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Owing Salaries, my Greatest Regret — Mimiko

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Immediate past governor of Ondo state, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has said that one of the insurmountable challenges his administration faced in its eight years of administering the state, was its inability to pay salaries as at when due. At the last count, his administration owed workers seven months salaries.

Dr Mimiko in his farewell broadcast to the people of the state pleaded with them to extend their full support to ‘our incoming governor’, Arakunrin (Mr) Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN.

He said: “We have recorded successes and also have our own measure of insurmountable challenges among which is the inability to pay salaries as at when due.

“We have made friends and admirers, we have also attracted detractors.

‘’We have not targeted anybody or institution for witch-hunt but have been true to our determination of ensuring that the interest of the greatest number of people is the determinant of all the decisions and choices we made.

Owing salaries, my greatest regret - Mimiko
Former Governor of Ondo state, Olusegun Mimiko

“My good people of Ondo State, to everything there is a season, so the holy book says. It is time now for me to go, having enjoyed the unique privilege of serving as your Governor these past eight years.

“I thank you for your support. I thank you for believing in me, and standing by me through thick and thin. I value your support and friendship at all times.

“By God’s own special grace, I will continue to repay the honour you did me by standing up in your support at all times. I pledge to remain a part of our communities even outside of government.

“What remains for me is to enjoin you, in the name of God, and for the good of our State, to extend your full support to our incoming Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN.

“ It is imperative we do this so as to keep our State firmly on the path of peace and progress on which it has been for the past eight years.

“May I then commit you all, the entire citizenry of Ondo State, our Sunshine State, our Place of Pride, into the safe hands of the Almighty God, on whose shoulder the governance of our State has rested these past eight years.

“To the glory of God, we made Ondo State the most peaceful State not just in the Niger Delta and the South-West, but arguably across the entire nation.

“We enhanced the self-confidence of students in our higher institutions, which has propelled them to the top of their game, either in the Law School, or the debating halls across the country.

“Our women no longer cut the destitute image as they ply their trade having now modern, clean and inviting facilities and stalls built across the State for their use.

“Our traditional institutions have been accorded their rightful place in the scheme of things as key players in the administration of our communities.

“I cannot thank the royal fathers enough for the way they partnered with us these past eight years in the determination to make our State the safest in the nation.

“Ondo State has not only done well, it has indeed become a benchmark across the globe in several of our well-conceived and well-delivered programs.

“It is now time to go and turn over the baton of state to another governor.’’

Dr Mimiko recalled some of the programs that have in the past eight years has set the State apart.

They include: Intervention in infrastructure like mega schools,the Abiye Safe Motherhood program, urban renewal, agriculture, independent power project, the Agbebiye program and investment in the Oil and Gas exploitation.

Others according to him include the kick starting of the Ondo State Government’s exclusively owned Free Trade Zone; seeking a credible investor in developing a Deep Sea Port; securing of license for the exploitation of the state’s bitumen deposit and signing Memorandum of Understanding with notable bitumen exploration companies.

Dr Mimiko said the State Government recently secured a $57million facility from the French Development Agency for reticulation, transmission and distribution of potable water from Owena Dam.

Ondo residents task Akeredolu

Meantime, some residents of Okitipupa in Ondo State yesterday, reminded the incoming governor, Olurotimi Akeredolu to fulfil his electioneering promises to the people.

The governor and the Deputy Gov. Agboola Ajayi would be sworn in today in Akure.

Some of the residents, who spoke with NAN in separate interviews in Okitipupa, said that the incoming government should prioritise prompt payment of salaries, empowerment of youths, agriculture and provision of social amenities.

They alleged that the outgoing government of Dr Olusegun Mimiko failed the people almost in every ramification which made them to vote for Akeredolu.

It won’t be a tea party but… —Akeredolu

Ondo state’s new governor, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, yesterday lauded the former governor for all his achievements and concluded that he has done his best within human limitation.

Akeredolu said that Dr Mimiko has left his imprint in the sand of time and history will judge him well.

