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Cross River: APC guber candidate unveils running mate

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By Ridwan Adekunle

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship candidate for Cross River, Senator Bassey Otu has unveiled Peter Odey as his running mate for the 2023 general elections.

The unveiling was done at the ongoing thank-you-tour in Ogoja Local Government Area of the state in the presence of teeming APC stakeholders and supporters.

This is contained in a statement on Tuesday in Calabar by the state APC Publicity Secretary, Erasmus Ekpang.

“Odey is the leader of Cross River House of Assembly and a two-term serving member, representing the people of Ogoja State constituency.

“The party urges leaders, stakeholders and supporters to give the Governorship and Deputy Governorship candidates the support they deserve,” he said.

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Energy

Minister of Power inaugurates five projects under Presidential Power Initiative

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The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, has inaugurated five projects, located in Okene, Kogi State, Amukpe, Delta State, Potiskum, Yobe State, Apo in Abuja, and Ihovbor, Edo State, under the phase one of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI).

The phase one of the PPI is targeted at increasing Nigeria’s wheeling capacity by 272 megawatts, thus culminating in a more robust delivery of electricity to consumers across the nation.

Speaking at the commissioning of the 60MVA Power Transformer yesterday, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, said: “Concurrently, we are remotely inaugurating four additional sites, namely Amukpe in Delta State, Potiskum in Yobe State, Apo in Abuja, and Ihvobor in Edo State.

“This is why we commend the strides that have been made by the FGN Power Company under the Presidential Power Initiative. In particular, the partnership that has been forged with the German government and Siemens Energy which led to the production and installation of these world-class equipment we are commissioning today.

“PPI, I must note, is a strategic and systematic approach to solving Nigeria’s perennial problems of unreliable and inadequate electricity supply. I am delighted that with the German Government’s partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria on the execution of the PPI, we will be able to deliver reliable power supply to the entire country. Mr. President has mandated that we accelerate our Agreement with Siemens Energy, and we are currently finalizing the scope of that work with all stakeholders.”

Similarly, the Managing director/CEO, FGN Power Company, Mr. Kenny Anuwe, said: “Today marks yet another historic day in the journey of our beloved country, Nigeria and the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI). The inauguration of four other sites, which include Amukpe in Delta State, Potiskum in Yobe State, Apo in Abuja and Ihovbor in Edo State, will collectively boost the transmission wheeling capacity by 272MW for onward delivery to electricity consumers. These signify a pivotal step forward in the revitalization of the power sector, serving as a masterstroke that will profoundly impact our industrial, social, and commercial life as a nation.

“The PPI has embarked on a noteworthy initiative by deploying Ten (10) Power Transformers and Ten (10) Mobile Substations across Nigeria. This strategic move will augment the transmission wheeling capacity, a pivotal component of the current administration’s concerted efforts to expeditiously deliver enhanced power supply. Importantly, the deployment of these devices underscores our steadfast dedication to advancing improved electricity access for the people of Nigeria.

“Let me at this point express my profound gratitude to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, His Excellency, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his single-minded determination to continue the pursuit of improved power supply for Nigerians, as initiated by his predecessor, former President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I extend my gratitude to the Honourable Minister of Power for your exemplary leadership and dedication to fulfilling the mandate of the PPI. Special thanks are also due to the former Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello and the incumbent Governor of the State His Excellency, Ahmed Usman Ododo for your invaluable support during the project implementation in Okene, which has made the commissioning of this project a reality.

“We acknowledge the importance of improved power supply towards the attainment of the present administration’s Renewed Hope agenda and assure Mr. President of our determination to provide all necessary leverage towards the attainment of his administration’s national objective.”

He said: “When, on August 31, 2018, the Federal Government of Nigeria established the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), the underlying objective was to coordinate the partnerships and secure financing for the project that would improve the country’s power transmission, distribution, and generation capacity for the benefit of Nigerian households and businesses.

