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Nigeria @ 59: Ihedioha Unveils Gains of Administration, Nation Building



Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, has said significant progress has been made towards rebuilding the state and the nation. This, he said was made possible as a result of the people’s resolve to live together as one, strong and united nation.

The governor said this in his broadcast to commemorate Nigeria’s 59 years of independence.

He noted that, “this is evident in the courage to confront the odds and the resilience shown in pulling back the country from precipice at all times.”

Governor Ihedioha also highlighted the successes recorded so far by his administration since coming on board on May 29, 2019.

In his broadcast to the good people of Imo State at the ceremony to mark the nation’s 59th Independence anniversary celebration, held at the Cenotaph Arena in Owerri, Tuesday, Governor Ihedioha said this year’s celebration affords everyone great opportunity to pay glowing tributes to the nation’s founding fathers such as the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

He said, “Here in the South East region, we must recall with deep respect, our immediate post independence leaders like: Sir Akanu Ibiam- the first Governor of the Eastern Region; Dr Michael Okpara- the regional premier, as well as such other great leaders such as Sir Mbonu Ojike, Chief A.C Nwapa, and Dr.K.O.Mbadiwe, amongst others.

“For these pioneer leaders and other nationalists across Nigeria, there was no sacrifice too much, nor any price too dear, to pay in the efforts to achieve a self-governing and a sovereign motherland.

“Today, we are beneficiaries of this great legacy of freedom – the tree of liberty planted and nurtured by the sweat and, in some circumstances, the blood of courageous men and women who resisted colonialism.

“However, like every other great nation, Nigeria has bravely endured the pangs of birth of an emergent nation. Indeed, at every point, our resolve to live together as one, strong and united nation has been evident in our courage to confront the odds and resilience to pull back from the precipice. We rose up to the demands of liberation struggle, bounced back from a civil war, and have kept faith with the task of nation-building. Together we have overcome, and shall yet overcome.

“As we take stock today, we have cause to thank God for the great progress we have made in nation-building and the abundant human and natural resources that we have been endowed with. Nigeria boasts of a very energetic people, dynamic culture, beautiful landscape, bountiful natural resources and a huge swath of rich agricultural fields, among several other endowments.

Governor Ihedioha explained that Imo State is blessed with people of great potentials and abilities yearning to be harnessed.

He said, “There is, indeed, no state where these blessings have been more evident than Imo State. I am proud to serve a state blessed with a very dynamic, youthful, educated, hardworking and peaceful people. We are a people with great potentials, yearning to be harnessed. Our mission as a government, therefore, is to make our state the beacon of hope for the country and, indeed, for the continent.

“To this end, as we celebrate 59 years of liberation from the clutches of colonialism, I enjoin the collective support and sacrifices of our citizens. We are too noble a people to limit ourselves to small aspirations. For this reason, we are engaging all Imolites to map out strategies to harness our huge human and economic resources.

He said the Imo State is on the path of economic rejuvenation anchored on the Imo Growth and Strategic Development Plan, a 5 year Economic blueprint designed to rebuild the State.

“We will base our growth direction on a development agenda currently being put together, known as Imo Growth and Strategic Development Plan. This involves a 5-year Economic Blueprint for our rebuilding process and for restoring Imo to its former glory.

“Accordingly, we have taken the first sure steps by building a strong institutional framework for Good Governance. We have adopted the ethics of Due Process in all government transactions in keeping with national and global standards.

“Imo State now operates the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system which is today boosting our Internally Generated Revenues (IGR).

The Governor who noted with excitement that the internally generated revenue of the state which was less than N300 Million per month when he assumed office in May, has recorded over 150% increase with N795 Million realized as at yesterday, (September 30, 2019) for the month of September.

“The Civil Service has taken its pride of place as the engine room for the delivery of government services. Reforms are ongoing to improve service delivery across board, motivate the workforce and right the wrongs inflicted on the psyche of the personnel by eight years of misgovernment.

He said rebuilding infrastructure such as roads is underway and revamping key sectors such as Education and Agriculture have received prompt attention from his administration.

