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Senate 2019: Delta South roots for Emmanuel Uduaghan

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Electorates in the Delta South Senatorial District have vowed not to treat the 2019 elections with kid’s gloves, especially as it has to do with their representation in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

Majority of those whose opinions were sampled agreed that they have not been feeling the impact of democratic dividends for a long time, but in 2019, things will be different.

To this end, while politicians are making the rounds with marathon consultations and secret meetings, they have already weighed in potential candidates who are aspiring to the position, even as the Independent National Electoral commission has not officially declared it campaign open.

Two heavyweights have emerged in the district: the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan and the incumbent senator representing Delta South in the Senate, Senator James Manager are said to be consulting leaders of the party and those that matter in determining their chances for the senate seat.

There are other candidates also, most notably being one Chief Michael Ejele, a member of Delta State House of Assembly from Sapele who has already littered the state with his posters for the plump job. However, political pundits have already written him off as his chances are slim. They view his moves as a tactical weapon to negotiate his return to the Delta State House of Assembly and not really the senate seat.

So, the race is between the incumbent, Senator James Manager who has spent 12 years in the National Assembly and is still itching to return there, and the immediate-past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.

As the people clamour for Dr. Uduaghan to represent them, everyone is waiting to see how the party will manage the choice of candidacy between these two political heavyweights and the aftermath of it so that it will not affect the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections.

From all indications, the immediate-past governor is not really a problem to the party because he is known to be a party man who believes so much in the ideology and development of the party while the party’s fear at the moment is  Senator James manager who inversely is not so strong in the belief of abiding to party decision and may decide to defect if eventually he does not win the party’s primaries.

James Manager has a lot of hurdles to clear if truly he desires to return to the national assembly. One of such hurdles is that the people of Delta South are said to be tired of his representation. Their argument is hinged on the fact that he has been in the national assembly for over 12 years and they can’t even feel his impact.

And for Dr. Uduaghan, he is not an upstart in politics. He is synonymous with excellence. He is not only a hard worker but a master planner whom observers believe stands a better chance to face the growing strength of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state. This political oracle held fort while Chief James Ibori was away and the fortunes of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the state did not dwindle nor did lose the state to the opposition.

As governor of Delta state, Dr. Uduaghan created a lot of landmark achievements which still stands today in the Big Heart state. Though, Dr. Uduaghan has not officially declared his interest for the Senate, sources disclosed that he is already consulting with those that matter. Today, he would have been in senate but for his respect and belief in party supremacy, he shelved the idea in 2015 to enable Senator James Manager have another stint.

If he eventually declares his interest, many factors will work in Dr. Uduaghan’s favour. One, as a governor of Delta, he did a lot for the state in health, education, roads, job creation and meeting the needs of youths and aged in the state. There is no one who did not benefit from his programmes and this has endeared him to the people. Dr. Uduaghan commands respect amongst all the ethnic groups in the state, so it will be difficult for his opponent to defeat him, our source said.

Pundits believe that since he was able to keep the political structure Ibori left behind intact, except for a few ones who left, party members will support him any day because he has proven to be a strong PDP man.

According to our source, “the party itself knows that if Uduaghan is not given the senate ticket for Delta South, it will definitely lose the seat to opposition.

Dr. Uduaghan is highly experience as a politician. Chief Olu Falae, former secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria summed it up during Uduaghan’s 60th birthday celebration, declaring that as a commissioner for Health and later secretary to the state government and later governor, he has garnered experience politically. “He is one of the people who have a lot of experience which is basically lacking in Nigeria. To that extent we have learnt a lot from him; he is very calm and he listens before he talks.”

As the drama keeps unfolding, political analysts are watching to see how the ruling party will handle the choice of its flag bearer in the forthcoming election in the state, with the general fear that if poorly handled, the seat will end up being a plus for opposition in the district.

Also lending their voices in support of Dr. Uduaghan’s senatorial move is a socio-political pressure group founded on the philosophy of working against all forms of selfish politicians /politicking in Delta State, the Developmental Advocates of Warri North, DAWN.

In a communiqué issued after an emergency meeting held at Koko, headquarters of Warri North Local Government Area, Saturday March 17, 2018, DAWN asserted that the call on Dr. Uduaghan to contest the senatorial seat became necessary after a committee it set up to study potential aspirants for the position recommended the former Delta State Governor, based on his antecedents in peace building and achievements in the public offices he held in Delta State between 2009 and 2015.

The communiqué signed by Inojulagho Amaju, Coordinator and Ayonuwe Clifford, Lead, Grassroots Education, on behalf of DAWN, averred, “we reserve the right to be represented by intellectuals who will revert the respect we are almost losing grip of at the National stage”.

