The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said that it has lined up a brand new car, performance trip to Dubai, internship deals and other prizes for prospective winners of its newly inaugurated talent hunt.
The logo and procedures to participate in the Niger Delta Talent Hunt (NIDETH), aimed at discovering creative Niger Delta youths, were unveiled in Port Harcourt, last Monday, by the Interim Administrator, NDDC, Dr. Efiong Akwa; and Lead Consultant, Harry Song.
Speaking at the event, Song, a popular songwriter, instrumentalist and producer, said the hunt was designed to discover talented Niger Delta youths in the areas of music, comedy and dance.
Song said: “The live auditions will take place in Benin, Edo State on August 6; Yenegoa, Bayelsa State on August 13, and in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on August 20, while the grand finale will take place in Port Harcourt on September 1.
“Interested participants should visit NIDETH website and register with their one-minute video to participate in the live auditioning.
“The winner of the Niger Delta Talent Hunt stands a chance to win a brand new car, a performance trip to Dubai with Harry Song, an internship deal and other consolation prizes. Other participants will also stand the chance to win a wide variety of consolation prizes”.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser on Youths to NDDC Interim Administrator, Udengs Eradiri, said the commission was excited about the programme.
Describing it as a rare opportunity, Eradiri urged youths across the nine states of the region to take advantage of it to pitch their tents in the creative industry.
He said the NDDC under Akwa had been repositioned to roll out empowerment programmes, and create opportunities for youths in the region.
“We are not in short supply of talents in the Niger Delta. The youths are just looking for opportunities to showcase to showcase their talents and the NDDC under Dr. Effiong Akwa, is determine to create these opportunities. There is no doubt that this Niger Delta Talent Hunt will produce superstars in the creative industry”.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has ordered the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to resume the commission’s scholarship scheme suspended some years ago.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana, gave the directive during a two-day retreat for senior staff of the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry, which ended in Abuja, at the weekend.
An official of the ministry, who spoke in confidence, said Umana vehemently kicked against suggestions to scrap the scheme, and insisted that it would be sustained, expanded and revised to eliminate all forms of corruption in the system.
The source said Umana wanted a scholarship scheme that would be home-driven with a special focus on Nigerian universities.
“The idea is to retain the scheme and make it home-based instead of the usual practice of sending beneficiaries abroad to study courses offered in Nigerian universities.
“Foreign scholarship schemes will not be totally removed. But it will be de-emphasised. Niger Delta students will no longer be sent abroad to study courses offered in Nigerian universities.
“The commission can only sponsor interested scholars overseas to study only special courses that are not found in our universities. Therefore, Umana has ordered the commission to review and re-launch the scholarship scheme.”
The source said other far-reaching decisions were taken at the retreat to reposition the NDDC in harmony with the recommendations of the forensic audit report.
He said it was resolved that NDDC would henceforth streamline its projects against the current practice of awarding many jobs in one fiscal year.
“Henceforth, the NDDC will work closely with the National Assembly to ensure that projects are streamlined. Projects that had been completed would be inaugurated and the commission will also stop issuing emergency contracts”, he said.
He said there was also hope for the contractors, who had finished their jobs but had yet to receive their money as a decision was reached that the commission should focus on clearing its debts.
The source said: “It was also agreed that the NDDC should cancel all projects that had been awarded but the contractors refused to mobilise to their sites. The money for such projects will now be used to complete other abandoned projects.
“The forensic audit report is being implemented in phases. The area that concerned the National Assembly had been sent to the lawmakers. The areas that concern the anti-graft agency have also been directed to them.
“A staff audit has also been ordered to ensure proper placement of workers and retirement of those directors due for retirement. The Niger Delta stakeholders should expect a new NDDC that responds to their yearnings under the current minister”, he said.
By: Akujobi Amadi
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
FRSC Commander Faces Sanction Over Unauthorised Comments
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.
Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials did not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, yesterday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.
Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.
The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.
“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.
“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.
“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”
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