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Aregbesola Preaches Compliance As Ijeshaland Students Gets ICT Centre

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The Federal Government has said that it will continue to equip students and citizens with ICT skills such as machine learning and artificial intelligence and facilitate ICT adoption in teaching and learning in order to prepare them for the future that will be strictly driven by technology.
The Federal Government made the pledge at the Commissioning of the Digital Nigeria Centre (DNC) by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who represented President Muhammadu Buahri, GCFR, at the event which held at Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Ilesa, State of Osun, on Friday.
“I am aware that the programme was conceptualized to promote the availability and utilisation of ICT and resources of the Internet in teaching and learning in public schools in underserved, unserved and rural areas. In order words, this Digital Nigeria Centre has been designed to promote the connection of public secondary schools to broadband internet in Ilesa community, and the goal is to equip beneficiaries with 21st Century skills.
“More concretely, the specific objectives of Digital Nigeria Centre include; increasing ICT literacy among school teachers and students, providing a platform for accessing online educational resources, equiping students with ICT skills, facilitating ICT adoption in teaching and learning and ultimately to increase pass rate in mathematics, English language and other science subjects,” the Minister stated.
In his speech titled, ‘Digital Skills and Literacy for Jobs and Social Inclusion’, the Minister described the thorough and timely execution of the project as significant and commendable, noting that it prepares Nigerians in advance with digital skill and literacy for a future that will soon be driven strictly by technology, saying some major auto makers have decided to stop the production of combustion engines in the next 18 years.
“Interestingly, at least six major automakers, including Ford, Mercedes Benz, General Motors and Volvo joined the governments of 30 countries in November last year to pledge to stop the production and sales of internal combustion engine cars by 2040.
“The implication is that even a mechanic should be ICT compliant. Any mechanic that can’t use ICT tools will find himself out of job. Indeed, in the next 20 years, anyone not ICT compliant may not be part of humanity again, considering that it will be impossible to function and interact with other humans,” Ogbeni Aregbesola stated.
The Minister, also noted that the project is also a testament to the unwavering commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to deploying technology to better the citizens’ quality of life and experience, saying It also goes to emphasise the preeminent role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for improving standards of living as a people.
“I will like to express my profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for his relentless commitment in ensuring delivery of gains of democratic order to the generality of Nigerians.
“To him, the welfare of Nigerians, especially our teaming youths remains a top priority for this administration. The continuous benefits the country has been deriving from effectively leveraging ICT to run governance more efficiently has been phenomenal,” the Minister remarked.
The minister said according to a 2018 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), titled: Digital Skills Critical for Jobs and Social Inclusion, major technology breakthroughs in next 10 years will impact forms of work and the structure of labour markets as well as other aspects of life such as education, health, and agriculture.
“From a skills development perspective, the implications of technological change are expected to be profound, both for the re-skilling and up-skilling of our adults and for the education of the youth and children.
“In this context, developing capacities for anticipating the changing needs for digital skills for work and life is crucial for all countries and that should be of interest to all of us,” the Minister revealed.
In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, who was represented by the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Communication Commission, Prof. Adeolu Akande, stated that the DNC centre will no doubt help in fast-tracking the acquisition of digital skills required for the implementation of the digital economy drive of the Federal Government especially to the younger generation.
Prof. Pantami added that the digital skills which are a range of abilities and aptitudes required by users of digital devices, communication applications, and networks to access and manage information will also in-turn boost National Security and enhance National Growth and Progress.
The Governor the State of Osun, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola represented at the event by his Commissioner for Innovation, Science and Technology, Dr. Babatunde Olawale opined that Nigeria cannot be left behind by the digital revolution of the world noting that his administration also focuses on building a sustainable economy through e-government and his government is grateful to the Federal Government for siting the DNC project in Osun.
Responding to the gesture of the Federal Government, the Principal, Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Mrs. Ramota Ilesanmi, thanked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for selecting the school for the project saying it will go a long way in meeting the ICT needs of not only the students, but select residents of the city.
The representative of the president subsequently announced the establishment of President Muhammadu Buhari N100 million Technology Empowerment Fund to create world class technology experts, targeting 2000 youths in the next two years in Ijesaland who will be provided with devices for training in different areas such as software development and design, amongst others.
The Digital Nigeria Centre (DNC) is a project facilitated through the Universal Service Provision Fund of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

