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Plateau govt reveals how Gov. Lalong survived gang up of elite during election

Barely three weeks after the incumbent Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, emerged victorious at the polls, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Hon. Yakubu Dati, has described the re-election of his principal as a victory against a gang up of elites.

Speaking in an interview with journalists in Jos, the state capital, he stated that the elites had, in the past, been living big on the state’s resources, not bothering if workers were paid salaries or not.

Dati said, “Yes, there was that gang up against Lalong in the election; the gang up was made up of some elites who felt he did well to deny them access to public funds, as it used to be in previous PDP administrations.

“You know in the past, these elites lived big on state resources and they don’t care if civil servants are paid salaries or not.

“Such elites never cared if there are provisions of social infrastructure for the benefit of the entire populace”, he maintained.

Speaking on what endeared the governor to the citizenry and why he was re-elected, the Commissioner said, “In the first place, Governor Lalong is humane, humble and he is a God-fearing man. His kind of humility is unparalleled, his nature is such that does not want to hurt a fly, not to talk of a human being.

“He came with a mindset to be fair to all residents of the state, irrespective of political leaning, ethnic or religious background.

“He is at home with everyone and that personal attributes reflected positively in his style of administration in the last four years.

“The administration that ruled the state before him was the type that did a lot to elevate one tribe above others in their policies and programmes and such ethnic politics caused major divisions among the multi-ethnic population of the state,” he explained.

“But, when Lalong took over, he made it a deliberate policy to eradicate ethnic divisions and tried to bring the people together as equals. He made everyone equal stakeholder in the state and that alone endeared him to the people.

“Secondly, Governor Lalong has kept his electioneering promises to the people. As soon as he took over the mantle of leadership in 2015, he made wide consultations with the people to find out their areas of priorities and at the end he came up with what we called the ‘5-Pillar Policy’ of the administration.

“It is a kind of developmental blueprint that guides the government in addition to the promises he made to the people. That was why, if you take the issue of welfare of the people, for example, Lalong is second to none.

“He did not only make salary payments regular, he also made sure that he cleared backlog of salary arrears. In fact, he came into office when workers were on strike and he promptly promised that he was going to pay the backlog and he has not disappointed them.”

According to Dati, “The payment of salaries alone made the entire state happy, because even those that are not civil servants were happy because those who collect salaries patronise them and money is always in circulation.

“You can imagine a government that releases at least N2.5 billion into the state every month through salary payments. Definitely, it will impact on the economy of the state and petty traders, artisans, farmers usually feel the impact of the money in circulation.

“If you realise the economic impact of one month salary no government can afford to delay salary payments because that salary touches on every aspects of the economy. The local economy has picked up and everybody is pleased with the government.

“Thirdly, Governor Lalong recalled all civil servants that were sacked by the previous administration and those placed on indefinite suspension. He reinstated them and they were paid their arrears.

“The unemployed youths also like Governor Lalong, because they have also benefited from the administration through entrepreneurship training.

“As I speak to you, more than 100,000 Plateau youths benefited from the entrepreneurship programme organised by the Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (PLASMEDA), an agency created by the governor himself.

“The beneficiaries of this entrepreneurship programme cut across all the 17 local governments,” he stressed.

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FG speaks on snubbing some regions in development plans

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, assured that no region and state capital would be left out of its rail development master plan.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the assurance when he featured on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Programme, “Good Morning Nigeria”.

During the programme monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, the minister said the federal government was committed and focused on providing infrastructures and no part of Nigeria would be shortchanged.

“The Eastern rail corridor which traversed the South East and South-South states, connecting them to other regions is in the master plan and will be developed. We have been able to revamp our rail system.

“The Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Abeokuta standard gauge is being test run. The Itakpe-Warri-Ajaokuta is also running while the Kaduna to Abuja is overwhelmed.

“I can assure you that our rail programme will ensure that no state capital will be left out. That is our master plan. We are doing it in phases,” he said.

The minister, who said that the administration had invested on road projects across the nation, gave examples of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway which was abandoned by previous governments, the Shagamu-Ore and Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa roads.

The minister said that work on the Enugu-Aba-Port-Harcourt; Enugu-Onitsha expressways; the East-West road and second Niger Bridge, among others, are progressing very well.

He assured that in the next two to three years, Nigerians would see the completion of many of the roads.

He said implementation of Treasury Single Account had helped in blocking leakages and the channelling of government resources to critical infrastructure development.

“The government is building relationship with foreign countries and reaching out to global partners including ADB which are helping in development of infrastructures.

“African Development Bank has advanced about 6.5 billion dollars on infrastructure to Nigeria over the years,” he said.

Mohammed said that government was taking advantage of the Public Private Partnership arrangements to reach out to leading industrialists and manufacturers.

He said there were such arrangements with Dangote and BUA to develop critical infrastructures around the area of their operations while deductions would be made through taxation.

Speaking on power, the minister called the attention of Nigerians to the fact that the power sector had been privatised by past administrations.

He said it was unlike the past when the government controls generation, transmission and distribution.

