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Europe envies our population in Northern region — Usman Bugaje

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By Idibia Gabriel, Kaduna

Northern Nigeria is more important as one of the fastest growing population in the world, Mr. Usman Bugaje has said.

Mr. Bugaje made the assertion in a key note address at the official launching of Arewa Movement for Good Governance (AM2G) and Presentation of AM2G Chapter and the Book “Principal of Leadership Snippets from Islam and Christianity” in Kaduna on Thursday.

He said Europe is envious of the north because of its growing population with 60 percent under 35:years.

“More importantly, we have one of the fastest growing population in the world. At least 60% of this population is under 35 years, which

makes us the envy of Europe, whose population has been on decline for some time now. In short, the North is so blessed that we have no reason to remain in poverty and underdevelopment”, he stated.

Earlier, Bugaje noted that “in the last sixty years or so, the North has seen a lot but apparentlyearnt very little. The North represents 78% of the land mass of this country, the last town in the south of Kogi State is on the same latitude with Abeokuta.

“And only about 40% of this land is under cultivation, its productivity can easily be raised ten times with basic agricultural technology. We have a variety of climatic conditions that allows us to grow a variety of agricultural products.

“The North is already the bread basket of the country, a litre of milk is easily more expensive than a litre of crude oil. On top of this, the North has all the minerals that the world is looking for. At the last count we have 33 such minerals foremost among them iron ore, gold diamond, chromite nickle, uranium, copper, gem stone (Sapphire), etc.

“In addition to all these we have been discovering an increasing deposits of hydrocarbons (the much talked about crude oil we have abundance of sunlight and wind which today are the enviable sources of alternative, better still renewable energy”, he said.

According to Bugaje, Our founding fathers saw the potentials and understood what to do. They were able to manage these resources so well that the North provided the critical funding for the economic foundation of the federation.

“They were also able to manage our diversities so well that we lived so much as ‘our brothers keepers’ that the rest of the country saw the North as one solid block. This gave us a

demographic edge in a democracy which made the North to call the shots in determining the country’s political direction.

“Indeed there was a time when the Sardauna was not happy with a mosque project, so he took the funds away from the Muslims and gave it to Christians, who dutifully built the mosque. That was how close our founding fathers were.

“That amicability, respect and sincerity was what gave North its strength and its focus and what enabled it to hold the country together in times of crises. They had a respect for hierarchy irrespective of religious or ethnic affiliations and they kept such high standards for hard work, dedication to duty and honesty that allowed them to lift the region from its poverty to prosperity.

“Both the traditional and religious institutions worked in sync to support the administration in a unique show of cooperation and coordination”, he stated.

He however lamented that the north is now embroiled in internecine conflicts and busy

undermining each other.

“Yet, here we are today embroiled in internecine conflicts and busy undermining each other. In the last 40 years or so, the North has been

registering numerous internal crises, particularly ethnic and religious squabbles and conflicts.

“Rather predictably, the North has been sliding into poverty, its industries kept shutting down, with low productivity, increasing joblessness, deepening the poverty and rising youth irritability and rebellion until we found ourselves on this hot bed of religious and ethnic hostility and now this debilitating insecurity that has tuned the whole region desolate.

“It is further worsened by the fact that our pristine values of selflessness, hard work, honesty, probity and courage are daily being eroded and our specify has been literally decomposing.

“Here we are today daily, losing our respect and dignity, unable to travel freely, unable farm, earn a living, under a constant fear of being kidnapped, and we and our political leaders have not been able to find solution”, he lamented.

Dignitaries from both religious faith were present at the occasion held at Arewa house Kaduna.

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Insurgency: Zulum calls for establishment of military base in Sambisa, Lake Chad shore, others

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The Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum of Borno has called for the establishment of a military base in Sambisa, Lake Chad shores and other places taken over by terrorists.

The Governor made this known during a courtesy visit by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Army on Wednesday to the Government house in Maiduguri.

The Governor urged the army to establish a military base on the shores of Lake Chad and Mandara Mountain, which continued to be a haven for terrorists.

“On the issue of completely ending it (insurgency), there’s a need for the government to establish a military base in Sambisa, shores of Lake Chad, and Mandara Hills.”

He urged the National Assembly to ensure adequate appropriations for weapons to tackle insecurity.

Zulum also decried the porous borders in Borno and the need to secure the state bordering three countries to contain the movement of small arms fueling insecurity in the north.

He reiterated his commitment to support the military in its kinetic and non-kinetic approach to tackling insurgency, adding that so far, about 190,000 repentant Boko Haram members surrendered to the authorities.

According to Zulum, managing the huge number of repentant Boko Haram members is another crisis that needs stakeholders’ support.

He said the government had resettled two million out of the over three million displaced persons in the state and stressed the need for total peace to enable the displaced persons to return to their ancestral homes.

“The continuous stay of over one million displaced persons in camps is not sustainable, particularly with the rising cases of prostitution and drug abuse.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Abdullahi Mamudu, said they were in the state for the oversight function.

Mamudu lauded Zulum for his commitment and support to the Army and other security agencies and urged him to sustain the tempo for more success.

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Nigeria’s brand now sellable to global community — Abiodun

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…Tasks public relations practitioners to project Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda

By Omobolaji Adekunle, Abeokuta

The Ogun State Tinubu-led administration aimed at putting the country on the right economic trajectory have started yielding positive results.

According to him, Nigeria has now become an attractive brand that is sellable in the global community, saying it is incumbent on public relations specialists  to start selling Nigeria’s renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu around the world as a way of attracting more investments to boost the real sector of the economy.