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APC Convention: CPC May Clinch It As Four Contenders Emerge

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A prominent member of President Buhari’s defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the APC alliance, has been tipped to emerge the next chairman of the coalition that came into being prior to the 2015 presidential election.
 February 26 has been fixed for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) convention.
Report says President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors are looking at the direction of two former governors of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura and Senator Abdullahi Adamu; former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Saliu Mustapha; and former Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari to pick the national chairman of the party.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu chairs the party’s reconciliation committee and Bwari, who was a minister in Buhari’s first tenure, have not formally indicated their interest in the race.
The report’s said a section of the presidency was considering them as likely successors to the Yobe State governor and caretaker chairman of the party, Mai Mala Buni.
Though the party has dispelled the report that it has zoned positions, the four aspirants who are being considered for the party’s plum position are from the North Central geopolitical zone.
A report quoted sources close to the presidency as saying the body language of the president favours the former Governor of Nasarawa State, Al-Makura.
“Though it is very difficult to read the president’s mind on this, his body language showed that he has preference for Al-Makura, who was the lone governor produced by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC),” the source said.
It further said that Al-Makura’s successor in Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, has reached out to many of his colleagues to support his predecessor to pick the chairmanship seat.
But those who are against him have drawn the attention of his promoters to the issue of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was a guest of the EFCC alongside his wife, Mairo, on July 29, last year.
A report also says some of the governors are pushing for the candidature of Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
The former Nasarawa governor, who chairs the APC’s reconciliation committee, has not indicated interest in the race.
Those promoting him said the ranking lawmaker if given the opportunity, will conclude the reconciliation moves he has started. They said he has the capacity to lead the party to victory in 2023.
But another section in the party was priming Saliu Mustapha, who hails from Kwara State as the consensus chairmanship candidate. Mustapha, according to those promoting him has ‘’no baggage like the former governors.’’
However, the name of Abubakar Bawa Bwari, from Niger State, a former minister during Buhari’s first tenure is also being mentioned.
Other contenders for the chairmanship seat include former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff; former Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda and Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume (a former governor of Benue State); Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger East); Sunny Moniedafe and Mohammed Saidu Etsu.
Meanwhile, another report has put the key of the final decision in President Buhari’s hands.
 “The issue of consensus has been settled. What we are waiting for is who the candidate will be. Like in 2018, it is Mr President that will give the final approval. The governors may recommend but it is the president that will approve it.
”People around the president are pushing for the selection of one of the aspirants who are of the defunct CPC, founded by the president”
A chieftain of the APC from the North, Barrister Abdullahi Jalo was also quoted to have said, “What is happening in the APC now, you can’t conclude but you can draw a line.
“The issue of who becomes the next national chairman will be decided by the governors. So, any aspirant that the governor’s support will certainly emerge,” he said. Another chieftain of the party from the South, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Al-Makura will be favoured.
The party has in the meantime, released a schedule of activities for its national convention.
The timetable was released shortly after the meeting of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, held at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
According to the schedule, the party would first receive the Interim Report of the National Reconciliation Committee headed by Abdullahi Adamu, on January 31.
It also indicated that consideration and adoption of reports of state congresses, the inauguration of state executives, sales of forms to all aspirants vying for national offices would take place on February 2, 3 and 14, 2022, among others.
The schedule was signed by the Secretary of the caretaker committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe.