“We have embarked on a comprehensive plan of overhauling our infrastructure which was ruined by shoddy contract awards, quackery and entrenched policy of graft. Works are commencing shortly for the reconstruction of 14 critical roads, both within the Owerri Township and across the State.

“It is important to state that we are reviewing our security architecture with a view to ensuring security of lives and properties and restoration of confidence in government.

“We take note that we are a state blessed with a huge population of young people with great thirst for knowledge. The least any responsible government can do is to evolve strategies to satisfy this passion. We are therefore, working to restore education to its place of priority as the biggest industry in Imo State.

“Information and Communication Technology (ICT), we are aware, is a major driver of change and a bridge to the future. As a result, we have reached out to some global IT firms to design and implement programmes to inculcate IT competency and globally competitive skills in our youths and to make Imo State the technology hub of Nigeria.

“In another breath, there is no greater test of development than a people’s ability to feed themselves. To this end, the government has put all machinery in motion to harness our agricultural potentials. Notably, Adapalm, Avutu Poultry Farm and similar establishments, which hitherto were abandoned to rot away, are being revived for optimum production.

“In an effort to expand the funding and donor possibilities in rebuilding the state, we as a policy, have been engaging international bilateral and multilateral partners as well as donor agencies. I am glad to say today that these engagements are looking very prospective as they not only now see Imo as one to do business with, but in fact, one to support and assist. From the World Bank to the Department of International Development to the USAID, the French development Agency, AFD, the Commonwealth enterprise group and most recently the UNDP, all have extended a hand in partnership to Imo State.

“As far as luring the private sector to see Imo State as not only a destination of choice, but an investor’s haven, we have put a lot of measures in place. We have revamped the moribund ISIPA and set up a dedicated Ease of doing business desk among measures to establish the fact that Imo is open for business.

“As you are all aware, one of the foundations of democracy is the participation of the people, at every tier of governance, in the choice of who governs them. We are, therefore, giving expression to Independence by ensuring the devolution of power to the local governments.

“Consequently, in no distant time, our people would go to the polls, after a long while, for a free, fair and credible election at the local governments.

“My good people of Imo State, I must thank you for your resolve to change the narrative of poor governance that became the trademark of Imo State in the immediate past. The task before us is therefore challenging given the pillage experienced in the locust years and damage done to our state institutions. However, things are getting better. Thanks to the crop of patriotic and selfless Imo sons and daughters in the team, the partnership of a very vibrant state legislature and an independent Judiciary. Ours is collective governance, with no organ of government, nor segment of the population left behind.

“As a very educated and enterprising people, I urge us, to show forth the light by the way we carry on the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. I appeal to us all to pray for the peace and progress of our state in particular and our nation in general. Let us also remember Mr. President and our leaders in our prayers. It is for this reason that just two days ago, we committed the nation and the State to prayers at a state service at the Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri.

“It is also helpful that we pay our taxes, as and when due and to ensure law and order without which no progress is possible. I appeal to you all, to always come together in your communities to keep our environments healthy and to make Imo clean and green again.

“We have put our hands together on the plough of restoration. We cannot look back. We can see the silver-lining behind the dark clouds and with God on our side, we are building a great state and indeed, a nation dedicated to the ideals of unity and faith, peace and progress”.

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Police Arrest Four Yoruba Nation Agitators for Seizing Radio Station




Some Yoruba Nation agitators, on Sunday morning, seized Radio Nigeria, Amuludun FM 99.1 in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, taking over broadcast for more than one hour.

A source told The PUNCH Metro that the agitators, who besieged the station around 5:40 am in an 18-seater bus, were armed with dangerous weapons and charms, threatening to deal decisively with any staff member who refused to cooperate with them.

However, four out of the agitators, among whom was a woman, were arrested by the police with the assistance of the Nigerian army, while others ran into different directions to evade arrest.

One of the arrested agitators, who sustained gunshot wounds, had rushed into the studio to tell others that security operatives had taken over the nooks and crannies of the station. The blood stain was seen in the studio.

An investigation by our correspondent revealed that after holding some night duty staff and security guards hostage, the agitators hijacked the studio and announced live on radio “Welcome to Yoruba Nation.”