“What we have today is a privatised power system where companies control generation and distribution. The only part left to government is transmission,” he said.

He said the Buhari administration had made several interventions resulting in increased power generation from 4,000 megawatts to 7,000 megawatts and stepped into addressing distribution challenges.

The minister said the government would make necessary intervention to ensure sustained improvement in power.

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Education

Ondo varsity shut as students ground academic activities

The Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko, AAUA, Ondo State has been shut.

This development followed the protest that greeted the decision of the school management to bar students from writing the continuous assessment as a result of school fees issue.

It was gathered that the university management had announced the enforcement of ‘No School Fees, No Test/Examination’ with large number of students not allowed to participate in Wednesday’s test.

Infuriated by the management’s decision, the students mobilized in their numbers and disrupted the test.

According to some of the students, they described the action of the school’s management as an effort to make indigent students drop out of going by the exorbitant fees put in place by the management last year.

A student , who gave his name as Williams explained that, “they (management) shut out most students who have not paid or balance their fees from writing this test.

“It is nothing but pure wickedness.

“They’re some of us whose parents don’t have the financial strength of paying the fees at once. It’s just unfair.

Another student, who gave her name as Titi said that “the management ought to outline modalities of making the fee convenient for students.

“Even in some private universities, they’re ways it’s done that it won’t be cumbersome for parents and students.

“Probably, the plan of the state government is to deprive us of university education.

However, the university management has ordered all students to vacate the campus with immediate effect.

The Registrar of the institution, Dr. Sunday Ayeerun in a statement said all students should resume Monday May 20, 2019.

“The Management of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State,has approved a Mid-Semester break for all students of the University.

“All students of the university are, therefore, advised to proceed on the Mid-Semester break with immediate effect.

“Students are to resume to campus on Monday, May 20, 2019,”

The students were billed to commence the first semester 2018/2019 academic session on May 5, 2019.

The Ondo State government had last year increased the school fees in the institution from average N35,000 to N180,000 which generated series of protests that led to the shutting down of the Akure the Ondo State capital for days.

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Rev. Akinola reveals those responsible for Nigeria’s problems

Rev. Peter Akinola, the former Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), has blamed past and present administrations in Nigeria for the decay in physical infrastructure around the country.

Akinola made the criticism in Abuja on Wednesday at the dedication of St. Matthias House, Church of Nigeria National Secretariat, at Plot 924, Ibrahim Waziri Crescent CAD Zone BOI, Gudu District.

He said it was sad that the 127.6km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway built at the cost of 90 million in 1978, had taken 20 years to be rehabilitated in spite of huge funds sunk into the job by different administrations.

The cleric said that Nigerians needed guidance that would lead the way to the place of rest and charged the church to base its decisions on the reformation principles of God.

“The decision must be predicted on reformation principles, what the scriptures say, Christ should guide decision,” he said.

He advised the church not to allow politicians to guide its activities or influence its decisions.

Akinola expressed regrets over the poor quality of education in the country, adding that because politicians could not fix the problems of the country, they sent their children abroad to study.

He also criticised the poor state of health facilities in the country and described public hospitals as a glorified clinics.

“In our national teaching hospitals, people now sleep on the flour, women now give birth on the floor while nurses engage their phones.

“Our politicians go overseas and are not bothered about how they will help dying Nigerians because they cannot give what they do not have,” he said.

Akinola said that the church belongs to God and not for any ethnic group and urged tribal leaders and politicians to put all their agenda outside the church to enable the church leader to succeed.

Commenting on the killings across the country, he advised Christians to be law-abiding and promote peace as God they serve is a God of peace.

He expressed regrets over the killing of 10 youths in Gombe on Sunday night but noted that when people were pushed to the wall they reacted violently.

In his speech, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of the Church, spoke about God’s faithfulness towards the completion of St Matthias House and likened it to the story of the Israelites to the Promise Land.

Okoh said that God gave man the skill to build houses and He had given the Church of Nigeria in its 40th year the skill to build a new National Secretariat and office complex.

“We have come to offer thanksgiving to God and to dedicate this new building to His honour and glory as we present the National secretariat,” he said.

The primate said the buildings had been dedicated to God through prayer, worship and service of God.

Okoh said the country needed development but stressed that development was not a 100m dash but a marathon which requires one step at a time.

“What Nigeria needs actually is that at any given time there should be one development going on, either in education, in health and in all areas of our lives so that through this way progress is made.

“What is more of a problem to Nigeria is the absence of light, we cannot continue with this generator matter and whoever is selling this generator to us is our enemies; our government should know that generator dealers are part of our problems and should find a solution to it,” he said.

Okoh stressed the need for the government to protect the citizens and urged the people to choose persons of integrity to protect their interests.

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) came into being on Feb. 14, 1979, recognised as St. Matthias Day.

The church was formed from the 16 dioceses of the Anglican Church in Nigeria out of the Anglican Province of West Africa.

Construction of the secretariat started on Jan. 12, 2016.

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