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2023: Diri Warns Against Political Blackmail

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has cautioned political actors to desist from character assassination and blackmail in their quest for power in the state.
He said it was appalling how some politicians in the state have resorted to maligning the character of opposition party contestants and members in the guise of political campaigns.
The governor spoke during the service of songs in honour of late Mama Bebeapere Agbedi, mother of the member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr. Fred Agbedi, at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that elections would come and go but the people would remain brothers and sisters.
He stressed that the best path to living a long and fulfilled life is showing love and appreciation for one another.
Governor Diri emphasised that as long as power comes only from God, nobody can overturn what has been divinely ordained for the state.
“Political times are here and there is so much in the air – propaganda, lies and blackmails. You do not know which one to believe anymore. That was not the kind of life Mama lived.
“The fact that you want a political office should not make you to malign the character of another person. Elections will come and go, as I always say, but we will all remain brothers and sisters.
“For me, the best path to tread and best way towards living the kind of life that we are celebrating today is to continue to show love and appreciation. No matter who is blocking it, when God says this is yours, nobody can stop it”, he said.
While extolling the virtues of the matriarch, who lived 111 years, Governor Diri described her as a quintessential woman, who made a lot of sacrifice for mankind.
In a sermon titled: “A Good Name,” Bishop Dotimi Egbegi said for one to be spoken well of after death, the individual must have a good name while alive.
Bishop Egbegi noted that people can only amend their ways while alive and by living for others in order to bequeath legacies that cannot be altered.
Giving a testimony about his mother, Dr. Agbedi said she instilled discipline in him and his siblings as well as investing meaningfully in their educational advancements.
The House of Reps member described his late mother as a principled but humble woman, a trait that he said is also found in him.
He thanked the governor for demonstrating love and support towards him and his family by his presence at the event to honour their matriarch.
Also present at the solemn gathering were the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, past and serving members and colleagues of the chief mourner from the National Assembly, state legislators, chairman of the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Solomon Agwana, members of the State
Executive Council, politicians from different political parties as well as top government functionaries and members of the clergy.

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Niger Delta

Edo Election: INEC Fixes May 27 PVCs Distribution Commencement

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State will begin the distribution of about 373,030 uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) on May 27.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha, made this known in Benin last Thursday during a stakeholders’ meeting on the forthcoming Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.
Onuoha stated that the PVC collection exercise would be done side-by-side with the CVR exercise, also scheduled for May 27.
The Tide’s source reports that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had announced to begin the CVR exercise in Edo and Ondo ahead of the governorship elections in the two states.
Onuoha said while the statistics of registered voters in Edo is 2,501,081, collected PVC is 2,128,288 and uncollected PVCs stand at 373,030.
He said both the CVR and the PVC collection would be a 10-day exercise, starting from May 27 to June 5, from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. daily, including weekends.
The REC explained that the exercise would be conducted in the 192 wards and the state headquarters of INEC in Edo State.
He also disclosed that each registration centre would be managed by two officials drawn from the Commission and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
“In addition to the registration of voters, the Commission will also make available the uncollected PVCs for collection during CVR.
“Also note that no PVC will be collected by proxy. Registered voters should come in person to collect their cards.
“There will be no pre-registration option because of time constraints”, he said.
Onuoha, however, appealed for the support of the media, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), traditional rulers and religious leaders in encouraging voters to locate and pick up their PVCs.
According to him, the Commission has published the final list of candidates for the Edo governorship election following the conclusion of primaries of the political parties.
The Deputy Director, Voter Registry, INEC, Abuja, Mrs Doris Kande-Wyom, who took stakeholders through CVR processes, appealed to them to mobilise prospective registrants for the exercise.
The source reports that the meeting had in attendance the chairmen of political parties, religious leaders, traditional rulers, security agencies, and CSOs among others.

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Woos Investors In Power Sector