He commended the transition team for their cooperation and the success of the whole exercise .

The new governor who said that the former governor should take a deserved rest after a tortuous eight year service noted that it was not going to be a tea party.

He was however optimistic that despite the curves, mountains, he will not give up.

Akeredolu said the new administration would still refer to the former governor because of his experience.

Meantime, the immediate past governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, last night said the state is in good hands with Rotimi Akeredolu as the new governor .

Dr Mimiko spoke at the handing over ceremony which took place at the governors office in Akure.

He pointed out that the people of the state should be rest assured that the new governor will perform well.

While appealing to the new governor to sustain the existing peace in the state, Dr. Mimiko said he would continue to assist the new administration whenever he is called upon.

He thanked God for seeing him through all the insurmountable challenges in the past eight years

The former governor prayed that the spirit of cooperation will continue and that subsequent governments will transmute seamlessly.

Dr Mimiko wished the new governor the best as he assumed office.

market stalls and help to modernise our markets too,” she said.

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Obasanjo to be Crowned Grand Patron of FESTAC’ 77

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Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) has scheduled to crown Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Grand Patron of FESTAC ’77 on March 3, 2017, in Abeokuta, Ogun State. This was recently disclosed to Vanguard’s Arts & Reviews by the Corporate Affairs Department CBAAC, D-G’s Office, at Broad Street, Lagos.

Manji Diyal, Corporate Affairs Officer, CBAAC, said the decision to honour Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was taken in recognition of the pivotal role he played in 1977 as the chief host of the unprecedented arts and cultural festival in Nigeria. He said there will also be a roll-out of 40 African traditional drums that day in Abeokuta, all as prelude to the 40th anniversary celebration of FESTAC ’77.

The great event will coincide with the 80th birthday of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. It would be recalled that FESTAC ’77 was previously scheduled to hold in 1974. It was later shifted to 1975. Still, it was postponed to 1977 due to change of government through which Providence enthroned Obasanjo to take charge of the affairs of the nation.

Obasanjo to be crowned Grand Patron of FESTAC’ 77
A painted portrait of former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Last year, the former president had told staff members of CBAAC who had visited him at his Ota residence that he will support the 40th anniversary celebration of FESTAC ’77and also mobilise for it. “Since we have never had another convergence of such magnitude in Africa, the 40th year of the last one is welcome. I will support it and mobilise former presidents in Africa to be here,” said Obasanjo.

Other prelude activities for the anniversary will be a launch of customised vehicle number plates which the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, has been commissioned to produce. The customised vehicle plate numbers will still be in use after the anniversary.

Manji also disclosed that there will be an exhibition on African creative industry in Abuja in which other African countries are expected to participate in performances ranging from folklores, traditional dances, contemporary dances (infusion of the old and the new), and pop-music. There will also be a colloquium with the theme: “Black and African Arts & Culture and the 21st Century Imperatives”. Other programs in collaboration with state governments are also being arranged, for instance, Enugu state’s masquerade (the mmawu), Sokoto and Katsina state’s Durbar.

Don’t expect another FESTAC ’77

As excitement mounts over the announced FESTAC 40th anniversary scheduled to kick off on April 1, 2017, Manji pleaded with people not to expect in 2017 another FESTAC 77 in terms of magnitude. The Corporate Affairs Officer said the real objective of the anniversary is to make it a platform for the revival of the ingenuity of African arts and culture and to “rekindle the spirit behind FESTAC ’77.

According to Manji, FESTAC 1977 was one magnificent event no one might be able to recreate. About 16,000 participants, representing 56 African nations and Africans in Diaspora, had attended and performed at the event held from January 15 to February 12, 1977. After the ’77 festival, all the exhibited arts and artifacts were handed over to Nigeria, not only for safe-keeping, but also for continued improvement. CBAAC was established in fulfillment of Nigerian’s pledge to be a custodian of those materials for the 59 Black and African countries which participated in the Festival.