“Through hard work and driven by an immeasurable sense of patriotism, the Nigerian government was able to reach an agreement with the German government, resulting in Siemens Energy’s emergence as the implementation partner to deliver on PPI’s mandate to modernize and revamp infastuctures in the power sector .

“Partnering with the German Government, Siemens A.G and Siemens Energy, we were able to set for ourselves and our dear country Nigeria, the ambitious task of boosting power supply from an estimated 4,000 megawatts to 25,000 megawatts.

“We are aware of the country’s economic and social potentials and needs. Therefore, FGN Power Company, through the PPI, has laid plans for an even distribution of power infrastructure across all the geopolitical and potential economic power zones of the country.

“This is why this commissioning of the power transformer in Okene, Kogi State is important. We strongly believe that with improved power supply in Kogi State as well as in other parts of North Central Nigeria, investments in agriculture and food processing will begin to spiral, and with that, there will be spontaneous personal, regional, and national economic growth.”

He added: “This administration is setting the course towards economic development, and access to energy is the foundation for job creation and economic growth. I am happy to announce that with our partnership with Siemens Energy, we have been able to create more jobs while also delivering capacity building in the area of power sector engineering for Nigerian engineers.”

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Tasking Nigerian academics on finding solution to the nation’s economic woes

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It is not an understatement to say that Nigeria’s economic problems have overwhelmed the current leadership of the country. Otherwise why would a loaf of bread that was sold at N300 a few months ago now sell at N1,500 and still counting.

Foodstuff generally has become luxury. Many families go to bed with empty stomachs on a daily basis and we don’t seem to see anything wrong with that.

And in the midst of this,our politicians are still cruising in affluence at the detriment of the poor masses,and we continue to pretend that all is well.

Everyday the current federal government led by Sen Ahmed Bola Tinubu continues to bring up one funny policy or the other. The latest being the payment of salaries to unemployed persons in the country. A nation that lacks such a database. At the last check the nationwide Census that so much money was sunk in the last administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was dumped at the zero hour for reasons Nigerians are yet to understand.

Political watchers are asking if the employed in the country are paid at all, before mooting unemployment allowances to applicants. Before now,it was student loans, the current myth is salaries to unemployed persons.

The question is, which of the policies have seen or will see the light of the day?

Where exactly have we gotten it wrong? Everything seems to be topsy turvy in Nigeria. Are we lacking human or material resources? The answer is capital NO. Then what is the problem?

We may be forced to believe and adduce that the missing link remains good leadership. And how do we get good leadership when our general elections are fraught with brazen irregularities, intentionally induced by ‘good-for-nothing politicians’ in connivance with corrupt  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials who do not mean well for this country.

Why is it that every system that worked in the other climes shall never work in  Nigeria and still we pride ourselves as the giant of Africa? Our citadels, talking about the ivory tower, are almost like tourist centres. Lecturers are denied research allowances deliberately to stop them from carrying out their statutory roles of teaching, learning and research. Day in, day out, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) fights for survival.

It was recently revealed that most lecturers, including professors have been on the same salary scales for over fifteen years and only God knows if relief will ever come their way. Not to digress so much from the focus of this discourse, the fact remains that despite all odds, lecturers of Nigerian universities still come up with wonderful research findings, which in most cases are neglected or outrightly abandoned.

For instance, Prof Falilatu Taiwo Ademiluyi of the Chemical Engineering Department of the Rivers State University (RSU)  had after a painstaking research come up with the findings the fuel could be gotten from cassava as against crude oil, which she said is fast dwindling. According to the astute professor, cassava can be found in virtually all the 774 local government areas of the country, to simplify the production of fuel in Nigeria.

But have the authorities concerned taken cognisance of this all-important research finding,not to talk of putting it into practice? This, she said, would save us from the endless turnaround maintenance of the imported giant refineries that has over the years become obsolete and alleviate the sufferings of the masses. To what extent has this research finding been put into use?

