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Encomiums, Fanfare As Obafemi Awolowo University Celebrates 60th Anniversary



By Eric Elezuo

The main hall of the African Centre of Excellence, and the premier hall, Oduduwa Hall of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, were beehives of activities as the university rolled out drums to celebrate a much deserved diamond jubilee anniversary.

The events marking the epoch making anniversary Kickstarter on Sunday with an interdenominational church service where praises were offered to God Almighty for 60 years of goodness and berthed at the main campus for a world press conference anchored by Mr. Abiodun Olarewaju, to address the achievements and challenges of a school described by all as the most beautiful in Nigeria.

On hand to address the media were senior officers of the university including the Vice Chancellor, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede; the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Board, Owelle Oscar Udoji and the Registrar, Prof Margaret Idowu Omosule.

In his address, Prof Ogunbodede highlighted mind-blowing landmarks the Institution has recorded in it 60 years of existence including sustaining the legacies of the founding fathers, in excellence, producing multiple society influencing personalities, establishing interventions that are time bound, building a power plant that would sustain the Institution, and free it from incessant power interruptions prevailing in today’s Nigeria and churning out discoveries to the world in inventions.

He stressed with pride that the institution pioneered the Faculty of Pharmacy in West Africa, as well as the first Department of Chemical Engineering, first Technology Production and Development Unit and first campus intranet/internet facility in Nigeria.

Ogunbodede however, lamented insufficient funding as one of the many challenges the school is confronting.

“The insufficient financial allocations to the university by the Federal Government has had adverse effect on service delivery, coupled with students’ failure to pay commensurate tuition fees,” he said.

Lending his voice, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, congratulated the management and students of OAU on the milestone celebration, saying he was privileged to be part of it.

He promised that as the new Chairman of Governing Council, he will ensure, in collaboration with the VC, to see to the building of new hostel facilities for students and rehabilitate all other infrastructures.

“We will leave no stone unturned to ensure the growth and development of the institution,” he said.

The major highlights of the day included the unveiling of the 60th anniversary logo by the duo of Prof Ogunbodede and Owelle Udoji, and the cutting of the anniversary cake, supervised by the Registrar, Prof Omosule.

A lot of varieties were also presented to spice up the event. On the performing list were the school’s music department, the security department, the dramatic arts department and kegites club.

Among special personalities that graced the event were the Pro-Chancellor, Owelle Oscar Udoji; a Representative of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; the Vice Chancellor, University of The Gambia, Prof. Fagir Muhammed Anjum; Deputy Vice Chancellor, UTG, Dr. Momodaianin Tarro, Mr. Ousainou Corr, Deputy Project Manager, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Gambia, Mr  Ansmanne Demba, Rt. Honorable Barr. Eugene Odo, Prof. O. A. Sowande, Prof. Chris Ajila, Alhaji Daisy Bako Gumel, Mr. Gbolahan Ogunajo, Engr. Temitope Ajayi, Prof. Pierre Gomez, Prof. Yemisi Bola Amusa, Prof. Olubola Babalola, Prof. Yoni Daramola, Prof. Isiaka Aransi, Dr. Bisi Olowookere, Prof. Kayode Ijadunola, Capt. Bala Jibrin and wife and others.

Obafemi Awolowo University, formerly known as University of Ife, was founded in 1961 by the Western Region Government, under the administration of the then Premier, late Chief Ladoke Akintola.

The institution was renamed Obafemi Awolowo University University (OAU) by the Federal Government on May 12, 1987 in honour of the first Premier of the region, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

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Fuel Subsidy Removal: FG, Labour Meeting Ends in Deadlock




Talks between the Federal Government and organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidy ended in a deadlock on Wednesday as they failed to reach a consensus following the hike in petrol pump prices to over N700 from N195 per litre by oil marketers.

The hours-long meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa was to, among other things, prevent a labour crisis following the recent increase in the petrol pump price occasioned by the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited said it had adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to reflect the market realities. The agency, however, failed to state the new prices of petrol.

However, several retails outlets sold the product between 600 and N800 in Lagos, Abuja , Ogun and some other states.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, pointed out that the hike in the cost of PMS would trigger galloping inflation in the country, stressing that some outlets in the South-East were currently dispensing the product at N1,200/l.

Ukadike stated, “Once NNPCL retail stations have adjusted their pumps to reflect the new price, there is nothing you can do about it; that is the new price. As I speak with you, all of them are now selling at the new prices. The situation is so bad, that somewhere in Ebonyi State our members informed us that it is now N1,200/litre.

