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An Educated Ijaw Nation My Priority’ Says NDU VC



…Advocates Free Varsity Education for Ijaw Nation

The Vice Chancellor of Niger Delta University (NDU), Wilberforce Island, Amassoma, Bayelsa State, Prof. Samuel G. Edoumiekumoh, has said that one of his priorities is to see the entire Ijaw nation attain peak education wise.

The VC, who noted that he was convinced that the Government of Bayelsa State, being the rallying point of the Ijaw, has capacity to sponsor free university education for the entire Ijaw nation, urged authorities concern to work towards the direction.

Prof Edoumiekumoh disclosed this in Burutu, Delta State, at a Thanksgiving/Reception party put together by the Barr. David Otutufegha-led Committee of Friends over the promotion of Ben Binebai to a Professor of Drama, Dramatic Theory and Criticism by the Niger Delta University.

“My pride would be for the Ijaw nation to attain a time when nobody would tell us we didn’t go to School.

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“I personally believe that as a way of moving the Ijaw nation forward, all willing Ijaw students need not pay school fees. We have the statistics and have done the calculations. It is possible. I mean students of the entire Ijaw nation across the Niger Delta, in tertiary institutions nationwide.

“It won’t be more than 3 billion naira annually. Taking that out of the annual Bayelsa State budget is a sacrifice that will beget a forward match for the Ijaw nation”, the VC noted.

Prof. Edoumiekumoh said on assumption of office, he engaged the National Universities Commission (NUC), on the inadequate admission quota of NDU then placed at 3,500 to raise it to 7600.

We are now begging Ijaw people to come to school. The NDU is also for all Ijaw irrespective of state. Please forward names of your wards seeking admission through Prof. Binebai. Bring your children to NDU. Indeed, I intend a tour of Ijaw communities to canvass for students for NDU.

“We need western education to be able to compete favorably with other regions. Ijaw youths should be focused in self-propulsion even where our parents may not have the wherewithal to push us on.

“I became a professor at a young age even when my father had thought that if I go to school, I’ll die. These things hold us back. As youths, you should work hard to go to school. As a Professor and VC, powerful doors are open to me. I am shocked to know today that Binebai is the first Professor of Burutu town, an ancient community. We should strive to have, at least, one Professor in every Ijaw family.

“Since I became VC, we have produced 57 Professors. We’ll produce more as they qualify. We have produced 80 Associate Professors and 47 Senior Lecturers. We won’t deprive deserving people promotions. We must set the stage for the time nobody will tell the Ijaw people that we didn’t go to school. That is my pride.

“It is against this background that, amidst criticisms, I commend Governor Seriake Dickson’s establishment of two universities in the state. I insist that we even need more but my concern is proper funding”, the VC further said.

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Also speaking at the event, the Registrar, Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko, Dr. Alfred Mulade, urged Ijaw youths to take advantage of the NMU, Okerenkoko, as close quarters to obtain university education, saying “the Bible itself recommends that we study to show ourselves approved.”

The celebrant had earlier said “with sponsorship often in short supply, Ijaw youths should assume status of fingerlings who must propel themselves to be able to swim”.

In apparent response to the challenge of encouraging education in the Ijaw nation, a philanthropist, Chief Evans Etimigba, at the ceremony, announced purchase of 6 JAMB/UME Forms for willing students.

It was also announced that Rt. Hon. Julius Pondi, member representing Burutu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Abuja has 300 JAMB/UME Forms for take by willing students.



Obanikoro Testifies Against Fayose, Says Ex-Ekiti Gov Got N1.2bn For Election




A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, narrated to a Federal High Court in Abuja how N1.219bn cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

According to him, the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle huge amount of money prompted the airlifting of the money.

Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited are standing trial on 11 charges bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion.

Led in evidence by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN), Obanikoro explained that the money came from the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), adding that only he could explain its source.

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He added that he only got the information about the money from Dasuki, saying that it was the former NSA who told him that the said money had been paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

Obanikoro said, “I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.

“Some days before the election, I got a call from Gov. Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for that election.”

He also denied taking out the money as speculated in a report by an online media platform.

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Obanikoro said, “When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a call conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Lomited..

“The money came came from the NSA. Only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.

The bank lacked the capacity to handle the situation. It was a last-minute decision- to ferry the money to Ekiti.

“I handed over the cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to the publication by a Lagos-based online platform.”

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When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, Obanikoro said the account was initially opened to tackle terrorism in Lagos after which it was used to disburse funds for elections.

He said, “The account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, the account was created by Taiwo Kareem, and the account was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.

“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the fund. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.”

After listening to Obanikoro’s testimony, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case till February 27, 2024.

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Northern Elders Forum Gets New Spokesman




The Northern Elders Forum has appointed Abdul-Azeez Suleiman as its new spokesman, following the exit of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

The PUNCH reports that Baba-Ahmed was appointed by President Bola Tinubu, as the Special Adviser On Political issues in the office of Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

Until his appointment, Suleiman was the spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups which comprises over 50 civil society organisations in the 19 northern states and Abuja.

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NEF’s Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in the appointment letter he personally signed, said Suleiman’s appointment was a reflection of his contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria.

Abdullahi, a former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said, “I am pleased to inform you that I have approved the recommendation to appoint you as the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum.

“Your appointment is a reflection of your unwavering dedication and contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria as a whole, during your time with the Coalition of Northern Groups.

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“Furthermore, your extensive experience in credible, fearless, selfless, and ethical journalism, also contributes to making you a great fit for this role.

“The NEF hopes that you will utilise your exceptional qualities and experience to enhance NEF’s activities and promote its image through cooperation with its directors and other members of the Forum.

“Congratulations on your appointment, and we look forward to the incredible value you will bring to the NEF.”

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Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget




The Bauchi State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the medium term expenditure of about N300 billion for the 2024 physical year.

Mr Aminu Hammayo, the Bauchi state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on Wednesday.

According to him, the budget estimate was made on the basis of certain assumptions like increase in oil production capacity, increase in Value Added Tax.

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Other assumptions he said included the impact of the withdrawal of oil subsidy as there had been an increase in the amount of revenues accrued into the federation account as well as the increase in the cost of goods and services.

“The budget estimate for the year 2024 is about N300 billion and we have a proportion of about 58.8 per cent allocated for capital expenditure and about 41.2 per cent for recurrent expenditure.

“This means the emphasis is basically on capital expenditure so as to generate more revenue in the future.

“This budget estimate is going to be presented as a bill to the state House of Assembly and after the presentation, we will still come back to where there will be a budget briefing to give the details of what the budget is all about,” he said.

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Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Usman Garba, explained that a decision had been taken to create a Ministry of Regional Integration so that the problems and challenges of the people would further be attended to.

He said that this decision was taken during the Northeast Governors Forum meeting held in Yola, Adamawa state on Saturday.

“Here in Bauchi state, the governor has decided to merge this new ministry with the ministry of Higher Education.

“So, what we have now is the Ministry of Higher Education and Regional Integration,” he said.

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