Deltans and Nigerians in general have again been taken aback and are in total shock over the anti-excellence and anti-people policies of the Delta State Government led by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the latest of which is the scrapping of all forms of Students’ Support Programme initiated and sustained by past governments, have come to be.
Just like the rat which cools and eats the feet of its victim, the Delta State Bursary and Scholarship Board in a memo with reference number DT/SB/61T2/52, on Wednesday, September 27 2017, announced the suspension of the 1st Class Graduate Scholarship Scheme.
This Award which entitles the beneficiary to a cash reward of Five Million Naira in addition to Postgraduate scholarship up to the doctoral level as well as automatic employment was one which Students of Delta State Origin who performed excellently in their various fields of learning looked forward to.
The message by the board which is currently receiving a backlash from all quarters in the State and beyond, is a mockery of the agenda of the current administration, ‘Prosperity For All Deltans’.
Education which remains the bedrock of any nation and a veritable tool in eradicating illiteracy, Crimes, Terrorism and Poverty, has received a TKO (Total Knock Out) from the Delta State Government.
Recently, the Governor himself was seen in the media being honoured in a supposed distinguished way at the Prestigious Citadel of Learning in the West, University of Ibadan (UI) and at the Cradle of Scholars in the East, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).
These universities known for producing some of the best brains in the Country, should in the light of this anti-excellence move of their awardee, hide their heads in shame for giving a precious award to someone whose policy negates the recognition of excellence.
As stated in the letter, reason given for the suspension of the special support scheme, was the alleged financial downturn in the State. But the questions begging for answers are; How much in Naira value gets to each beneficiary of this noble scheme? What is the actual number of 1st Class students of Delta State origin every year? Why choose to suspend such scheme at a time when the Economy is gradually recovering? Was there any fraud recorded in the Scheme and if any what has happened to the culprits?
When the prayers of hardworking Fathers and Mothers of Delta origin are being answered by the bagging of First Class Honors by their wards each year and relax off on the Scholarship scheme of the State Government to further learning process of these children, their hopes are now being dashed by the ignoble action of the present administration.
Suffice it to say that this attitude of the State government could be the reason for the low turnover of 1st Class graduates at the just concluded Convocation Ceremony of the State owned Institution, Delta State University (DELSU). It is true that when rewards are not attached to a competition, it becomes a mockery exercise.
While the over 300 political aides and halleluyah congregation of the Governor continues to feed fat, Deltans will never forget the era of anti-peoples policy made by the Okowa administration of declaring himself an enemy of Educational Excellence.
NYSC to investigate Finance Minister’s exemption certificate
The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC said on Monday that it has launched an investigation into an alleged fake exemption certificate in possession of Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
The organisation, in a three paragraph statement issued on Monday by its Director, Press and Public Relations, Adeyemi Adenike, confirmed that the minister applied for an exemption certificate from the NYSC.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the issue of the alleged forgery of an NYSC Exemption Certificate by the Honorable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
“Checking our records, Mrs. Adeosun did apply for an Exemption Certificate. We shall investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question.”
An online publication, Premium Times had reported that the Minister skipped the mandatory one year national service and obtained a forged exemption certificate.
NNPC kick-starts 7 critical gas projects to support 15GW power generation
A major stride in the attainment of national energy sufficiency was achieved in Lagos on Mobday with the commencement of technical framing workshop and subsequent project signing ceremony of the seven Critical Gas Development Projects (7CGDP) to deliver about 3.4 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day (bscfd) to bridge the foreseen medium term supply gap by 2020 on an accelerated basis.
The 7CGDP is an integral leg of the gas development strategy designed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to leverage the full potential of gas to meet the target of generating at least 15 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2020.
In a presentation at the event, Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru enthused that the projects would not only bridge the projected shortfall in supply upon completion, but would also signal the beginning of the process of closing demand-supply gap in the domestic gas market.
He said NNPC had engaged two World Class Project Management Consultants namely Delta Afrik/Worley Parson & Crestech/Penspen who will work with NPDC and NNPC JVPartners and other stakeholders to achieve set project deliverables. He listed some of the responsibilities of the project consultants to include: working with NNPC and partners to revalidate and carry out relevant technical studies to proposed development plans, provide financial advisory services for project funding/financing strategy and appraise the fiscal requirements for viability and advice on interventions that may be required.
The PMT are also expected to study and recommend fast-track tendering process for fielddevelopment and project implementation, establish realistic cost benchmark(s) for identified projects and develop project schedules and cost estimates for the respective projects among others.
Dr. Baru explained that in addition to the above, the NNPC Project Management groups would strengthen oversight function on the seven (7) critical gas development projects by ensuring prompt decision making and timely approvals in line with international best practices. The NNPC GMD said the Corporation was working closely with other agencies like the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian Content Monitoring and Development Board (NCMDB), among others, to ensure timely approvals for the project and also ensure that lease renewals requests related to these projects were supported for renewals by relevant agency.
Osagie Okunboe, Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) which is handling three out of the seven projects, pledged the commitment of the company to the successful execution of the 7CGDP, noting that Shell was fully aligned with Nigeria’s gas strategy and aspirations.
Highpoint of the event was the formal execution of agreement for the development of the 6.4 trillion cubic feet unitized gas fields (Samabri-Bisseni, Akri-Oguta, Ubie-Oshi fields by NNPC/Shell and NAOC JV.
The 7CGDP include: development of the 4.3 trillion cubic feet (TCF) Assa North/OhajiSouth field; development of the 6.4 TCF Unitized Gas fields (Samabri-Biseni, Akri-Oguta, Ubie-Oshi and Afuo-Ogbainbri); and the development of 7TCF NPDC’s OML 26,30 &42.Others include: development of 2.2 TCF Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) JV Gas Supply to Brass Fertilizer Company; cluster development of 5 TCF OML13 to support the expansion of Seven Energy Uquo Gas Plant; and the cluster development of 10 TCF Okpokunou/Tuomo West (OML 35& 62).
Meanwhile, the NNPC on Monday provided insight into the fire incident which ravaged parts of the PPMC Depot in Minna, Niger State. Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the 7CGDP launch in Lagos, the GMD said the fire incident which started late Saturday night after the collapse of the floating roof of one of the Petrol storage tanks had since been brought under control.
He thanked members of the neighbouring communities, the security agencies and emergency services for their support and prompt response.
What Buhari said about Saraki’s Supreme Court victory
President Muhammadu Buhari says the country’s judicial system, no matter the challenges it faces, is truly working and no one should be allowed to undermine or break it.
The President’ Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, said Buhari made the statement while reacting to Friday’s Supreme Court verdict on Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The Supreme Court had, on Friday, set free the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, of charges in the case of false assets declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
President Buhari said: “I have seen many instances where individuals and groups seek the destruction of the judicial institution in the foolish thinking of saving their skin, instead of going through the painstaking process of establishing their innocence.
“He persevered, and in the end, the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, says he is not guilty as charged.
“This is what I have done in the three elections in which I was cheated out, before God made it possible for me to come here the fourth time I ran for the office.”
The president said the Senate President’s journey from the lowest to the highest court of the land provided an important example for Nigerians to emulate.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Supreme Court had upheld the Code of Conduct Tribunal’s ruling, clearing Saraki of all 18 count charges bothering on assets declaration.