to be a game-changer is because it will make it easier for our political leaders and Africans to reach out to other African countries. So, what will come as a result or consequences will be infrastructure – the trans-Saharan highway and continental highway across Africa, promoting connectivity and doing business. That will be the natural result of pulling down all the barriers that are preventing this connectivity within the continent.”
Onyeama spoke on the role of Africa in the upcoming world in terms of trade and cooperation and partnerships, especially with Africa’s Asian partners and India as a special partner.
The minister, while sharing his thoughts on how India and Africa can work together to foster further connectivity and commerce, noted that Nigeria and India have had a long history of very close cooperation and people-to-people relations with generations of Indian families living in Nigeria, Nigerian students in India and in the military establishments.
“We know ourselves very well and of course, now in a globalised world, there is a lot more we can do. India has a comparative advantage in the health sector. We saw the role India played in the COVID outbreak. India has a very strong pharmaceutical sector. So, the health field is an area we can do a lot with India. And we’ve seen the ICT miracle that is in Bangalore. Also, the technology capacity of India is another area that we can cooperate in. Nigeria has a very youthful population that is also getting into ICT and extremely dynamic and the partnership with India could absolutely be a game-changer for us.”
Speaking further, Onyeama noted that India is the second-largest producer of steel in the world, saying “We want to industrialise.”
According to Onyeama, “We have had challenges with developing our steel industry in Nigeria. So, that’s another area we can do a lot with India. We have a framework already, although it’s a continental framework of the India-Africa Summit and clearly, we are looking at developing a more precise roadmap that responds to the priorities and needs of our country. We can also look at other areas such as the culture industries. You have Bollywood and we have Nollywood, so there is a great deal we can do together.”
On post-COVID and in the context of Africans’ entry into the global value chain, Onyeama said: “We want to diversify not just our production, but also our partners. Where value chains are concerned, it has always been targeted toward the western countries. But clearly, Asia is a lot more prominent in our engagement and notwithstanding the global challenges of today, we are moving more and more, increasing our partnership with Asia and of course, India is a big part of that as is China and one or two other countries. So, notwithstanding, whatever else is happening globally, we intend to prioritise and push on.”

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Publish Details Of Parties’ Financial Transactions, SERAP Tasks INEC

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to publish the reports of parties’ accounts and balance sheets.
The body also wants details of the guidelines and steps being taken to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.
In a letter, yesterday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that citizens have the right to know about the accounts and financial transactions of parties.
He said transparency and accountability would curb the influence of money in politics, promote a level playing field, and remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders.
The organisation insisted it is both immoral and illegal to pay citizens to vote for a particular political party or standard-bearer.
“Unpunished cases of vote buying would continue to undermine good governance, the rule of law, moral values, as well as hinder citizens’ participation in elections”, it said.
SERAP told INEC that when candidates buy votes, there are possibilities that they will disregard for democratic rules.
“Vote buying and related electoral offences encourage poor governance and weaken citizens’ capacity to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions.”
SERAP charged the electoral umpire to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective prosecution of any outstanding cases of vote buying and related electoral offences.
The letter urged INEC to act within 14 days or face legal actions that would compel it to comply with the request.

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RSG Recommits To Engaging Youth Positively

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The Rivers State Government has said it was committed to engaging youths positively and empowering them.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the opening ceremony of the Uplifting African Youth Through Basketball Programme in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said the issues of youths and young adults were very important to his administration, while expressing delight that youths were being built up with critical life skills in sports, communication, and entrepreneurial leadership skills needed for Rivers State, Nigeria, and Africa.
“This administration is very interested in youth engagements, we want to make sure that our youths are very inclusive, participate, play their roles, and be well mentored and well-motivated to be able to fulfill all of their potentials in life, educationally, in sports, morally and so we are here to support”, the governor stressed.
The governor expressed gratitude to the leader of the Organised Basketball Network (OBN) and his team, for their efforts and the support of the US Consulate, while urging them to visit the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, to appreciate the efforts of the state government in the area of youth engagement.
The youth friendly governor, said “I want to encourage our youths that as you walk together in the next two days, you would learn how to be tolerant with one another and to know that gender based violence is totally not acceptable and that it is inhumane, I know it is just two days, but a lot can be achieved that can be life time impactful”.
In her remarks, the United States Consulate’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz said the United States and Nigeria have very special and close relationship, adding that the Consulate feels this was the right time to do a sports programme.
“Sports diplomacy is part of what we do, it is part of some ways we build stronger relationships between our two countries, sports brings people together, and even if you do not speak the same language you can still play sports together”, Foltz stressed.
Earlier, the leader of the Organised Basketball Network, Obinna Ekezie said OBN was a platform founded for the development of grassroots basketball in Nigeria and Africa with a mission to develop the next generation of world-class African student athletes and consistently create opportunities to help them advance their careers overseas, through basketball scholarship.
He said the project uplifting African youths was a project to provide inclusion and opportunities for under privileged talented African youths to learn important life skills through basketball.

