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Reuben Okoya, new face of hope in Bayelsa

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Politics is a game of influencers, and it is about those who have influenced their people most, especially when it comes to their yearning aspirations. A man that is making a grand entry into the political turf of Bayelasa state is Reuben Okoya; and his solid pedigree and wherewithal are speaking volumes for him in the firmament of the volatile politics of his state. His entry into the gubernatorial contest has just suddenly altered the political calculations in the state of “glory of all land.” And like an eagerly-awaited breath of fresh air, Reuben Okoya, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a former Commissioner for Special Duties and Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC,) is now stealing the political show, as he is now the toast of all who matter in the politics of Bayelsa State. For one, Okoya has an edge over others who are similarly jostling for the throne. And that is his ability to combine the wisdom of the elders with the dynamism of the youths, which is obviously lacking in most of those parading themselves to take a shot at the Bayelsa government house. Yet others who share his political philosophy believe that Okoya if given the chance will bring into the state’s governance; creativity, innovation, style, patience and commitment, the qualities for which he has been credited with while superintending over political offices in the past. A deft manager of human and material resources, the architect and scion of the late monarch HRM Ezekiel Okoya of Ekpetiama is today canvassing a new approach to addressing issues of under-development and injustice in the Niger Delta, which his people have been subjected to over the years but which when tackled in a number new ways would spur growth in the oil-rich region and bring about better life for the people. Speaking at the recent 2019 Isaac Boro Day anniversary and wreath-laying ceremony for the late icon of struggle, at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, Okoya, a popular philanthropist, said the time had come for fresh perspectives to be adopted in tackling youth restiveness and related issues in the region, while he urging the Ijaws, especially the youths, to acquire more education in order to deepen the struggle for fairness and equity. Okoya, a leading contender for the PDP governorship ticket in the state, said through proper communication and display of intellectualism the Ijaw people could get the understanding of others and attract attention to their sufferings and general under- development of their land. Commending Boro for his sacrifice for the Ijaw nation, he said that people had at some point resorted to armed struggle, but it was important and more effective to fight with the brain using the tool of communication and engagement, noting that every war has always ended on the round table through superior arguments. The PDP stalwart said Nigeria’s well-being has and is still depended on the crude oil in the Niger Delta, and called for dialogue and education in order to convince other ethnic groups that the indigenes of the region should get more benefits. Arc. Rueben Okoya is a 1978 alumnus of University of Oklahoma, USA, where he bagged a bachelor’s of science in Environmental Design (BSED), and a master of Architecture (M. Arch) from Florida A and M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA in 1984. He is a member of Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and American Institute of Architects (AIA). He comes from the illustrious family of Late His Royal Majesty Ezekiel Pappah Okoya of Bumoundi in Ekpetiama Clan, the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama kingdom and late Mrs. Sussanah Okoya of the eminent family of Chief Michael Engule Soba of Igbedi, both of Bayelsa State. He is a devout Christian with true greatness wrapped in humility, simplicity and a strong unshakable faith in the will of God. Arc., Okoya is happily married to Natalie, who is also a technocrat, they are blessed with lovely children. With his ‘’ROK” Foundation, he has always been given to the less-privileged in the society. In his benevolence, hundreds of people (individuals and families) across the nation have received sundry cash and material donations since 2003. His passion is to reach out to a greater number of people, who are in dare need for assistance, and that has been the fore focuses on meeting the various needs of the people in Nigeria beginning with Bayelsa State. Reuben Okoya (ROK) Foundation strives to ensure a better quality of life for the people by organizing valuable outreach programs that positively impact and contribute to their economic well-being.

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I Wont Reverse Minimum Wage Payment, But Heads Will Roll – El-Rufai

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El-rufai

The Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai has disclosed that his government has no intention to reverse the recommend minimum wage being paid civil servants in the state, he mentioned however, that workers would be sacked in view of the limited recourses available to the state.

 

The Governor made disclosure while informing newsmen in Kaduna, of the sack of 99 political appointees in his government.
He said the disengaged appointees constitute 30 percent of political office holders.

 

He said the state has started implementing its rightsizing policy but is yet to disengage any state civil servant.