According to the Warri group, the 7.6km Umeh Road in Isoko, which ended 30 years of abandonment of the agrarian community, the Abigborodo Bridge project in Warri North, Ugbenu Koko Road, the 0-5 years free health care delivery programme across the state and the revolutionary Uduaghan Park, “which brought transportation across Delta State to an easy and comfortable ride with lowest fares”, are achievements of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan that makes him eminently qualified to vie for the prominent legislative position in 2019.

The group also mentioned the construction of”10 International Model Schools” in the three senatorial districts of Delta State, the construction /renovation of hundreds of schools,the introduction of EDUMARSHAL programme to ensure the downtrodden children go to school free of charge as well as the payment of enrollment fees for SSCE candidates as some other reasons that informed their decision to back Dr. Uduaghan’s senatorial ambition.

They averred that a man who sacrificed his senatorial ambition for the sake of peace in Delta State, particularly inter-ethnic harmony in Delta South should be given all the necessary support to represent Delta South in 2019, describing the former Secretary to Delta State Government as “an intellectual and bridge builder with the requisite National as well as International connections for the job.”

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Delta govt lauds US-based group for rehabilitating hospital

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…As Association Awards scholarships to indigent undergraduates

The Delta State Government has commended sons and daughters of the Ubulu Uku, in the diaspora in the Aniocha South area of the state for their support to the government’s developmental efforts in making life more meaningful to the people of the area.

The government’s commendation came in the wake of successful inauguration and connection to national grid, of a 33kva transformer worth over N10 million for the smooth running of the General Hospital Ubulu-Uku and a scholarship award to indigent undergraduates from the community by the Ubulu Uku USA Association based in the United States of America (USA).

President of the Association, Mr. Mike Eboka, said his group was deeply worried at the sorry state of the hospital which has not been functioning maximally for some time hence the decision of the Ubulu Uku USA to intervene.

He lamented that referrals to the hospital has been on steady decline as the hospital could hardly attend to patients due incessant blackout, a development that made the Ubulu Uku Association in the United States of America to decide to lift the hospital with the provision of the transformer.

This Mr. Eboka assured would lessen the burden posed to the management of the hospital and the people of the community who have had to seek medical services far away from their settlement.

Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Patrick Ekeruche thanked the Ubulu Uku USA for the gesture saying the state government was happy and appreciated the public spirit of the Union in collaborating with the state even when members are based outside the country.

He said the provision of electricity transformer would help improve the services rendered by the hospital as the prevailing power outage was almost turning the health facility moribund

Dr. Ekeruche urged other Community Associations to emulate the kind gestures of Ubulu Uku USA and explore ways of partnering with the state government to deliver services to the people as government alone could not meeting all the developmental needs of the people.

Meanwhile, the Union has also declared Miss Nancy Odinakachukwu from Akpama Quarters in Ogbe part of Ubulu Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, as the receipt winner of this year’s annual Ubulu Uku Union, USA (UUU USA) Incorporation sponsored educational scholarship award.

It announced the undergraduate as the award recipient after the final screening at the last general conference call of the association held recently

As a recipient of the Scholarship, Miss Odinakachukwu will be receiving a sum of One hundred thousand Naira, every year for four year duration of the undergraduate course, but not exceeding six years depending on the course of study.

Confirming Miss Odinakachukwu as the winner, the UUU USA President, Mr. Eboka said “I am happy to announce the selection of Ms. Nancy Odinakachukwu from Akpama Quarters in Ubulu-Uku as our Scholarship Award recipient with a Major in Nursing at the University of Benin. As directed in our call, I have personally called to congratulate her”.

“We will be presenting her officially with an award certificate and additional funding and eligibility requirements to ensure all criteria are being met for the scholarship award program. We are working to update this scholarship information as well as our successful electrification project at our Government General Hospital on our web site in the next few days”.

“We are also planning to share this information with the various social media’s in our community. On behalf of the UUU USA project team and the entire membership of Ubulu-Uku USA, please help us congratulate Ms. Nancy Odinakachukwu as our scholarship recipient. Her phone number will be provided in due cause for those who may wish to congratulate her directly. More information will be provided during our upcoming Columbus Convention”, Mr Eboka said.

Recall that Ubulu Uku, USA, a non-profit organisation and an umbrella body of Ubulu Uku people residing in the United States of America had in early March this year, offered scholarship awards to two deserving Ubulu Uku students.

The association had, in an official statement jointly signed by their President, Mr. Mike Eboka and Secretary General, Mr. Michael Ejogo stated that the Union will be sponsoring scholarship awards to two deserving students who have duly gained admissions to any Federal or State University in Nigeria for the academic period which will commence September, 2018.

The group stated “the two scholarships awards will be for 4 years for a regular Bachelor’s degree course or 5 to 6 years for a course which requires more than 4 years to obtain a degree”.