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PDP Assembly, Reps Candidates Emerge In Rivers

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Candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly have emerged following the conduct of primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday.
According to the official results, Solomon Bob emerged the party’s candidate for Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Federal Constituency while Victor Obuzor emerged the candidate for Ahoada West/Ogba/Egbema Federal Constituency.
Also, Awaji Inombek Abiante won the ticket for Andoni/Opobo Federal Constituency, just as Boma Goodhead returned elected for the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency while Cyril Godwin Hart won Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency ticket.
The results further show that Felix Nwaeke emerged the candidate of the PDP for Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency, with Boniface Emerengwa emerging winner for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency.
In the same vein, Kelechi Nwogu cruised to victory as the candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency while Dumnamene Dekor won Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency ticket.
Similarly, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda emerged the House of Representatives candidate for Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, while Alabo Victor Tamunomiekaye won Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency ticket.
Chima Boms won Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2 while Barrister Blessing Amadi is the winner of the primary election for Port HarcourtFederal Constituency 1.
For the Rivers State House of Assembly primary, Hon Dominic Iderima picked the ticket for Abua/Odual, Mrs Queen Williams picked the ticket for Ahoada East 1,Rt Hon Ehe Edison emerged the candidate for Ahoada East 2, while Hon Sokari Goodboy Sokari cruised to victory for Ahoada West.
Hon Major Jack won the ticket for Akuku-Toru 1, Hon Opuende Lolo Isaiah is the candidate for Akuku-Toru 2, Hon Ofiks Kabangs Christopher grabbed the ticket to represent Andoni, whileHon Tekena Wellington Granville got the ticket for Asari-Toru 1.
Also, a serving member, Enemi Alabo George easily won the ticket for Asari-Toru 2, just as Hon Victor Oko Jumbo got the nod to represent Bonny, while Hon Abbey Peter emerged the candidate for Degema.
Hon Igwe Obey Aforji emerged the PDP candidate for Eleme, Emohua will be represented by Mrs Justina Emeji, Hon Onwuka Ignatiuswon the ticket to represent Etche 1, while Hon Chimezie Nwankwor is the candidate for Etche 2.
The present member representing Gokana, Hon Dumle Maol, will retain his ticket for the seat, Prince Lemchi Nyeche emerged the candidate for Ikwerre 1, Mrs Barile Nwakoh won the ticket for Khana1, while Barrister Dinebari Loolo got the ticket for Khana 2.
In Obio/Akpor1, Hon Amaewhule Martin Chike was returned, just as Mrs Emilia Lucky Amadi emerged the candidate for Obio/Akpor 2, and Frankline Nwabochi will fly PDP flag for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni1.
In the same token, Mrs Nkemuika Ezekwe will fight for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni2 seat on the platform of the PDP, Davids Arnold Okobiriari won the ticket for Ogu/Bolo, a serving member, Somiari Steward Linda will return in Okrika, while Nwankwo Sylvanus emerged for Omuma seat.
Orubienimigha Adolphus grabbed the ticket for Opobo/Nkoro,Hon Gerald Oforji emerged for Oyigbo, Solomon Wami won the ticket for Port Harcourt1,Hon Tonye Smart Adoki will return for Port Harcourt2, Hon Azeru Opara emerged for Port Harcourt3, and Ngbar Bernard Baridamue won the ticket for Tai.

By: Nelson Chukwudi & Reward Akwu

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