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•Past Heads of state and presidents of Nigeria: Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo

 

•By Sen. Godswill Akpabio

 

“I was a victim of the Civil War. I was one of those who suffered the pains of the war. I was born sometime in 1962; the civil war came really into our area in 1967. So, I was probably five or six years old during the war; and if I had been around nine years, I would probably have been conscripted.

During the Silverbird Man of the Year Award, there were pictures that were shown of the Civil War. Somebody, sitting by me, who is from the West, was asking if those things were acted: the Kwashiorkor-ridden children with their swollen tummies, ugly shapes and bony structures because of hunger and starvation.

The then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon attempted to explain that he tried everything to avoid the scenes that were being shown on the screen, that he did not want the war. The other person who could have answered him, unfortunately, that is Emeka Ojukwu, is dead. He said he tried everything to stop the war from breaking out but it’s only Ojukwu who could have answered whether he equally did his part in avoiding the war.

But something struck me: it was said that Gowon should be commended for initiating the three Rs: reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction. And I asked a very simple question, that I came with a written text but I wasn’t going to read it. I thanked Silverbird for the award; and I said I did not want to criticise my leaders because I am also now a leader. But I asked to be allowed to ask a question: how come reconstruction started in the West when the war was actually fought in the East? They started the Third Mainland Bridge, the National Theatre, the international airport, and so on, in the West, while the war was fought in the Eastern region.

And if we really wanted to ensure total reconciliation, how come every account holder in the eastern region was given only £20? It did not matter whether your father had £10,000,000 or £50,000,000 before the war; you were given just £20. It was a take it or leave it situation. If your family survived and there was an account holder alive, he/she went to the bank, and collected just £20.

Could £20 pounds solve the Kwashiorkor that we were seeing? Could it reconstruct the houses that were burnt? Could it produce food? A lot of other things happened that I did not mention on that occasion. Don’t forget that it was shortly after the war in 1971 that the policy of indigenisation started, where most of the foreign industries and companies were sold to Nigerians, and the war-ravaged eastern regions, which include the entire South-South and the rest of them, could not buy, because no one who did not have money to even feed or clothe himself would have had no money to buy any industry.

They needed money from reconstruction, and I would have thought that reconstruction would have also started from the East. I just asked because we were lucky to have the personal dramatis of the war right in still alive : General T. Y. Danjuma, General Yakubu Gowon, General Obasanjo, General Buhari and others. It is very rare to see these former heads of state in just one place, so I had to ask.”

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NEWS

Uduaghan: NOC investiture, a big inspiration

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Former Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has described as a big inspiration his inclusion on the list of prominent personalities to be honoured by the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC). Uduaghan was on Wednesday listed as one of the NOC patrons to be honoured for their contributions to the Olympic movement.

Uduaghan, whose tenure as governor in Delta State witnessed massive results in the sports sector, was listed alongside former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Oba S. A Elegushi, Gbong Gwon Jos, Da Jacob Buba Gyang, Sir Mark Wabara, Dr. Zainab Bagudu, Major-General Adamu Dyeri (rtd), M. A. Abubakar and Alhaji Bashari Mohammed Gumel by the NOC for its investiture ceremony for patrons on October 23 in Lagos.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Uduaghan, who is aspiring for Delta South Senatorial ticket under the APC in the 2019 elections, said his inclusion on the list was an indication that the NOC took proper records, and also appreciated the work he did for sports while he was governor of Delta State.

“There is always a reward for anything you do in life, good or bad. While I was Governor of Delta State, some people accused me of paying so much attention to the sports sector. But I refused to back down because sports is one of the avenues to prepare the youths for future challenges. I was an athlete in my youthful days, and I enjoyed every bit of the sector as governor because Team Delta actually got the results we wanted. I will continue to play my role by giving Nigerian youths the motivation they need to excel in national and international competitions,” Uduaghan stated.

As patrons of the Olympic Movement, the honourees will become iconic international sports personalities, carrying the emblem of Nigeria globally.

One bold step Uduaghan took shortly after he assumed office as governor of Delta State in 2007 was the creation of Delta Sports Commission, which gave sports activities a professional and institutional leverage.

Team Delta was able to continue its dominance in the National Sports Festival, winning at KADA 2009, second at Garden City 2011 and champions at Eko 2012.

Uduaghan’s administration also saw Delta winning the National Channel’s Kids Cup in Lagos in 2013, while Warri Wolves qualified for the finals of the 2014 Federation Cup, the first time in thirty years by any male club from the state. His passion for sports led to the revival of secondary school football competition by staging the biggest Governor’s Cup competition ever among public schools in 2013 and 2014.

His cash motivation for athletes gave the likes of Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume and Divine Oduduru the backing they needed to excel at various competitions.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Delta Govt establishes six IDPs camps

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…To forward 2019 budget proposals to DTHA soon

 

The Delta State Government has approved the establishment of six Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps to cater for residents of the state whose homes are in flood prone areas to avoid loss of lives and properties.