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The Bayelsa State Government has said it is poised to take advantage of the Electricity (Amendment) Act recently enacted by the National Assembly by partnering well-meaning investors to generate and supply power in the State.
Deputy Governor of the State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made this known during a recent courtesy visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Power led by its Chairman, Hon. Victor Nwokolo, to Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo identified poor power supply occasioned by endemic corruption and lack of patriotism on the part of most stakeholders in the sector as a major stumbling block to efforts being made to drive industrial and economic development in Nigeria.
While expressing gratitude to his visitors, he urged them to facilitate the resuscitation of the Gbarain 252 Mega Watts Power Station in Koroama, which had a part of it burnt since September, last year, thereby subjecting the state to unprecedented power outages.
The state’s number two man wondered why the Federal Fovernment-owned station had failed to function effectively for the people to benefit maximally despite the state government’s support.
He, however, commended the National Assembly for enacting the Nigerian Electricity (Amendment) Act 2024, which ended the monopoly of the Federal Government in the power sector over the years.
The Deputy Governor also thanked the member representing the Yenagoa/Kolokuma Federal Constituency at the House Representatives, Hon. Oboku Oforji, for raising the issue of blackout in the state on the floor of the house, which necessitated the visit.
Speaking further, he stated that although investment in the power sector was quite capital intensive, the state government’s doors were open for effective partnerships to meet the energy needs of the state.
“We thank the two chambers of the National Assembly for passing the Electricity Act, because it has unbundled and dismantled the monopoly in the hand of the Federal Government. Now it is a question of what you can do in your state.
“If there is no power, there is no development. The power issue is actually the main issue in this country. But unfortunately, that is one area we are not giving enough attention to.
“As a state, we are ready to partner with serious investors in the power sector to produce enough power to meet the energy needs of our state.
“We are happy the Niger Delta Power Holding Company is represented here. We want you to build an additional power plant to boost power generation”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Victor Nwokolo, said they were in Bayelsa for an on-the-spot inspection of the burnt section of the power transmission station at Gbarain in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
Addressing newsmen at the Gbarain Power Plant, Hon. Nwokolo assured that the Committee would report its findings to the House to enable it take informed decisions to improve power supply in Bayelsa and its environs.
Also speaking, the Member representing Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency, Hon. Oboku, and the Managing Director, Bayelsa State Electricity Company, Mr Olice Kemenanabo, expressed displeasure at the laid-back attitude of NDPHC toward fixing the burnt section of the Gbarain power plant.
While cautioning against politicization of power supply issues in the state, they called on the Federal Government to prevail on the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and other relevant stakeholders to urgently tackle the power outage problem in Bayelsa.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian House of Representatives passed a resolution to resuscitate the Gbarain power transmission station during plenary recently following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Oboku Oforji, member representing Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Ewhrudhakpo Tasks Healthcare Board On Alternative Funding

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Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has charged the state Primary Healthcare Board (BSPHCB) to seek alternative sources of funding to complement the financial support from the State Government and the local councils to achieve set goals in the primary health subsector.
He gave the charge recently when the Board’s Chairman, Dr. Markson Amaegbe-Tamuno, Executive Secretary, Dr William Appah, and members of the Board paid a courtesy visit to his office in Government House, Yenagoa.
To achieve its objectives of efficient primary healthcare delivery to the people, he said it was expedient for the Board to solicit funding support from the multinational oil companies operating in the State, including Shell, Agip, Aiteo, Conoil and several others.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who disclosed that the state’s community health insurance is now part of the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme (BHIS), made a case for pyramid funding to enable the primary health subsector, which occupies the bottom rung of the health system enjoy better resource allocation.
He argued that primary healthcare requires more funding and human resources to run effectively, stressing that its inefficiency largely accounts for the plethora of cases being handled at the secondary and tertiary levels of the health management system in the country.
Speaking further, the Deputy Governor disclosed that government would soon set up a special taskforce to move to every part of the state to identify and immunize children who are yet to receive immunization, particularly in remote parts of the state.
To this end, he directed the Board to deploy a greater number of the six water ambulances donated recently to the State Government by UNICEFand GAVI Foundation to operate in predominantly riverine Local Government Areas of the state.
“We appreciate the efforts of your Board towards improved primary healthcare service delivery in the state. But to be more effective, the Board should deploy the six water ambulances donated by the UNICEF to predominantly riverine areas of the state.
“In funding, we really want you to think outside the box to source for funds from the international oil companies operating in the state. They should contribute to your funding as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to complement what comes from the state and the local governments.
“While we are looking at the issues of recruitment of primary healthcare personnel, renovation of dilapidated health centers, we will soon set up a special taskforce to identify and immunize the 20,000 children who the UNICEF reported had not been immunized in the state”, he said.
Delivering his address, the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Primary Healthcare Board (BSPHCB), Dr. Markson Amaegbe-Tamuno, requested government to approve the recruitment of more health workers to be deployed to the grossly understaffed health centers across the state.
Amaegbe also appealed for the renovation of some dilapidated health centers, provision of a more befitting office for the Board, and the constitution of the local government primary healthcare authorities.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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