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Nigeria @ 62: Corruption, Insecurity Bane Of Nation’s Economy-Stakeholders

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Nigerians from different spheres of life in the South-East have blamed the parlous state of the nation’s economy on corruption and insecurity.
The people spoke in separate interviews by The Tide’s source to evaluate how the economy has fared as the country marks its 62nd independence anniversary.
An economist in Abakaliki, Mrs Joy Ekwe, expressed worry that corruption had become deep rooted in the country since it gained independence on October 1, 1960.
She lamented that it had “eaten up the fabrics of our national life”, while integrity no longer counts.
According to her, “corruption has elevated mediocrity above merit and competence, while godfatherism, nepotism and favouritism have become the order of the day”.
She said the development had discouraged hardwork, with far more negative implication on the country’s economic development.
Ekwe also spoke on the impact of insecurity on the economy and urged government at all levels to deepen the fight against the phenomenon.
She said winning the war against insecurity would put the country back on the path of sustainable economic growth and food sufficiency.
“If we must achieve food security, briefcase farmers should not be allowed to manage the distribution of farm inputs,” Ekwe said.
An Abakaliki-based legal practitioner, Mr Chibuzor Onwe, said the widespread terrorism and banditry had made the country unsafe for foreign investors.
“Insecurity has drastically slowed down socio-economic development of the county,” he said.
“The nation has come of age, 62 years is not a joke. It is high time Nigerians collectively fought corruption to a standstill and uphold the principle of honesty and integrity as a way of life”, he said.
On his part, a political analyst, Mr George Nworie, urged the Federal and State Governments as well as the citizenry to embrace the spirit of doing the right thing at the right time in order to return the country to the path of sustainable growth and development.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Enugu State, Mr Virginus Nwobodo, said development in post-independent Nigeria had been very slow and uninspiring.
“Our development as a nation has been sluggish. When I say sluggish, I mean that the pace is below the expectations of Nigerians.
“Looking at our democracy over the years, one cannot say that we are practicing true democracy because the gap between the leaders and the led is still very wide.
“Class consciousness still exists and our leaders are not committed to addressing the country’s infrastructure deficit,” Nwobodo said.

He said that the colonial administration provided public utilities like roads, housing and other amenities that made life easier for the people, “but that’s not the case today.

“In those days, once you are employed, there is official quarters ready for you. But today, Nigerians are still grappling with infrastructure deficit at all levels,” he said.

The labour leader said that under the colonial system, successive administrations improved on the performance of their predecessors, with a strong policy for continuity in governance.

“Today, every administration wants to initiate its own project and abandon what the previous government initiated but could not complete.

“That is why we have a lot of abandoned projects nationwide, some of which are very important projects,” Nwobodo said.

In Abia, a business coach, Mr Godson Adiele, said that the economy was strong and prosperous immediately after the country gained independence due to the prevailing government policies.

Adiele said that the economic policies supported productivity, competitive growth along regional line and job creation in the country.

With the emergence of new governments, he said, the economy began to nosedive due to poor policy implementation and ever-changing economic policies.

He advocated for effective implemention of policies that encourage diversification of the economy, support production, increased patronage of local products and eliminate multiple taxation.

He said that government at all levels should initiate policies that promote the ease of doing business in order to encourage investment and enable small businesses to thrive.

“Our passion for foreign products over the years has helped to deplete our economy.

“Nigerians must understand that the one you patronise you empower and we have built other economies to the detriment of ours.

“Nigerians now transact their businesses at home in dollars, which is not our legal tender.

“Unfortunately, this has resulted in the decrease in the purchasing power of the naira,” Adiele said.

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Winners-Take-All Approach Detrimental To Political Justice And Unity – Jonathan