Another renowned scholar, Prof Emmanuel Akubugwo of the Department of Biochemistry, Abia State University (ABSU) had in his inaugural lecture titled,”Living with Death:Fact or Fantasy” posited that man would be better off if he cultivates the attitude of living friendly with his environment. This, Prof Emmanuel Akubugwo said, could be achieved by maintaining a healthy lifestyle devoid of hazardous drugs, among others.

The question again is what have our leaders been doing with plethora of sound research from our Universities? Another Researcher from the Rivers State University, Mechanical Engineering Department, Prof Barinaadaa Thaddeus Lebele-Alawa after his research on thermal power, submitted that thermal power is critical to the development of any nation. In fact he described thermal power as the bedrock of human civilisation.

Again, where is that research finding and what has the Nigerian government done with it? These are just a few  emanating from some of our reservoirs of knowledge, across the country.

It is worth mentioning that all the universities across Nigeria are rolling out research findings on a daily basis and our political leaders are globetrotting looking for solutions or Messiah to our nagging economic problems. Is it intentional, omission or commission? Whatever be the case, someone should remind our leaders that technology is not transferable, you either develop your own to soothe your peculiar needs or you steal another person’s (country’s) own. And no wonder, Ajaokuta Steel industry has remained uncompleted for decades, with trillions of Naira sunken.

The Federal Government, ably led by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu should constitute a high power Committee, composed of intellectuals and technocrats to garner all the research findings from our universities,with a view to harnessing them for the development of the country. This is critical because posterity will not forgive us if we fail.

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Sanwo-Olu rides red line from Ikeja to Iju ahead of commissioning

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Saturday, took a test run of the Red Line train, inspecting the tracks and the rail corridors for another time ahead of the of next Thursday formal commissioning of Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) infrastructure.

The 37-kilometre rail line, built by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), will be inaugurated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, along with its stations and other ancillary facilities. The Red Line traverses seven stations from Agbado, a boundary town in Ogun State, to Oyingbo in Lagos Central.

Sanwo-Olu took journalists on a train ride from the Ikeja Mega Station of the Red Line in a last-minute effort to make the infrastructure ready for opening.

Joining the Governor on the ride was the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the State cabinet.

The Red Line train, which left the garage track for the first time since it was delivered, departed from Ikeja Mega Station at exactly 2:23pm, moving steadily towards Agbado Station.

Six minutes later, the passengers arrived at Agege Station. The journey proceeded to Iju Station, arriving at 2:38pm — 15 minutes after leaving Ikeja.

While on board, Sanwo-Olu and his deputy moved along the coaches in a bid to ascertain the conditions the train’s cars — a set of Talgo wagons built in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the United States.

Some of the comfort facilities inspected by the Governor included the train’s cooling system, handrails, cushioned seats and in-built safety features of the wagons.

After the inspection, Sanwo-Olu said the train line was ready for commissioning, but added that there would be continuous enforcement to clear the train path of unapproved activities.

He said: “We just completed another inspection of the Red Rail Line facility and corridor; now we are back in Ikeja Mega Station. We all have just used the train to Iju and back. I’m sure our media men can fully report what we all witnessed in the course of the short journey. This rail infrastructure is ready for inauguration, but we still have a few cleaning to do.

“The challenge we have is the pedestrian interference on the rail track and unapproved activities seen along the corridor. We will continue with the enforcement we started against illegal use of the rail corridor. We are in talks with NRC (Nigeria Railway Corporation) to reinforce the train route with physical barriers to limit pedestrian interference.”

The Governor urged the State’s residents to adhere to the rules of using the rail line, noting that infrastructure was not built for commercial activities.

The train operation, Sanwo-Olu said, would be regular and trips would be made in every 15 minutes. He said it was necessary to eliminate incidents that could result in fatality along the track.

“We have reduced human interference on the track considerably over the last two months, but enforcement continues. The stations are ready, the trains are ready and I believe Lagosians are ready to welcome this new infrastructure built for their use and benefit,” Sanwo-Olu said.

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