An impeccable source further said they continued threatening staff members to remove all Nigeria flags in the station and replace them with Yoruba Nation flags as they have already taken over the Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

It was further learnt that they initially hijacked some commercial vehicles (Micra) to block the main road.

When our correspondent visited the station at J&P Bus-stop, Moniya in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state, more than 20 operational vehicles of security agents, including Department of State Services were sighted at strategic locations to forestall any eventuality.

Confirming the invasion, the most senior staff on duty, Ajayi Omotola, stated that, “They told us that they are Yoruba Nation agitators. And in their T-shirt, there was that inscription there. They wrote Yoruba Nation. Only six persons came inside the studio with different charms threatening to kill us if we failed to cooperate. Others were outside manning security at different areas within the premises.

“They collected all our phones and threatened to kill us if we made any noise or phone calls. They said they wanted to broadcast live that Yoruba Nation has taken over. We should remove all Nigeria flags in our studio and replace it with their own. They didn’t allow anybody to go outside. The Area Commander came, addressed and even pleaded with them but they ignored him. We later heard sporadic shooting outside. So, one of our staff members then came inside to inform us that police and soldiers had arrived,” Omotola stressed.

As of press time, normalcy had returned while stern-looking security operatives were still manning the station.

The Punch

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76th Cannes Film Festival Ends with Bang




The stars on parade at 76th Festival de Cannes


By Michael Effiong

The colour, the glamour, the style and class of the 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival ends today with a big bang.

Festival de Cannes, the film industry’s most prestigious festival will take place at 8:30 pm and will be broadcast live on France 2 and internationally on Brut.

The Jury, presided over by director Ruben Östlund and including director Maryam Touzani, actor Denis Ménochet, writer/director Rungano Nyoni, actress/director Brie Larson, actor/director Paul Dano, writer Atiq Rahimi, director Damián Szifron and director Julia Ducournau, will select the winners from the 21 films in Competition this year.

Actress Anaïs Demoustier, President of the Jury, will hand out the Caméra d’or award to the best first film. Actress Stacy Martin and director Ildikó Enyedi, President of the Short Film and La Cinef Jury, will award the Palme d’or for short films.

Actor Orlando Bloom will hand out the Jury Prize. Actor Song Kang-ho, last year’s winner of the Best Performance by an Actor for Broker and actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi, last year’s winner of the Best Performance by an Actress for Holy Spider, will award the Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor Prizes respectively.


Actor John C. Reilly, President of the Un Certain Regard Jury, will award the Best Screenplay Prize, while Pete Docter, Creative Director of Pixar Studios, will present the Best Director Prize.


The Festival de Cannes will also be honored by the exceptional presence tonight of legendary filmmaker Roger Corman, who will present the Grand Prix alongside virtuoso Quentin Tarantino.


Finally, the prestigious Palme d’or will be presented by the formidable and inspiring Jane Fonda.


The Closing Ceremony will mark the end of the 76th Festival de Cannes, and will be followed by the screening of Peter Sohn‘s film Elementary in the Grand Théâtre Lumière.


The 21 films competing for the Palme d’or this year are : Firebrand by Karim Aïnouz, Asteroid City by Wes Anderson, Rapito (Kidnapped)(Kidnapped) by Marco Bellocchio, Les Filles d’Olfa (Four Daughters)(Four Daughters) by Kaouther Ben Hania, L’Été dernier (Last Summer) (Last Summer) by Catherine Breillat, Kuru Otlar Ustune (About Dry Grasses)(About Dry Grasses) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Le Retour (Homecoming) by Catherine Corsini, The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, Club Zero by Jessica Hausner, May December by Todd Haynes, Monster by Kore-Eda Hirokazu, Kuolleet Lehdet (Fallen Leaves)(Fallen Leaves) by Aki Kaurismäki, The Old Oak by Ken Loach, Il Sol dell’ avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow)(A Brighter Tomorrow) by Nanni Moretti, La Chimera by Alice Rohrwacher, Black Flies by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, Banel e Adama by Ramata-Toulaye Sy, La Passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Pot-au-Feu) (The Pot-au-Feuby Tran Anh Hùng, Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall) (Anatomy of a Fallby Justine Triet, Jeunesse (Le Printemps) (Youth (Spring))(Youth (Spring)) by Wang Bing, Perfect Days by Wim Wenders.