 

 

The governor disclosed that only agencies connected to the local government system have disengaged staff and these include the 23 local government councils, SUBEB and the Primary Health Care Board.

 

“So far, 99 political appointees have lost their jobs but we have not commenced rightsizing civil servants. We want to be fair with regards to civil servants. We had earlier promised that before we reduce the size of the civil service, we will start with political appointees and we have done that,’’ he said.

 

The governor, who spoke in Hausa, said the rightsizing of civil servants will still go on as planned because of dwindling revenues that is accruing to the state government from the federation account.

 

‘’However, civil servants with question marks on the veracity of their data have to be given a chance to clear the doubts before any action is taken on them,’’ he clarified.

 

 

The governor said his government has employed 11,000 more workers in the health sector, Kaduna State University as well as primary and secondary schools across the state.

 

 

The governor disclosed that it is a fallacy to allege that the salaries of political appointees account for the bloated personnel cost of the State Government.

 

 

‘’In March 2021, the salaries of these political appointees amounted to N259 million , while civil servants were paid N3.13 billion, aside from costs related to state contributions to pension, accrued rights and other personnel costs. So, it is false to insinuate that political appointees are the ones that guzzle most of the state’s resources,’’ he said.

 

 

Justifying the rightsizing of the public service, he said that all states and the federal government are affected by the shortfall of revenue and some states have even reverted to paying the old monthly minimum wage of N18,000.

 

 

The governor, however, promised that Kaduna state will not reverse the N30,000 minimum wage that it has started paying.

 

 

“We are the first government, federal or state, to pay the minimum wage. We will retain the minimum wage of N30,000 and the consequential adjustments that gave most of our civil servants a 66% salary increase. We will also retain the minimum pension of N30,000 monthly.

 

“The unified Local Government Service continues to pay the minimum wage, even though they varied the consequential adjustments for their workers below the level for state civil servants,’’ he added.

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Ohanaeze, IPOB Rubbish Northern Group Over N100m Bounty On Nnamdi Kanu

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Ohanaeze

The Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Friday hit back at the Northern Consensus Movement (NCM) which, on Thursday, declared IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, wanted and offered a reward of N100m to anyone who can bring him to Nigeria.

 

 

Kanu had taken up residence in the United Kingdom after jumping bail in respect of treason charges filed against him in October 2015 by the federal government.

 

The NCM at a press conference in Abuja late Thursday blamed Kanu and the Eastern Security Network, which is suspected to be the militant arm of IPOB, for the recent attacks on Northerners in the Southeast.

 

 

Responding to the NCM’s statement, the Secretary-General of a faction of Ohanaeze, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, asked the northern groups to direct their efforts elsewhere.

 

 

He said their N100 million bounties should be placed on the successor of the slain Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.

 

 

He said: “We want to tell the groups being sponsored by some northern presidential aspirants to place the bounty on the new leader of Boko Haram terrorist group that has just emerged after the death of Shekau.

 

“Nnamdi Kanu has an address in London or in Germany where his headquarters of IPOB is. There is no need of searching for Kanu. He is not in Nigeria; he has an address in London as a British citizen.

 

 

“They should just use the N100 million bounties given to them by northern politicians, who are trying to destabilise the Southeast, to have easy root for the 2023 presidential ticket of major political parties in Nigeria, especially of the PDP.

 

 

“They should place the bounty on Shekau’s successor, who has no address, who is living in the forest, the terrorist group that took arms against the government for the last six years.

 

 

“They should not cry more than the bereaved; we will take care of the Southeast and ensure normalcy returns. As far as we are concerned, that bounty is inconsequential and political. It is not necessary, only a means to continue to heat up tension in the polity.”

 

 

Isiguzoro dismissed the NCM allegations of killing of Northerners in the Southeast, saying: “for the purpose of record and from the last time, there has not been any killing, except the accidental killing of Ahmed Gulak in Owerri.

 

 

“There has not been killing recorded anywhere in the Southeast about Northern people except some nefarious activities of unknown gunmen and killer Fulani herdsmen who have been attacking police stations and government facilities and killing both Igbo and indigenes from other parts of the country.”

 

 

Responding for IPOB, its spokesman, Emma Powerful, said the group would not dignify the northern groups with response because “they are inconsequential groups and they don’t know what we’re doing.”

