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NISER DG, Gbadebo-Smith blasts Sahara Reporters “You are Baised and Your Allegations False

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Director-General of National Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Dr Folarin Gbadebo has lambasted online news medium, Sahara Reporters over a story accusing him of impropriety.

In a rejoinder made available to The Boss, Dr Gbadebo Smith insisted that not only is the story false and baseless, it was disingenuous to drag the name of the Vice Preside into the matter.

The signed by Mr Gbadebo-Smiith reads “it has come to the attention of the National Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) the report by Sahara Reporters, an Online Tabloid, published on the 23rd of April 2018, with spurious allegations leveled against the institute and the Director General by unknown persons.

It is pertinent to state that all of the allegations in the Sahara Reporters’ publication are false and baseless, and should be disregarded by the public.

One wonders why Sahara Reporters would allow its medium to be used for such irresponsible journalism. Their reporter did not make a serious attempt at “hearing the other side” or investigating the real facts of the case before publishing unfounded allegations.

More surprising is that Sahara Reporters chose to drag the good name of Nigeria’s Vice President into this false narrative and biased reportage, simply as clickbait, and in bad taste.

In my position as Director General of the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER), I am constrained to respond to these baseless charges.

As to the false allegations, these are the facts:

✓ Unlike the baseless claims in the report, that the DG sold three 500KV electricity generators each valued at 30 million Naira for the sum of N700,000; as of today, the two working 500KV generators have not been sold and remain on the NISER premises.

✓ In addition, the 500KV generator which was sold was purchased in 1987 (30 years old) and have not worked since 2011. The pre-auction valuation of all generators was done according to Federal Government guidelines by the Federal Ministry of Works. However, the auction price was N1.7 million not N700,000 as claimed by Sahara Reporters.

✓ Other generators sold in the past year were sold as scrap. Three of which were purchased in 1993. One of these generators, which was donated as project equipment, was so old that no record of their dates of purchase existed. Total revenue realized from the 2018 auction of unserviceable equipment was N4.7 million and proceeds of the sale domiciled with the Federal Government.

✓ The process of sale of these generators followed government procurement guidelines to the letter and at no time was the DG part of the procurement process. (I have deliberately recused myself from any procurement process within the institute to avoid any slight hint of favoritism or bias).

✓ The Vice President did not and has never defended me in any case of corruption. The case in question was defended by Kola Awodein and co. Incidentally I was found innocent on all charges and discharged and acquitted by a tribunal of three serving judges. All allegations were found to have been fabricated by political opponents.

✓ The N500,000 research fieldwork grant was not reduced to N50,000. This claim is false. After discovering incidences of abuse and data forgery, management put in place an arrangement where researchers now receive their grants in tranches. AT each point, the researcher must prove that he/she actually went out into the field to collect the data before receiving the next installment.

✓ Researchers have not gone on international conferences only because of budgetary constraints. However, in 2018 researchers attended conferences in South Africa, Cote d’ivoire and Kenya all sponsored by the conference organizers. Furthermore, NISER has invested heavily in the retraining of research staff within NISER some of whom went on to support the Minimum wage macroeconomic modelling exercise.

✓ No research professor has resigned his appointment in NISER (The claim in the report is a complete fabrication).

✓ I did not refuse Sahara Reporter’s request for a discussion. I asked that the request be put in writing for record purposes and that my accusers be identified. Surprisingly, one hour 30 minutes after the reporter’s discussion with my secretary (I never did speak to them), their article was published.

Background and context

For the records, NISER was established in 1950 (not 1906) as WISER (West African Institute of Social and Economic Development). At independence in 1960, WISER became NISER relocating to the university of Ibadan and later moved to its own premises in the early seventies. Government, recognizing the critical role that NISER was mandated to play in economic development, that the institution was in a state of disrepair and for some time had suffered neglect and underinvestment, determined to reposition the agency for the benefit of the country.