Also put in place is the state Flood Management Committee to handle the welfare of the IDPs.

The State Commissioner for Information, Ogbueshi Patrick Ukah, disclosed these after the State Executive Council meeting held on Tuesday inside the EXCO chamber, Government House, Asaba.

He said that the Flood Management Committee, which is headed by the Commissioner for Bureau for Special Duties, has the Commissioners for Health, Environment, Information, Local Government Affairs, Women Affairs, Community and Social Development and the Chairmen of about 16 Local Government Areas identified to be affected by the flood as members.

The local government areas are Aniocha South, Bomadi,  Burutu, Warri South, Warri North, Warri South West, Patani, Ughelli South and Isoko North.

Also identified to be affected are Isoko South, Udu, Okpe, Oshimili South, Oshimili North,  Ndokwa East and Ndokwa West.

He noted that members of the committee has since commenced work towards achieving the purpose for which the committee was established.

Ogbueshi Ukah disclosed that the IDP camps are located at Ogbe-Afor Primary School, Asaba, Oshimili South, Ewulu Grammar School, Ewulu, Aniocha South And Utagba-Ogbe Technical College  Kwale,  Ndokwa West.

Others are Emede Grammar School  Emede, Isoko South, Omorka Primary School, Illah, Oshimili North and Alaka Grammar School, Ozoro, Isoko North.

He said that the people of Tuomo in Burutu and Tsekelewu in Warri North have been relocated to higher ground and relief materials sent to them.

According to the Commissioner for Information, the EXCO extensively discussed the 2019 budget proposals which will soon be forwarded to the Delta State House of Assembly for deliberation and passage into law as the 2019 budget

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NEWS

Delta South: Rotation of power not tied to political parties – Isoko, Itsekiri leaders

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Leaders of Isoko and Itsekiri ethnic Nationalities in Delta South have stressed that the age-long rotational power agreement between the Ijaws, Isokos and Itsekiri for Delta South Senatorial Seat was not tied to political party consideration, but hinged on the principle of fairness, justice and equity.
The clarification was made on Wednesday at Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State when a high-powered delegation led by the Ologbotsere of Warri, Chief Ayirimi Emami visited the leadership of Isoko ethnic Nationality, with a view of addressing pockets of agitation brewing regarding Delta South Senatorial Seat as it affects the forthcoming 2019 election.
Isoko and Itsekiri leaders Prominent Isoko leaders that received the select-members of Warri Council of Chiefs were: President-General of Isoko Development Union, IDU, High Chief Iduh Awadhe, Chief (Dr.) Dennis Etaluku, one-time Secretary to State Government, Sir Simeon Efenudu, renowned educationist, Dr. Idodo Umeh and Chief Mike Osigie. Chief, Brown Mene who spoke on behalf of the Itsekiri delegation, noted that the rotational agreement for the Delta South Senatorial Seat between the Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri dates back to the second republic, to avoid a situation where the three tribes will fight themselves.
While stressing that the agreement “was not based on political party”, Chief Mene went down memory lane to mention occupants of the position, like late Justice Atake, followed by Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, late Chief Francis Okpozo, before Chief Stella Omu represented the district in the current republic between 1999 and 2003, when James Manager took over and remained in the position till date “like a broken record”.
He quipped that it was the turn of Itsekiri to produce Delta South Senator in 2019, assuring that Itsekiri Nation is committed to ensure that the person that will emerge will represent the Ijaw, Isoko and itsekiri interest, just as he noted that the brotherly engagement with the Isoko leaders will be extended to their Ijaw counterparts.
Isoko leaders such as Chief D.A Etaluku, Chief Idodo Umeh, Sir Simeon Efenudu and Chief Mike Osigie while speaking in the same vein, endorsed the itsekiri position of power rotation as regards the Senatorial Seat and expressed their support for Itsekiri candidacy come 2019.
They affirmed that as a way to end the current political logjam, the Itsekiri people who they described as trustworthy and straight-forward should be backed for the Senatorial Seat.
President-General of Isoko Development Union, IDU, Chief Iduh Amadhe in his submission, declared that it will amount to “practicing political brigandage” against equity and justice for anybody in the Senatorial district to seek for 4th or 5th term. Chief Amadhe noted that Isoko Nation will not present any candidate for the Senatorial position in 2019, stressing, “We (Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri) must come together and sign agreement of maximum of two terms”, for each ethnic nationality as it affects Delta South.
The Isoko and Itsekiri leaders agreed that renewed engagement should be extended to their Ijaw neighbor to make for a better tripartite synergy. The Prime Minister of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayirimi Emami who led the 12-man Itsekiri delegation, expressed happiness with the disposition of Isoko leaders and assured that they will engage their Ijaw counterparts on the optimism that they will key into the restart of the rotation agreement.

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