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2023: Reps Speaker, Gbaja, Seeks Increase In Educational Qualification For Presidential Candidates

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Passport,

Ahead of the 2023 General elections, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has stressed the need for the National Assembly (NASS) to look into section 131 (d) of the 1999 constitution with a view to increasing the minimum educational qualification for persons aspiring to be future Presidents of Nigeria.
The Speaker, who was a guest lecturer on Monday at the 52nd Convocation Lecture of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said there is also need to increase the minimum educational qualification for other top offices including the National Assembly as against the current minimum requirement of a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent.
He said, “As we have reduced the age for eligibility to contest those offices, so also, we should increase the minimum educational requirement. We cannot be talking about raising the standard of education and requiring the barest minimum for people vying for political offices,” he said.
“This provision is a product of a different time and reflect the reality of that time. It is time to take another look at the provision. Let us lift our gaze from considerations of small things to focus on the pursuit and achievement of grand ambitions that lift us all and save the future. Let us raise a generation in whose hearts the light of understanding is lit and cannot be put out,”
According to Gbajabiamila, this will be another step in reforming the nation’s electoral system and providing strong leadership for the country.
While he recalled that prior to the 2019 elections, the constitution was successfully amended to effect the ‘Not too young to Run’ request and ensure the eligibility of young people to aspire to high offices; he expressed that towards the 2023 elections, a Direct Primary election method will increase greater participation in the leadership recruitment process.
Delivering the lecture titled, ‘Building Back Better: Creating a New Framework for Tertiary Education in Nigeria in the 21st Century’, the Speaker submitted that a good education produces citizens invested in the progress and wellbeing of their society and who have the wherewithal to take positive action to make those societies better.
“The well educated citizen in this paradigm understands his society, think logically about its problems without being overwhelmed by half-truths, prejudices and propaganda and is therefore, able to make informed and valid contributions to the administration and progress of that society,”
“When we think about education policy, when we consider laws and implement directives relating to education in our country, particularly tertiary education, our highest objectives must be to deliver an education system capable of producing thus archetype of an individual.”
Commenting on the issue of how tertiary education in Nigeria is being financed; he emphasised that building the kind of institutions needed and desired requires significant investments.
He further pointed out that the current approach is neither adequate nor sustainable as it heavily depends on subventions from the Federal and state governments.
“Nigeria must therefore agree to use the instruments of policy and legislation to advance a new framework for funding tertiary education in Nigeria; noting that the new system should ideally provide funding for all students who qualify so that that burden of school fees and living expenses can be deferred and paid over a period.”
He added that it must also ensure that the institutions themselves get paid for their services so that resources are available to operate effectively.

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APC Ekiti Crashes As Key Figures Quit Party For ADC

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The political fortunes of the All Progressives Congress (APC), further dwindled Wednesday, as scores of its strong members converged in Ado, Ekiti State capital, to declare loyalty for the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Deputy National Chairman of the ADC, Dr Bamidele Ajadi, who was on hand to receive the defecting politicians, hailed the move and assured better days of mutual relationship, devoid of greed and aggrandizement.
According to Ajadi, his party, the ADC, has resolved to treat the Ekiti new entrants with honest compassion to ensure that they provide the route for the people to cross to the Oke Ayoba government office, come June this year.
The ADC was formed, first as Alliance for Democratic Change in 2005 but was renamed African Democratic Congress in 2006 at the point of registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The party made a significant impact in the south western Nigeria in 2015 when it cleared five House of Representatives seats in Oyo State.
The gathering today which showcased top-notched members of the APC in Ekiti State comprised majorly members of the South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA), a political pressure group which has been agitating for the emergence of APC Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the presidential choice for 2023.
The former APC members across the 16 local councils of the State, said they were leaving the APC for ADC as a result of leadership ineptitudes and a wanton resolve to dwarf the party by some key party leaders, through applications of lethal therapies in resolving internal crises.
The gathering in Ado Ekiti, represent the state and local councils’ officials in the new party.
They expressed that the lingering political hopelessness in the state and the gloomy chances for the APC to win coming elections, was fulcrum of their decision.

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