In July 2017, when I assumed office, NISER an institution set on a small campus akin to a university, lacked running water, had no internet services and was receiving 4 hours of power a day from the public grid. The institution had lost its position on the global Think Tank rankings. At a point in its history, NISER ranked in the top one hundred Think tanks in the world. Presently, it is not ranked in the top 100 research institutes in Africa and is not certainly recognized in the world.
Research standards had declined and output was so low that there were only 8 publications on the website in 5 years. My mandate was to reposition the institute, restore the standards of scholarship and reestablish its lost glory.

Our story of positive change and development:
Since I assumed office as DG we have, in spite of federal government budgetary and funding constraints, put in place running water, instituted High speed broadband internet services campus wide and put a generator in the central building where the accounts, administration director of research and the DG’s offices are housed. The proposed sale of the giant generators was part of an optimization program, meant to provide funds to power the research buildings in a sustainable manner since the institute could not afford to fuel such huge generators.

Research standards have been strengthened and are now being rigorously enforced, and strict criteria for promotion reestablished. Government has provided initial funding for the physical renovation of the campus to begin. This process is being conducted is strict adherence to federal government procurement guidelines.

It is clear that any process of change this ambitious is bound to have detractors. Those members of staff of the institute who were invested in the status quo will be aggrieved by the disruptions and will fight back.

The label that I am “Osinbajo’s man”, meant to disparage me, is one that I wear with great pride. It is a privilege and indeed an honour to serve under an administration that is led by a President and Vice President who stand for rectitude, integrity and vision and remain committed to make Nigeria better.

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Akpabio Commits to Collaboration with Tinubu, Governor Umo Eno

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The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has stated his commitment to working closely with Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Governor Umo Eno to ensure the delivery of democratic benefits to the people of Akwa Ibom State.

Akpabio stated this in his country home, Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, while briefing his constituents on the journey so far as their representative in the red chamber.

He assured the people of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District of his commitment to their welfare in appreciation of their total support for him, President Bola Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in last year’s election.

The Highpoint of the constituency briefing was the distribution of over 10,000 bags of rice and other essentials for his constituents from the wards, to the local governments.

A statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Jackson Udom, quoted Akpabio as saying, “I am here once again, to thank you for standing by me, our President and the party, before, during and even after last year’s elections. I have come to say thank you and also bring Renewed Hope to you all.

“As the President is doing his own, the Senate President is also doing his bit and being complemented by the state governor, Akwa Ibom would be the better for it. We have finished elections and politics, we are now into governance. The governor of the state must touch you, because he is the governor of all the people in the state irrespective of political affiliation.

” As I am touching you now from the political angle, I will also touch the state without any political party affiliation. Most of the projects we are putting in place would be used by people resident in the state. Relax, things are getting better.”

The former Governor of the state, assured his constituents that his current position as the Senate President would be used for the development of the state in collaboration with the President and the Akwa Ibom State Governor.

Hear him: This Senate President is not the one that would be fighting the state government. I will collaborate with , I will collaborate with , to make the state better for us all. We cannot be out of government for a long time. You have to go to a government that carries you along”

Akpabio promised to work for his constituents and Nigeria with all his strength, noting that, “as the President of the Senate, I am for the Southern region and the entire country. I may not come here regularly to tell you what I have been doing for you, but you will be feeling the impact on way or the other. Our unemployed youths would be gainfully employed. I will construct a mini stadium in all the local governments in the district, for our youths to develop their sporting potentials. ”

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Akwa Ibom Government Invests N112 Billion in Road Infrastructure Projects

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…DAKKADA OIL PALM FACTORY COMMENCES MILLING SOON

“Since May 2023, Akwa Ibom State Government Invests N112 Billion in Road Infrastructure”

Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Prof. Eno Ibanga disclosed this when he presented a breakdown at the State Executive Council meeting in Uyo.

