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Bayelsa Unveils Committee On New Gateway Road

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The Bayelsa State Government has earmarked the stretch of land running from Igbogene to Onopa along the Phase Two of the New Yenagoa Gateway Road as a planning area within the state capital.
The State’s Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, disclosed this at an enlarged stakeholders’ meeting involving the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the office of the Surveyor General, and the Bayelsa Physical Planning and Development Board, as well as traditional rulers drawn from Igbogene to Onopa.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, stated that the Lawmaker representing Yenagoa Constituency One in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Oforji Oboku, and the Obenibe of Epie, King Malla Sasime, also attended the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Senator Ewhrudjakpo explained that government’s intention to designate both sides of the Gateway Road as a planning area was aimed at preventing the disorderly development of structures in the area.
He noted that Yenagoa, the state capital, is supposed to be a cynosure of Bayelsa, but due to uncoordinated and haphazard construction of buildings everywhere, it is yet to achieve the aesthetic beauty of a capital city.
According to the Deputy Governor, both government and the various communities, including land developers, are to blame for not implementing the original Yenagoa City Master plan over the years, which he noted, had resulted in the present chaotic structural status of the state capital.
Shedding more light on the proposed plan, Senator Ewhrudjakpo said government’s intention was not to acquire all the land in the designated area, but to map out roads and allocate areas for specific public utilities to ensure orderly and planned development.
To achieve this, he announced the setting up of an 11-man Technical Committee chaired by the Executive Secretary of the State Physical Planning and Development Board, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei
The Committee comprises five representatives from the communities, and six officials from the ministry, the Physical Planning and Development Board, the Surveyor General’s office, and the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Andrew Esau, allayed the fears of the communities, assuring that they have right and access to their lands, but that government’s interest is to regulate development in the area.
In his contribution, the Executive Chairman of the Physical Planning and Development Board, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, said government needed the cooperation of the various communities to successfully carry out its urban development plan in the area.
On their part, the Member representing Yenagoa Constituency 1 in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Oforji Oboku, the Obenibe of Epie Kingdom, King Malla Sasime, and all the traditional rulers present at the meeting endorsed the decision of government.
While commending the present administration’s development strides, they, however, called for adequate sensitization campaigns in all the affected communities to enable the people understand the good plan of government for the area.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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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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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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