The Closing ceremony, usually a wonderful evening to behold will be broadcast in English and French by Brut.

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Delta Beyond Drugs: Bishop Aruakpor Receives Silec Initiatives




In preparation for the forthcoming Delta Beyond Drugs Project in Delta State, the SILEC Initiatives team paid a visit to the Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Oleh Church of Nigeria, The Rt. Rev’d John Usiwoma Aruakpor. The solidarity visit was led by the Founder/President Silec Initiatives, Amb. Sunny Irakpo, a U.S Government Sponsored Exchange Alumni who was invited by the U.S Government to participate in the prestigious international Visitor’s Leadership Exchange Program of the Department of State in 2019.

Upon his return from the States, the anti-drug ambassador has continued to sensitize the public on the dangers of drug abuse in Nigeria where he currently floats the Delta Beyond Drugs Project to compliment the efforts of the State Government in order to help address the heightened state of drugs and substance abuse.

Irakpo, intimated the plans of the DBD Project to the Diocesan who keep championing innovative projects in Isoko especially the just concluded School of Nursing , Hospital and many other ongoing projects for the Isoko nation. He hinted that the primary objective of the DBD Project is to sensitize the youths and parents alike about the dangers of drug abuse with the various experimentations presently ongoing amongst youths.

He voiced that drug abuse has eaten deeply into the fabric of the society, and the illicit are experimentation by the youths with different hazardous chemicals/ drugs on a regular basis which is even harmful to their health and that the need to address this ugly trends claiming the lives of promising youths in the state is now.

The trend which has become very worrisome in Isokoland and other parts of Delta state, need the attention of all stakeholders to participate in the wellbeing and wellness of our youths and society.

While he appreciated the clergyman for given them the opportunity to collaborate with the church, also related that Silec Initiatives is one of the most active anti-drug NGO in Nigeria, and as a pragmatic organization that has contributed immensely to the fight against drugs merchandise with empirical evidences, remain an NGO recognized at the international level for their exception capacity in the fight against drug abuse in Nigeria for over a decade.

In his response, Bishop Aruakpor was very happy, impressed and proud with the Founder Silec Initiatives Sunny Irakpo for making the Isoko nation proud in Nigeria and across the global space.

And that seeing a young man with such laudable vision with thought provoking ideas and concept is an indication that Isoko nation is on the good path of greatness and progress if only support is given to him and many others who are making the Isoko nation proud.

In his words, I am proud of you for all the giant strides you have made in this nation in this life transforming Initiative.

We gladly welcome you home for we need you at this critical moment that our youths are becoming something else in the name of drugs. As a diocese ,we are doing our best in the environment we’ve found ourselves as we continue to apply the ant philosophy to achieve all the God given projects to us. For there’s nothing , I lay my hands that God will not help me to accomplished. So in this campaign against drugs and substance abuse in Delta State Particularly in Isokoland, we are solidly behind you to drive the message back home. We shall give Silec Initiatives the full support and to also rally round in the area of funding for the sustenance of the project. We shall also try our best to reach out to the various stakeholders of which we are also involving the Nigeria Police, all the clergy and the youths.

Other members of the team were Kingsley Ewomarevia Silec Initiatives Community Liaison Coordinator, James Agholor, Director of Publication Silec Initiatives, top Isoko artistes Obara Obaro (MC Moonlight) and Funky Franky a music impresario.

The event is schedule to take place with a mega rally to mark the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking on the 10th June ,2023 in Partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Oleh Church of Nigeria by 8:am at the Cathedral of Paul as a meeting point to take off.

The founder Silec Initiatives enjoined all Sons and Daughters of Isoko to come out enmass to vehemently resist this enemy of progress of youths, Isoko nation, Delta State and Nigeria in general.

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