On whether CBAAC and Nigeria are ready for this event, Manji said: “It’s not just a CBAAC’s event, there are other partners. We have been planning this for one year and we are not solely depending on government financially. We have some private sectors that have bought into the idea and are ready to partner with us. The program will be self-funded. Arts and culture are infinite and sustainable resources, and Africa is very rich in these. Our aim is to package this wealth of ours for enhanced patronage and for export.”

Indeed, Obasanjo is deserving of this honour, given his African-ness and love for African culture. In the Foreword of the book, Olusegun Obasanjo: The presidential legacy 1999-2007, Nelson Mandela wrote: “It gives me immense pleasure to join in applauding a remarkable African leader with outstanding qualities of sustained commitment, genuine African-ness and exemplary performance.”

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Businessman to Die by Hanging Over Wife's Death by Acid Bath

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A businessman and graduate of Mechanical Engineering from a university in the South-West region of the country, Suleiman Olalekan, is to die by hanging for killing his 22-year-old wife, Chika Egbo, by bathing her with acid.

Olalekan bowed his head and remained expressionless when his sentence was pronounced before a crowded Ikeja high court, yesterday.

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo sentenced Olalekan to death after finding him guilty of a two-count charge of murder and grievous bodily harm.

Lawal-Akapo ruled: “The defendant is found guilty of murder; the defendant, Suleiman Olalekan, will be hanged by the neck until you are dead. May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”

Olalekan’s trial started at the high court on December 9, 2014.

During the trial, the prosecution, led by Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, said Olalekan committed the offence on November 5, 2012.

Businessman to die by hanging over wife's death by acid bath

He said: “The accused at 1.35p.m. on the said day at Bakare Street, Ikotun, a Lagos suburb, allegedly caused the death of Chika Egbo by bathing her with acid.

“He also caused the grievous bodily harm of one Mr. Sunny Daniel, a commercial motorcyclist.”

According to the prosecution, the convict and the deceased got married and had a daughter, who is currently four years old.

He added: “The accused and the deceased were having problems in their relationship; the accused lured the deceased, who had moved to Enugu, back to Lagos under the guise that he wanted her to visit his mother.

“When she came to Lagos, he and the deceased hailed a commercial motorcycle, which was to convey them to his mother’s house. While the motorcycle was on motion, the accused brought out a container of acid and poured it on Egbo’s head.”

According to the prosecution, Suleiman was caught by passers-by and sympathisers while trying to flee the crime scene.

Kazeem continued: “The attack left Egbo’s head badly disfigured and unrecognisable as well as leaving severe burns on her shoulders, breasts and private parts.

“Daniel, the commercial motorcyclist, was also grievously injured during the attack and almost lost an eye. Egbo succumbed to her injuries at the Burns Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, on December 20, 2014.”

The offence contravened Sections 221 and 243 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Convict’s story

Suleiman, who pleaded not guilty during the trial on November 24, 2016, said that Egbo got doused in acid during a scuffle between him and her lover at a hotel room.

According to him, “On November 5, 2012, a friend informed me that Chika was in a hotel room with a lover. I went to the hotel and knocked on the door and Chika opened the door and a man called Emeka was lying on the bed in the room.

“A scuffle broke out between me and Emeka; Chika and Emeka brought out acid to pour on me, but Chika was injured in the acid attack.

“Daniel, the motorcyclist, was injured while conveying Chika to the hospital.”

He can’t be believed — Court

However, Justice Lawal-Akapo, while pronouncing the verdict, debunked Suleiman’s claims.

He said: “I closely watched the demeanour of the accused while he gave his evidence; he was panting and fidgeting. I believe his testimony was filled with falsehood.

“I believe he poured the acid on the deceased which led to her death and the three ingredients of murder have been established.

“The defendant put up the defence of provocation and strenuously admitted it in his defence. However, in his statement to the police when the incident was still fresh in his memory, he did not raise the issue of provocation.

“In his confessional statement, he admitted that a battery charger sold the acid to him for N1,500 after he told the battery charger that he needed the acid for an experiment.