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned that the prevailing “winners-take-all” approach to politics in Nigeria is detrimental to political justice and unity.
Speaking yesterday as the chairman of the national symposium to mark this year’s Democracy Day at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan emphasised the need for a more inclusive system where parties that perform well at the polls are given a role in governance.
The symposium, which marked this year’s Democracy Day, brought together prominent figures from across the country to discuss the state of democracy in Nigeria and the need for reforms.
Jonathan highlighted the negative impact of the current zero-sum practice, which he said fosters a culture of do-or-die politics. He urged the National Assembly to work out a formula that would ensure parties that score a certain percentage of votes in an election are included in governance, thereby promoting political justice and unity.
“The powers of the presidents are defined by different constitutions and so on and so forth.
“So our National Assembly can also look at models that will suit us. The zero-sum approach, where a party that even sometimes gets 40% of votes, especially at the state levels will have nothing, gives rise to this do-or-die politics.
“That zero-sum approach, I think, is inimical to consolidating and strengthening our democracy.
“Let me conclude by saying that together, we can forge a Nigeria where every citizen has a voice, where opportunities abound, where the promise of a better tomorrow is not just a dream but a tangible reality.
“Let us therefore celebrate this milestone with pride and renewed determination.”
President Jonathan also advised President Bola Tinubu’s administration to ensure that the politics of the next 25 years are transformative and inclusive, saying that there must be a determined effort to dilute the politics of region and religion.
“And I know you and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was a key actor in the June 12 crisis, will have the capacity to navigate through that process.
“I believe this programme and others commemorating this landmark will point the way to that glorious vision and prepare the nation for golden time centenary celebrations of enduring democracy.”
Noting that the path towards democratic consolidation has been a difficult one, he said the return of democracy in 1999, after many years of military reign, signalled a new phase in the national journey and shared vision of unity, peace and progress.
The former president added: “In the last 25 years, we have made modest progress in this regard amid some challenges. As a nation, we built an economy that was once the biggest on the African continent, experienced significant infrastructural growth, made strides in the arts and sports, and recorded many peaceful political transitions at the national and sub-national levels.
“Democracy has also brought about improved access to governance, amplified silent voices and reinforced the idea of sovereignty.
“Whenever I tune in to Nigerian TV stations, especially in the morning and see young men and women discussing and interrogating contemporary political issues and holding leaders to account, I thank God for democracy and appreciate the gains we have made over the years.
“In these 25 years, through four power transitions from one president to another, including the death of a sitting president, we have seen the gradual strengthening of our democratic institutions, the expansion of civil liberties, and the active participation of our citizenry in the political process. This progress, while commendable, also reminds us that our work is far from done.
“It is, therefore, time to make this journey seamless, through good citizenship, patriotic service as well as sacrificial and exemplary stewardship.
“We must continue to build upon the foundations laid, deepen our democratic roots, and ensure that the dividends of democracy are felt by all Nigerians, regardless of their social, economic or geographic status.”
Jonathan also called on the political class and elites to lead by example and work with unity of purpose to guarantee peace, social justice, and effective governance for Nigerian citizens.
He emphasised the need for elected representatives to reflect their roles through their lifestyles and actions.
He said: “For democracy to yield its desired dividend, we the political class and elites must lead by example and work with unity of purpose to guarantee peace and social justice for the citizens. And our lifestyle must reflect that we are elected people.

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Ibom Developers Drive Sustainable Growth Through Skill Acquisition Workshop In Amazaba Community, Akwa Ibom

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Skill acquisition is a principal factor for building a successful career, significantly enhancing one’s employability and opening doors to various career opportunities. It serves as a cornerstone for driving holistic development within communities, fostering economic empowerment, and promoting sustainable growth.
Recognising the transformative impact of its ongoing skill acquisition initiatives, Ibom Developers has extended its programme to the Amazaba community in Eastern Obolo LGA, Akwa Ibom State, from 3rd to 14th June 2024.
This initiative aims to foster economic empowerment and community development by equipping participants with practical skills essential for economic independence.
During the event, 160 women received intensive training in catering, food hygiene, packaging, hairdressing, wig making, ventilation, and styling over a period of two weeks.
Distinguished guests, including Chief Gogonte Luke Nglass, Chairman of the Amazaba Council of Chiefs, Chief Alexander Ikowa, Village Head of Okorobilom, Chief J.J Job, Village Head of Bethlehem, Mrs. Gloria Gogonte, Vice President of the Amazaba Women Association, and Victoria Solomon Bibama, Assistant Secretary of the Amazaba Women Association, were present.
Grateful for the initiative and its impact on the community, especially in advancing women’s skills, Chief Gogonte Luke Nglass expressed optimism for transformative change, stating, “We are grateful, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing the profound effects of this initiative on our community.”
Skill acquisition empowers individuals to navigate the modern job market, achieve personal and professional growth, and contribute to economic and social development.
Emphasising the role of skill acquisition in empowering women and youth, Victoria Solomon Bibama expressed, “This is highly commendable, and initiatives like these bring us closer to a future where every woman can thrive, and no community is left behind.”
Equipping women with relevant skills, especially in rural areas, expands opportunities for meaningful employment. Ibom Developers’ efforts contribute to building a stronger society, facilitating economic growth and social progress.
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HYPREP Celebrates WED In Style 

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The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project(HYPREP) on Wednesday joined the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s World Environment Day in grand style.