“We thought the President would remove the subsidy through a seamless means because the source of this petrol is the NNPCL. They are the ones subsidising petroleum products, they are the people who use their revenue to subsidise this product.’’

The IPMAN spokesperson expressed worry over the rate of increase in inflation and hardship that would come as a result of the latest hike in petrol price.

“This hike in petrol price will definitely lead to galloping inflation and will worsen the hardship already being faced by the Nigerian masses. It is not something to cheer about. It came as a surprise and in the coming days, we will see the very harsh ripple effects,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Ukadike has called on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to give other marketers the opportunity to start importing petrol in order to create competition in the sector.

“The NNPCL is importing and has not given people the opportunity to join them in importing so as to see whether private sector operators can import the product cheaper or not. So there is no competition. In a deregulated regime, there must be competition, everyone with capacity should be allowed to import,” the IPMAN official stated.

When asked whether other marketers could resume imports since the government had finally deregulated petrol prices, Ukadike replied, “Marketers can import, but let me tell you some of the factors militating against this. The first is that there won’t be availability of dollars.

“You will source your dollar from the parallel market and if you are not careful in doing this, and you go into the importation of petroleum products, you might not ‘come out of it alive’ at the end of the day.

“So what we are saying is that those advantages that NNPCL has, should be shared with other major importers of petroleum products. If it is through crude buy-back, they should let us know so that independent players such as IPMAN members can come together and be able to use it in the buy-back model.’’

He added, “For independent marketers, the most important thing is that there should be availability of petroleum products, and the government should open up the space for importers and investors to come in.”

NNPCL, the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years running, confirmed the hike in petrol price in a statement and a new pricing template released to marketers nationwide.

But the move has sparked a groundswell of anger across the nation with the Nigeria Labour Congress demanding an immediate reversal of the decision.

The union also said it would hold an emergency meeting on Friday on the fuel price increase which had triggered hoarding and scarcity across the country with attendant rise in transport fares, goods and services.

The fuel price hike by the oil firm is coming 72 hours after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural address on Monday that the subsidy regime had ended.

To pacify the growing anger over the situation, the FG hastily summoned some labour leaders to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday evening.

The meeting had in attendance the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, former NLC President and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and others, however, ended in a deadlock as the labour and government teams failed to reach a consensus.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Joe Ajaero, said “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”

He faulted the NNPCL over an official release published hours earlier reviewing the petrol pump price in its filling stations nationwide.

He said the move puts the labour unions in a difficult position on the negational table.

“That’s the principle of negotiation. You don’t put the partner, ask them to negotiate under gunpoint. The prayer of the NLC is that we go back to the status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people. If it is an action that must take off.

“The subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June. And before then, conscious people, labour management, and the government should be able to think of what will happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time,” Ajaero said.

The Punch

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Breaking: Founder, DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi is Dead




By Eric Elezuo

The Founder of DAAR Communications, owners of the foremost radio and television stations in Nigeria, Raypower and African Independent Television (AIT), High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, is dead.

Reliable sources said the High Chief died while exercising on a treadmill on Monday afternoon.

The source said Dopkesi suffered a stroke some weeks ago.

Details soon…

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I Stand on Rule of Law, with Our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, PDP, Says Dele Momodu




By Eric Elezuo

Frontline journalist and Director of Strategic Communications of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Council in the just concluded Presidential election, Chief Dele Momodu, had said that he remains a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and will always stand on the side of rule of law, and with the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Momodu made the revelations in a statement he signed himself, noting that the last election, which brought Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to power, was savagely manipulated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He praised the steps Atiku, and the presidential candidate of the Labour candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, have taken in seeking legal redress.

The statement in details:


My position on the state of our country NIGERIA is simple and straightforward. I’m a loyal member of PDP who owes absolute allegiance to Nigeria and its Rule of Law. My political party PDP and others passionately hold the view that the last Presidential election was savagely manipulated by the ruling party APC and the cases are already in courts. Nothing will make me abandon my party on the altar of convenience and profit. Win or lose, I will continue to stand on this principle without any malice or prejudice against those who think otherwise. Democracy is a game of choice and I’m resolutely standing by our candidate, the former Vice President ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR (GCON) who has taken the honorable and peaceful step of going to court to seek redress. This is the only way we can deepen our hard earned Democracy. Sacrifice is not always convenient but painful.

I salute and respect The Wazirin Adamawa and others like my dear friend and Brother, former Governor Peter Obi, the Labor Party Presidential candidate, for promoting the best tenets of Democracy in Nigeria and I’m willing to encourage them rather than discourage their onerous quests…


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