He revealed that 39 new road projects have been undertaken with N78.77 billion released to fund them, while old projects have been funded to the tune of over N30 Billion, with an additional N12 Billion recently released by the Governor.

Details of the Exco meeting were made public by the Commissioner for Information, Ini Ememobong.

The Executive Council also approved the increment of pension for pensioners who retired before 2012, effective April 2024.

Following the ongoing harvesting of fruits, milling will soon commence at the Dakkada Global Oil Palms.

The Managing Director of the Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, Pastor Imoabasi Jacob announced this during his presentation at the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Umo Eno.

Two projects executed through the Direct Labour Agency have been completed with 19 other ones ongoing.

The Director of Operations of the Agency, presented a status update on the projects under their supervision, also disclosed that 31 of the 100 initial ARISE Compassionate Homes will be completed and presented soon.

The Council was also briefed on the progress at Ibom LED, where 800 people have been trained and N400m has been approved to fund the grant of N500,000 to each of the participants, which will soon be done.

The Governor charged all the Executive Council members to ensure that all the projects and programmes under their supervision are people-centric from ideation to execution. He advised that project monitoring should be ramped up to ensure quick completion.

Major Highlights of the meeting are as follows:

√Status update on Food sufficiency received; proposal on increased cocoa, rice production & Ibom Model Farm submitted by HC for Agriculture & Rural Development

√Presentation of proposal by MD, AKICORP on Ibom Towers, FalconNext, Landmark Beach Resort.

√Dakkada Global Oil Palms Ltd ready to commence milling of ongoing harvested fruits

√Confirmation of N400m disbursed at N500,000 each to 800 IBOM-LED trainees in two batches

√Briefing by HC Works & Fire Service on N112 billion disbursed by the Governor for road infrastructure since May 2023, with 39 new road projects receiving N78.77 billion & N30 Billion for old projects, with additional release of N12 Billion

√Presentation by HC Culture & Tourism on tourism blueprint for proposed development of Tourism hubs at Ikot Abasi, Itu, and Oron

√ Two projects ready, 19 ongoing through Direct Labour Agency on 1 Project per Local Government Area; 31 ARISE Compassionate Homes nearly completed

√Approval for increment of pension for pensioners who retired before 2012, effective April 2024.

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Oyo Prince Encourages Peace and Continued Charitable Acts Among Muslims

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Prince Afeez Siyanbola Oladigbolu, the grandson of the 40th Alaafin of Oyo and the youngest contender for the Alaafin throne, is calling on Muslims in Oyo State and across Nigeria to uphold peace and carry forward the spirit of sacrifice and kindness observed during Ramadan.

Prince Oladigbolu made the call in his Eid-El- Fitri message where he bemoaned the state of affairs in Oyo Kingdom.

According to him “We don’t have an Alaafin and we also currently do not have a Chief Imam. The two vacuums remain unfilled due to the passage of HRM Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and late Mashood Adebayo Ajokidero and this requires urgent attention because of the leadership gap it has caused in Oyo.

“The absence of the Alaafin has led to a state of stagnancy since Oba Adeyemi joined his ancestors in April 2022, while our spiritual growth has not been at its highest without a Chief Imam”

The young prince challenged Muslim leaders and communities to be fervent in unstoppable prayers for Almighty Allah’s intervention in the affairs of Oyo town, the State and Nigeria.

He also used the opportunity to urge the youths to be calm, stay away from violence and embrace hard work.

In his words ” Violence leads to crime , while crime leads to jail”

He further also advising youths to abstain from being used against the government, noting that nobody or group of people have the capacity to fight the government at any level.

” If the political behaviour of any candidate is not going down well with you, wait for the next election and vote such a candidate out. That is the civil way to react.

” Violence, insults, and most especially curses on our leaders are not options we should explore and will not change anything. Let’s pray for them so that they can always fulfil their campaign promises.

The former Mariner and real estate Entrepreneur also extended some assistance to senior citizens to commemorate the season.

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