 

 

He added: “claiming that they’re representing Arewa means they represent nobody.

 

 

“We pity them for challenging Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB because they don’t know what we are made of; they can rant from here to Arewa; we don’t know such groups before.

 

 

“They want people to hear their ranting so that people will know that they exist because people don’t know them.

 

 

“People that matter in the world are talking about Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB and Biafra. We are ahead of them all.”

 

 

During its Thursday press conference, NCM said it was declaring Nnamdi Kanu wanted for the continuation of criminal charges against him.

 

 

 

It is offering a reward of N100 million to anyone who can produce him in Nigeria for that purpose.

 

Kanu had taken up residence in the United Kingdom after jumping bail in respect of treason charges filed against him in October 2015 by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

 

The NCM blamed Kanu and the Eastern Security Network, which is suspected to be the militant arm of IPOB, for the recent attacks on Northerners in the Southeast.

 

It asked the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the European Union to ensure Kanu’s repatriation to Nigeria.

 

Dr. Awwal Aliyu, NCM spokesman, said members of the group took it upon themselves as active citizens of Nigeria to declare Nnamdi Kanu wanted for “crimes against humanity and for instigating the killing of innocent Northerners in the Southeast via his hate speech.”

 

Kanu, according to Aliyu, must answer for “the killing and destruction of Northerners residing and undertaking lawful businesses in the southeastern part of Nigeria.

 

He added: “So, we are placing a bounty of N100m as an offer to anyone who can produce him alive, hale, hearty, and uninjured to us for onward delivery to the security agencies for the continuation of his prosecution.”

 

He asked the US, the UK, and the EU, as champions of democracy, rule of law, and freedoms of speech and expression, to “kindly and humbly respect Nigeria’s sovereignty and facilitate the repatriation of Nnamdi Kanu to Nigeria so that he can face his treason, and possibly a fresh terrorism and genocide charges against innocent citizens of Nigeria.”

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Obasanjo Contributed To Nigeria’s Crisis, He Should Mind His Utterances –Femi Adesina

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Obasanjo

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says former President Olusegun Obasanjo contributed to the current chaos in the country, adding that the ex-military general should mind his utterances.

 

He stated this on Friday in a piece titled, ‘Nigeria’s Unity And All The Iberiberism’.

 

 

Adesina wrote, “The sabre-rattling about Nigeria’s unity and the possibility of disintegration has got to the point of Iberiberism (a bastardised Igbo word which could mean stupidity). Some people have no other business than doomsday predictions of a crumbled, collapsed Nigeria, as if they actually fast and pray for that eventuality.

 

 

“When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was President between 1999 and 2007, they predicted that he was going to be the last President of a united Nigeria. It didn’t happen. When Umaru Yar’Adua came, they said he was too sick to hold Nigeria together. The country stood.

 

 

“Under Goodluck Jonathan, they said the man was too weak, and different components of the country would soon say, ‘to your tents oh Israel.’ Nigeria survived. And for six years under Muhammadu Buhari, they have not changed their songs. The Somaliasation of Nigeria was on the way.

 

The Fulanisation of the country would be the final death knell. But Nigeria lives. It trudges on from day to day, month to month, and will surely survive.”

 

Adesina said though some people dwell on negativity, “some fathers of the land will not fold their hands and see Nigeria go down”.

 

“Fortunately, we have one of them as President now. The young Muhammadu Buhari spent 30 months in the frontlines as a young army officer, fighting the war of unity. And he has said it: we will not be around and watch Nigeria go down. Never. We will rather speak to insurrectionists in the language they understand.

 

“And what of Olusegun Obasanjo, a civil war hero. Despite all that he has contributed to the current upheavals by his actions and inactions, words and bile, he says it is idiotic to wish Nigeria disintegration now. Good. But let us put our money where our mouth is. Let Baba mind his thoughts, and his language,” the presidential spokesman added.

 

 

“Nigeria will survive. The polity will endure. And the component parts will live together in amity and brotherhood. Any other option is Iberiberism,” he concluded.

 

 

Obasanjo, a military head of state from February 1976 to September 1979, was Nigeria’s democratically elected president between May 1999 and May 2007.

 

PUNCH

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