“A scenario of provocation did not arise while they were in motion on the motorcycle. He also did not bring up the defence of provocation during his oral testimony.”

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We've Injected Over $16bn Into Nigerian Operations — MTN Group

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We've injected over $16bn into Nigerian operations — MTN Group

Despite the challenges arising from the N330 billion fine imposed on it by Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, last year, MTN Group said, yesterday, it had so far injected over $16 billion in its operations in the country.

Chairman/Chief Executive of MTN Group, Mr. Phuthuma Freedom Nhleko, disclosed this when he led a high level delegation to NCC headquarters in Abuja.

Nhleko, who was received by the Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, of the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, and his team, said the group had faith in Nigeria and would be willing to invest more in the sector in the years to come.

“We had challenges in the past, during the period of the fine, and we are grateful for the role the commission played towards an amicable resolution,” he said.

Nhleko, whose visit to the NCC management was a valedictory one as he steps down as Group Chairman in March, said: “We have a very long way to go and so ask for spectrum which is the oxygen and life blood to navigate this long and tedious investment journey. Without spectrum, the sector will suffocate.”

Nhleko specifically solicited more spectrum allocation and a release of the one that belonged to Visafone, which equity shares MTN acquired in 2015.

In his response, Prof. Danbatta said: “I like to state that our word is our covenant. When we take decisions, we are concerned about the stability of the industry and there is no way we can guarantee it without considering the dominant status of MTN and its obligations.

“If the dominant status is becoming stringent, we are open to engagement, we will be guided by what is happening in the market to ensure the growth and development of the sector.

“The sector has contributed very well to the National Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and has shown remarkable resilience in this recession.”

Danbatta said the NCC made a case for relaxing fiscal policies towards the sector to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, adding that the CBN governor was favorably disposed to request and further engagement, especially towards major players who desired to import equipment to aid deployment of broadband infrastructure services and others.

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Chinese Govt Demands Dry Yam From Nigeria

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The Chinese government has demanded dry yam from Nigeria to meet industrial and domestic needs.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Thursday, in Abuja, which a technical working committee was inaugurated to fast track the exportation of yam by July 2017.

Chinese govt demands dry yam from Nigeria
Yams being arranged for sale at Muda Lawal Market in Bauchi
The Minister said Nigeria has remained one of the world’s largest producer of yam, which accounts for 61.7 per cent of the global production of the rot crop, while there are over 60 varieties of yam, but sadly, Nigeria not among yam exporting countries.

He assured that local production and consumption of the commodity would not be affected by the move to export yam soon, rather government would scale up intervention in yam production, as farmers in the country have indicated willingness to increase production to meet both local and international demands.

He noted that high level of yam production was going on in Zakibiam in Benue State, the Minister said government would leverage on it and also spread production across the entire country.

However, he lamented Ghana, which produces far less than any yam producing state in Nigeria, has taken over the European market.

According to him yam consumed in the United States were imported from Ghana and a tuber of yam cost as high as $15.

He said: “Ghana is controlling Africa’s yam export market where Nigeria is one of the world’s largest producers. I am not sure if Ghana produces as much yam as any state of the federation”.

The Minister noted that the private sector driven committee was deliberate in other to guide the government on how to get a fair share of the global yam market.

He noted that the Nigerian yam export promotion programme was aimed at taking Nigerian yam production, processing and marketing to next level in line with what is done in other country.

He also emphasised the need to ensure that Nigerian agricultural produce meet the standard of foreign markets, and stressed the need for the country to design produce that would meet Nigerian health standard.

The minister tasked the committee to develop a framework for establishment of Nigeria yam export sea and airport where all documentation relating to the export are prepared, adding that they should facilitate acquisition warehouses at the receiving destination, rationalize the bureaucracy of export and enforcement agency located within one roof designated for Nigeria yam export park houses.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof Simon Tsange, said they have been doing underground work on the programme adding that the committee would ensure that in six months time, Nigerian yam would hit the international market.

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