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UNILAG, Okebukola mourn Ibidapo-Obe

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The University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Monday described the death of its former vice-chancellor, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, as a rude shock and a huge loss to the academia.

Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, in a statement, said Ibidapo-Obe exited the world at a time that his experience was in dire need for nation building.

Ibidapo-Obe died on Sunday, Jan. 3 at 71.

Until his death, he was the Pro-Chancellor and Council Chairman of First Technical University, Ibadan.

The former vice-chancellor was a distinguished professor of Systems Engineering.

He was vice-chancellor of UNILAG from 2000 to 2007

The late don was also the president of the Nigerian Academy of Science from 2009 to 2013.

Ogundipe said: ”For us at the University of Lagos, we take solace in his many enduring legacies and footprints, which will remain with us for many years to come. The late 8th vice-chancellor was amiable and well-respected.

”The news of his death came to the university community as a rude shock, because of the great service and dedication he had put into developing the institution, since he joined as a student in 1968; later as a staff and eventually as the 8th Vice-Chancellor.

”His commitment, vision, resilience and tenacious nature helped to shape the university in many ways.

”The university has indeed lost an erudite scholar. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace and the good Lord give his family and the university the fortitude to bear the great loss.”

Also reacting, Prof. Peter Okebukola, former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), described the death of Ibidapo-Obe as a shock of epic proportion to him.

Okebukola, a distinguished Professor of Science and Computer Education, said that Nigeria had lost a university administrator of special ilk and a scholar of immense lustre.

”We had drawn up plans for 2021 but God had other plans of taking him home.

”Even now, I am unable to process the news that came filtering in from late afternoon of Jan. 3.

”Can my friend of about 21 years go just like that? Our close interaction started while he was vice-chancellor, University of Lagos and I was executive secretary, NUC.

”His impressive leadership qualities and eminence of scholarship attracted him to me and along with Prof. Nimi Briggs, who was vice-chancellor, University of Port Harcourt.

“We formed a trio that has remained unbroken until the cold hands of death snatched Oye,” he said.

According to him, like twins, Oye and I offered service in several national and Africa regional academic engagements and I found him a clear-headed partner and deep thinker, who offered solutions to knotty problems that will overwhelm most.

”We were together in December, at the convocation ceremony of Crawford University, where he served as Chairman of Council and I, as Chairman, Board of Trustees, bubbling with energy and full of life.

”I lost a friend and brother. May his soul rest in peace,” Okebukola said.

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Hope rises for public schools, as Gov. Fubara pledges to restore old glory

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Barth Ndubuwah, Port Harcourt

The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that his administration will transform the educational system in the state to ensure that parents bring back their children and wards from private to public schools.

Accordingly, the school supervision is to be strengthened to make public schools a shining model to achieve desired goals.

Governor Fubara disclosed this while addressing members of the Rivers State Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) for All Government Schools during a solidarity visit at Government House, Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

Represented by the Head of Rivers State Civil Service, Dr George Nwaeke, Governor Fubara noted the government’s plans to give public schools a facelift both in terms of infrastructure and content development.

The Governor pointed out that government efforts were aimed at reducing the burden on parents who he said  spent a greater percentage of their meagre salaries for school fees, with a view to making life better for their children.

“We are going to transform the school system in Rivers State. The school supervision is also going to be made stronger.

“Many people are forced to take their children to private schools. We will make our schools to be models whereby there will be an osmotic movement from the private schools back to the public schools.

“Many people, the minimum wage is not enough for them, because they have to pay for private schools’ fees. But when we rebuild government schools in terms of infrastructure, and more importantly the content, people will come back from the private schools.

“When that happens, parents will have less to pay, cost of living will become lower and standard of living will become higher and a better economy for us,” he noted.

Governor Fubara also frowned at a situation where parents go to schools to harass teachers who discipline their children and wards, saying that his administration will not tolerate such negative trends.

The Governor, therefore, sued for a symbiotic relationship between parents and teachers to ensure that parents give teachers the needed support to teach their children properly, while teachers in turn, see their pupils as their own children.

He said, “Government is desirous to turn around the fortunes of our schools. Parents, please allow your children to be taught. I hear that some parents go to schools to molest teachers. This administration will not tolerate that. We cannot, in any way, condone indiscipline.

“When you remove discipline from a child’s upbringing, that child cannot be well brought up. So, when you bring your children to school, allow them to be taught.

“And to you teachers, when parents also bring their children, treat them like your children. There should not be any difference between your biological children and other children,” he emphasised.

While maintaining that the state government had carried teachers along, unlike the previous administration, which denied them promotion and failed to assist in the building of their Secretariat, Governor Fubara admonished parents and teachers to join hands with the government to turn around the school system.

“The Government has done much for teachers. All the teachers are civil servants, and I am the Head of Service. I can say authoritatively that all of us received N100,000.00 each in December, 2023, in addition to our salaries.

“Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) is the body that manages all the teachers in the state. They have a structure they are building somewhere which has stayed there for many years. As we speak, the sum of N250 million has been released to finish that building.

“Before now, the previous administration did not care much about what happens in schools. Teachers were using their money to run schools. It’s no longer so now. Money has been released to the Senior Secondary Schools Board to purchase instructional and educational materials which they will use.