They further pointed out that the scholarship has become necessary following the importance and great values a good University education can offer.

On the purpose of the scholarship award, the Union said the scheme was designed to assist underprivileged (low income and first generation) sons & daughters of Ubulu-Uku to continue their educational pursuits in any federal/state University in Nigeria. They however, pointed out that opportunities are only given to families, in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree.

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Why we can’t release Dasuki, says FG

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Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says the federal government cannot release Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), because the allegation against him is a matter of public interest.

The attorney-general in a Voice of America, Hausa, interview obtained by Premium Times, said Dasuki’s right is not important more than over 100,000 people he was “instrumental to their death”.

He said the mismanagement of funds meant for the military under the former NSA led to the deaths of many and maintained that the issue affects an entire nation; so the discussion should not be about a single person’s rights.

On Tuesday, the federal high court in Abuja served a warrant of release of Dasuki on the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice.

Malami said the government could resort to appealing the court order if it wants to. “What I want you to know is that issues concerning law and order under Muhammadu Buhari are sacrosanct and obeying court order is compulsory.

“However you should also know that there is a general consensus world over that where the dispute is only between individuals, then you can consider the issue based on the instant situation. But if the dispute is about an issue that affects an entire nation, then you have to remember that government is about the people not for only an individual.

“So, you have to look at it from this perspective. If the issue about an individual coincides with that which affects the people of a nation and you are now saying the government did not obey a court order that infringes on a single person’s rights. Remember we are talking about a person who was instrumental to the deaths of over 100,000 people. Are you saying that the right of one person is more important than that of 100,000 who lost their lives?

“Reports have shown that there was massive mismanagement of funds meant for military hardware which the military could not access and that led to the death of many, embezzlement of the fund and because of that many people have lost their lives. Obeying the court is not the issue per say.

“Are we going to take the issue of an individual more important than that of the people? The government’s main responsibility is for and about the people. The essence of governance is to better the lives of its people. So you have to weigh it based on that; the rights of an individual or the rights of the people.”

DSS operatives arrested Dasuki in 2015 for “illegal possession of firearms” and diversion $2.1 billion from his office while he held sway as the NSA.

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Senate approves N348bn subsidy payments to Oando, Capital Oil, 72 others

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The Senate on Wednesday gave approval for the payment of outstanding subsidy claims to the tune of N348 billion to Oando, Total, Honey Well, Capital Oil, Conoil, A.A. Rano, and 68 other petroleum marketers.

The approval is sequel to a letter on Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to Settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations to Petroleum Marketers sent by President Muhammadu Buhari to clear up outstanding liabilities, debts, interest accrued and forex differential from previous government.

While 55 oil marketers will receive N275,750,415,108, 19 others will get N73,452,639,866.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Kabiru Marafa, presented the interim report while stressing that continuous delay of the approval of the promissory note request will affect the liquidity of the oil marketing companies and undermine their crucial role in the development of the economy.

Other resolutions approved by the red chamber include continuous engagement with the Ministry of Finance, oil marketing companies, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and other stakeholders.

Marafa in his presentation said the marketers claimed N670,497,543,15, as of June 30, 2017, but the PPPRA verified and approved the sum of N429,054,203,228 to the Federal Ministry of Finance.

But the verified figure approved by the Federal Executive Council was reduced by Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) to N407,255,263,288 after a several verification processes.

The report read: “This issue including The determination of the terminal date of the subsidy programme amount paid to the OMCs and the interest accrued from 30th June, 2017 to date will be taken up and resolved in the final report. This committee will be submitting to the Senate in due course. This submission should be able to reconcile and bring to the conclusion all issues in respect of petroleum subsidy programme implementation and payments;

“Further verification needs to be made to ascerTain the discrepancies between the OMCs and the recommendations for payment made by FMoF (PICA);

“In this respect, Thye Committee is of the opinion that interim payments should be effected to the OMCs pending full verification of PICA recommendaTions and updating on the full implication of interest accruals from 30th June 2017 to date.

“The Government’s inability to pay the OMCs as at 30th June, 2017 has further increased its liability since the interest continued running till date, hence, the need for further work by the Committee to compile and update the level of indebtedness and its interest accruals;

“However, in view of the fact that the service of the OMCs is very important to the economic development of the country and closely tied to National security, paying the marketers would stem the threat of fuel scarcity, increase economic activities and promote a more harmonious working relationship between the Government and OMCs”.

The following are the amount approved for some of the oil marketers: Aiteo N4,988,199,360; Conoil N5,588,285,132; Forte Oil N15,480,445,907; Bovas N5,953,684,258; Capital Oil N8,339,052,402; Mobil N8,282,363,478; MRS Oil and Gas N20,948,270,002; Oando N14,972,585,600; Total N21,569,996,843, among others.

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