 

It actually started the celebration last Saturday with the planting of mangroves at the Bomu Creek in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.The planting of the mangroves was carried out in partnership with the Nigerian Environmental Society(NES) which massively mobilised its members to the waterfront, where the mangroves were massively planted to restore part of the degraded shoreline.

 

HYPREP indicated that it also carried out the exercise in conjunction with contractors who had already been mobilised to site to plant mangroves at the waterfront in keeping with its shoreline restoration programme.

 

At the Bomu Creek, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Prof Deinibarini Zabbey; the Rivers State Chairman of NES, Sir Amos Daminabo Atuloyedia; and others were all handy, as they stepped into the marshy environment, fully kitted and planted the mangroves, to the admiration of all present.

 

Speaking to newsmen, Zabbey said the exercise was the beginning of the 2024 World Environment Day celebration which would climax on Wednesday, June 5, the day the global event is marked annually, stressing that HYPREP was partnering with NES to plant mangroves at the waterfront to actually make the event worthwhile and colourful.

 

On his part, the NES boss, Sir Atuloyedia said the body was delighted to partner with HYPREP to celebrate this year’s World Environment Day, hinting that the society would also visit the Liquefied Natural Gas plant in Bonny as part of activities to mark the day, which he said would climax last Wednesday at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt.

 

On Wednesday, the celebration of the World Environment Day took another dimension as HYPREP mobilised students from four secondary schools in Ogoniland, namely; Community Secondary School, Bomu; Community Secondary School, Barako; Community Secondary School, Mogho; and Bodo City Girls to carry out the removal of plastics at another section of the Bomu Creek, where mangroves had already sprouted.

 

The Project Coordinator, Prof Zabbey, the students and some HYPREP workers, who were all fully kitted, moved into the marshy landscape and weeded out plastics at the base of each of the lush mangroves.

 

However, before the event proper kicked off in earnest, the Head of the Livelihood Unit of HYPREP, Mrs Josephine Nzidee; Mangrove Officer, Mr Uche Izuchukwu; and Subject Matter Expert/Team Lead Mangrove, HYPREP, Prof Franklin Tanee had given the students,drawn from the environmental clubs established by the Project pep talks on what the day was all about and what they should do at the waterfront.

 

Addressing newsmen at the end of the removal plastics, Zabbey,who practically demonstrated leadership by example, underlined the importance of the World Environment Day celebration, describing the activity as the climax of what was started last Saturday in Bomu community.

 

He disclosed that HYPREP had established 20 environment clubs in Ogoniland, which it has been supporting as part of efforts to recover the biodiversity, stressing that the removal of the plastics at the mangroves was symbolic.

 

The Project Coordinator had earlier in a statement to celebrate the World Environment Day, noted that the theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Our Land, Our Future: Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience ‘, resonates deeply with HYPREP’s mission and ongoing efforts and achievements in Ogoniland and the wider Niger Delta region.

 

He said the 2024 WED provides an opportunity to reflect, design, and facilitate approaches to protect our commonwealth- land, restore degraded ones, and discourage human activities that compromise the integrity of the environment and biodiversity.

 

Zabbey further noted that for a region whose primary livelihood depends on fertile soil and flourishing river systems, restoring degraded environments is essential for recovering and sustaining biodiversity; improving agricultural productivity; and enhancing communities’ livelihoods, stressing that the future of the Ogonis and the wider Niger Delta depends on their land.

 

According to him, HYPREP is equipped with the necessary resources and strategically positioned to lead this generation to undertake this task decisively.

 

The Project Coordinator urged stakeholders to take definite stance to prevent oil pollution occasioned by oil theft, vandalism and artisanal refining, prioritise oil infrastructure maintenance and monitoring to protect the environment; to prevent and clean up plastic pollution that defaces and impairs land and wetlands; conduct adequate sensitisation and awareness creation to mainstream good environmental behaviours; and develop citizens’ capacity to pursue alternative and sustainable livelihoods, which would dissuade local communities from engaging in unethical acts, stressing that HYPREP reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the remediation and restoration of Ogoniland.

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