“Teachers, you were not promoted for many years. This Governor came and you were promoted and also paid arrears. To him that much has been given, they say, much is also expected. Let every teacher sit up now. Let every parent try as much as possible to cooperate so that we can achieve set goals,” he said.

Governor Fubara assured that with the rightful support and every person doing his or her own part, the government will hand over to our children a state that is better than what it met.

Presenting the address of members of the Parents Teachers’ Association for All Government Schools, the State Chairman, Comrade Boma Watson Allison, said the solidarity visit was to congratulate the Governor for his lofty achievements, people-centric programmes and policies in his first year in office.

Comrade Allison, who listed the Andoni section of the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road, Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road, the Trans-Kalabari Road, Eleme-Old Bori Road, and rehabilitation of RTC as part of the Governor’s achievements, pledged their loyalty and unflinching support to the administration.

He, however, drew the attention of the Governor to some pressing needs of the PTA, including recruitment of teachers, payment of imprest to principals and head teachers, rehabilitation and infrastructural development of schools, and appealed to him to look into the issues, with a view to solving them.

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Democracy Day: Oborevwori felicitates Deltans, other Nigerians

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By Dave Okpogadie, Asaba

Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta  state has congratulated  Deltans and other Nigerians on this year’s Democracy Day today, June 12.

Oborevwori’s felicitation was contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Festus Ahon, in Asaba, wherein he joined Deltans and other Nigerians in thanking God for another wonderful year of democracy in our country.

He stated that Nigerians deserved to celebrate despite the numerous challenges bedevilling the country.

Governor Oborevwori expressed optimism about the growth and eventual flourish of Nigeria’s democracy, citing enhancements in electoral laws, and encouraged the citizens to leverage on the reforms to elect leaders inclined to promote good governance and the well-being of the nation.

Oborevwori said, “On behalf of my family, the government, and people of Delta State, I congratulate Deltans and other Nigerians on the commemoration of the 2024 Democracy Day, today, June 12.

“I extend warm congratulations to all Nigerians, especially the people of Delta State and its residents, as we commemorate the 2024 Democracy Day and mark the first anniversary of this administration. Over the past 25 years, we have embarked on an uninterrupted democratic voyage.

“While we have faced challenges as a nation, my administration acknowledges and empathises with the difficulties our citizens are currently enduring.

“Nevertheless, amidst adversity, there is always hope. Let us remain optimistic that our future will be brighter than our present.

“We are grateful that, since 1999, Nigeria has experienced a continuous period of democratic governance, allowing citizens to freely choose their leaders and enjoy the benefits of good governance for the past 25 years, marking a significant milestone in our nation’s history.

“Building on the progress made by previous administrations, our government is committed to further enhancing the infrastructure and human capital of our state, as outlined in our MORE Agenda, ensuring continued growth and development for the benefit of all citizens.

“I encourage all citizens of Delta State and Nigeria to remain optimistic and steadfast, as our nation will overcome its current challenges through collective efforts, prayers, cooperation, and a shared vision among leaders and the led, leading to a brighter future for all.

“May God’s blessings continue to shine upon our dear state and nation as we progress on our path of democratic growth and development. I wish all Nigerians a joyous Democracy Day celebration,” he concluded.

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Alia debunks repeal of anti-open grazing law

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

Benue State Governor Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia on Wednesday dismissed in its entirety the speculations making around and outside the state that his administration has repealed the anti open grazing and ranches establishment law 2017.

Governor Alia assured the people of the state that his administration has rather strengthened the law more with stringent and stiff measures awaiting offenders of law.

The governor further described the speculations as false and unfounded fashioned by certain enemies of the state who are out there to distract his administration.

He promised not to be distracted but remain focused and committed to taking the state to the promised land.

Alia dismissed the insinuations demeaning his administration for repealing the anti open grazing law while addressing mammoth Benue crowd on the occasion of 25 years of uninterrupted Democracy in Nigeria and the state in particular at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) Square in Makurdi.

“My administration is focused and committed in ensuring the deliverance of Democracy dividends to the Benue masses by executing policies and programs that have direct bearing on the lives of the people,” Alia promised.

The governor also highlighted some of his modest achievements, cutting across Infrastructure, Health, Education, Agriculture and International Investment among other sectors of the state economy within one year.

As an agrarian state, the Governor revealed that his administration procured and distributed 300 metric tons of fertilisers at 50 percent subsidised rate to farmers for N12,500 against N25,500 and the construction of two overhead bridges in Gboko and Makurdi towns.

In Education, the governor said his administration has been able to register WAEC, NECO and NABTEB exams for final year students in government schools, reconstruction and modernisation of the Benue state house of Assembly complex, payment of workers salaries, pension and gratuities among numerous achievements in the state within one year without borrowing a dime from any quarters.

Fielding questions from Nigerian NewsDirect, Hon. Mrs. Comfort Agbo, the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Gwer East local government council,described the governor as God’s sent to the people of Benue state as his leadership disposition is the true reflection of the confidence Benue people reposed in him during the 2023 governorship polls.

The chairman also felicitated with the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Governor Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, his deputy Barr. Sam Ode and the Speaker, Benue assembly Hon. Aondona Dajoh on the auspicious occasion of the 2024 June 12 democracy Day celebrations.

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