The Governor spoke at the maiden edition of Nigeria Public Relations Week with the theme: Leveraging Public Relations As A Critical Asset For Nigeria’s Economic And Reputation Renaissance, held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.

Abiodun, who was conferred as the Patron of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, also informed the practitioners of the need to help in showcasing the potentials that abound in Ogun State through their professional ingenuity.

Governor Abiodun emphasised the need for all Nigerians to be involved in promoting the good image of the country at all times.

He said, “Exploring the power and passion of public relations to engender speedy development and sustainable growth for an economic and reputational renaissance, as the theme of this week implies, is intrinsically an essential requirement for any government.

“I recall that in the last few months and following the appointment of the CBN Governor,  Mr Yemi Cardoso, as he rolled out his road map of monetary policies he kept on emphasising on the determination to embark on new public relations policy for the bank which has led to the successful management of forex.

“I want to say this exactly defines the leadership being provided by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to change the old order and entrench the image of a promising country with a consciousness of sustainability. Indeed, there can not be branding without a product.

“The right steps being taken by the Federal Government towards total regurgitation of the Nigerian macroeconomy, via the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President who started with very bold and decisive goals that have begun to yield positive and desired results to the admiration of patriotic Nigerians and the astonishment of pessimists.”

Abiodun noted that some of the economic policies such as the removal of fuel subsidy and the floating of naira introduced by the government at the centre to revamping the nation’s economy have started yielding positive results as the local currency gains momentum on a daily basis.

The governor described public relations as a strategic communication from an organization to the public to maintain or cultivate confidence and response to public discussion, adding that it remains the critical asset for any responsive government in the quest to build a vibrant economy and sustainable growth.

Public relations, the Governor averred, focuses on the goals of an organisation rather than the specific methods, saying it proffers necessary direction during economic turbulence, shape images and reputations, calling on the practitioners to help project the image of the State and country in a positive way.

He explained that the state government since inception has embarked on massive infrastructural amenities towards creating an enabling environment to improve on ease of doing business in the state which he said has made the state to be a choice of investment and fastest growing economy in the country

The Governor while promising more developmental projects across the state, said that the current administration has constructed over 500 kilometres of roads across the state to ease movement of the people, rehabilitated over 100 Primary Health Centres, and built over 4000 affordable houses as well as tackle insecurity by equipping security agencies with modern gadgets and patrol vehicles.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Muhammed Idris, represented by the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Alhaji Isa Lanre Onilu, in his remarks, said for Nigeria to realized her collective vision, there was the need for Nigerians to celebrate their achievements as well as chart a new way forward.

While calling for the use of power of communication, the Minister maintained that it was imperative for practitioners to fight against quackery and sanitise the profession, saying his mission was to restore trust in public communication, amplify good policies and programmes, inspired and reoriented national values, recognise quality and talents in the federal government information and communication system and create an enabling environment for the media to thrive.

President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Dr. Ike Neliaku, said public relations is all about management of reputation and perception as the difference between one country and another is reputation.

He said practitioners of public relations are making important contributions all over the world, saying that it is important to allow them to perform their duties without hindrance, as the profession is a key to all things, as no organization or government could go far without adequate management of reputations and relationships.

Dr. Neliaku said Ogun State was chosen to host the event considering its position in terms of recording firsts in the country, emphasizing that governor Abiodun was conferred with the title in accordance with the constitution of the institute that allowed it to honour any governor with track record and that has impacted significantly in development of his state.

The governor, who was made a patron of the institute, also donated a brand new bus and a befitting secretariat to the Ogun branch of the institute.

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ICPC advocates for synergy between armed forces, paramilitary agencies to combat corruption

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The Independent  Corrupt Practices and Other Related  Offences Commission, ICPC, has called for proper synergy among armed forces and paramilitary agencies to stem the tide of corruption in Nigeria.

The call was made by the ICPC Chairman, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of a 3-day workshop on “21st Century Policing: Capacity Building Techniques and Brand Management for Security Image Makers” holding in Abuja.

Dr. Aliyu, who spoke through the Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Clifford Okwudiri Okparaodu, said the Commission was willing to work with other sister agencies in the security sector to prevent corruption through its system study and review, corruption risk assessment including capacity building through the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN).

In his words, “Undoubtedly, the war against corruption cannot be won in a swoop, neither can it be won by ICPC or any anti-corruption agency alone, but by a series of efforts involving stakeholders like you. This is where your role as the image makers of your agencies comes to the fore.

“As public relations professionals and image makers for your organisations, you should not only report the right things about your organisation but be seen to be doing the right things. You are not expected to cover up acts of corruption in the name of projecting the image of your organisation.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Provost of ACAN, Prof. Olawale Babawale revealed that since its inception in 2014, the Academy has successfully trained over 24,000 participants, through hybrid methods, even across ECOWAS sub-region and the African Union.

He explained that given the strategic role of public relations practitioners as the image makers of their Organisations, they are expected to be the bastion of integrity and veritable partners in the war against corruption especially for the military, paramilitary, law enforcement, and registered private security organisations.

Prof. Babawale said, “The learning objectives have been formulated in such a way that participants are equipped with the knowledge and skills that would enable them to become viable partners in the anti-corruption war, while also carrying out their duties effectively, using contemporary strategies. This way, we believe that the foundation for a long-term sustainable assault on corruption is laid.”

Participants were drawn from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Army, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and Information officers from the Ministry of Interior.

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