President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated veteran broadcaster, administrator and Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Christopher Kolade, who turns 85 on December 28, 2017.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina in a statement on Tuesday, December 27 said President Buhari joins celebrates the graceful life of the versatile scholar whose achievements in various undertakings, both in the private and public sector, clearly underscore the power of discipline, focus and integrity.
“As he turns 85 years, the President commends Kolade’s many years of contributions to national development as an academic, administrator and a diplomat, especially in continually counselling leaders and mentoring the younger generation,” the statement read in part.
President Buhari believes the octogenarian has earned the respect and honour of both the young and old by walking in the fear of God and leading a life of integrity, which are invaluable attributes that he recommends to all Nigerians, especially aspiring leaders.
The remains of late elder statesman and two-time Governor of Mid-Western State and later Bendel State, Brigadier General Samuel Ogbemudia (rtd), has been laid to rest.
Dr. Ogbemudia was buried at his residence in Ihaya Street, Benin City, following an interdenominational service held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in the Edo State capital.
A combined team of clergymen from the Christian Association of Nigeria, Edo and Delta chapters took charge of proceedings at the venue.
Family, friends, close associates, past and serving Governors of Edo and Delta states, as well as members of National Assembly and their state counterparts also witnessed the ceremony where they paid their last respects to the two-time Governor.
In a sermon titled “the man and his works”, Bishop Oyonude Kure said the late Ogbemudia by his laudable achievements as an administrator lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation.
Shortly after the sermon there were tributes from former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Otuaro among others.
Major stakeholders in the Niger Delta have met to curtail the continued militant attacks on Nigeria’s oil facilities in the region.
The stakeholders converged on Delta State, south-south Nigeria to hold an all-inclusive Niger Delta Coastal States Stakeholders’ Consultative meeting to further curtail the recent tension that has gripped the region.
The convener of the meeting and elder statesman, Dr. Edwin Clark, stressed the importance of the meeting.
He said it would enable concerned parties air their views on issues affecting the security of oil and gas facilities in the oil-rich region.
Dr. Clark further stated that efforts to bring the destruction of pipelines to a halt gave rise to the meeting held at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun which was attended by many delegates from different state of the region, including the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
In his remark at the meeting held on Friday, Governor Okowa emphasised the need to work in synergy in the selection of representatives to ensure they speak in one voice at any discussion or dialogue with the Federal Government.
Various participants at the meeting also said it was imperative for the militants to channel their grievances to the government, rather than engaging in the destruction of facilities.
However, they called for the implementation of the recommendations at the last National Conference, the commencement of the Maritime University at Okerenkoko and the adequate funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) among others.
Elder Statesman, Ayo Adebanjo, believes in Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan’s sincerity to implement the over 500 recommendations from the National Conference held earlier in year.
While expressing his confidence in the President, he said that Nigerians have expressed too much doubts in the sincerity of the President to convene the conference in the first place but he has so far fulfilled every promise he made regarding the matter.
Speaking on Politics Today on Channels Television, Adebanjo argued that President Jonathan deserved some trust from Nigerians based on his sincerity to Nigerians and his determination to convene a national dialogue that surpassed similar attempts in the past.
He noted that the quality of representation at the conference, which was that of top quality and made up of persons like him who had the interest of the country at heart, showed how committed President Jonathan was to the dialogue and change that Nigerians had clamoured for since the end of military government.
Adebanjo, who was one of the delegates, added that he was one of those who fought for Nigeria’s independence and there was no way he would not understand how much the original constitution Nigeria was expected to be operating had been manipulated by the military.
He said that the conference has been able to tackle the main issues affecting the progress of the country and so far no one has been able to fault the quality of work done by the delegates.
Disparity With National Assembly Resolutions
The National Assembly recently passed resolutions amending parts of the Nigerian constitution but some of their resolutions have been seen to negate the recommendations of the National Conference.
The National Conference had recommended the removal of immunity for the executive arm of the government but the National Assembly voted against this in its recent constitution amendment.
Adebanjo noted that the National Assembly was one of the problems they went to the National Conference to solve and he did not expect them to approve the removal of policies that they have been “enjoying adversely against the interest of the people”.
He particularly took exception to the National Conference’s resolutions being compared or being discussed in relation to the National Assembly’s recent constitution amendments.
He questioned the quality of persons in the National Assembly and the elections that took them into the legislative houses.
Adebanjo also aligned with the view expressed by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo that the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket allegedly being nursed by the All Progressives Congress towards the 2015 presidential election.
He said that this move showed insensitivity to the current state of mind of Nigerians and would be counter-productive.
President Goodluck Jonathan has described a former Nigerian Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, as a good example of an elder statesman and a true patriot that should be emulated by Nigerians.
Dr Jonathan was speaking on Sunday at the 80th birthday thanksgiving service in honour of General Gowon at the National Christian Center in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He commended General Gowon’s insistence on the unity of the country and the ‘three Rs’ of Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation that followed the Nigerian civil war.
President Jonathan said the General had been supportive of all administrations that came after his, especially with his pet programme Nigeria Prays Project, which has been used as an instrument for the good of Nigerians.
“After the war, General Gowon was not looking at the issue of defeating an opponent or crushing an opponent. But the issue of rebuilding a nation that was devastated due to unnecessary disagreement.
“After dropping the gun, he picked up to keep this country together. Immediately he left as a military Head of State, he picked the baton, the most formidable instrument for peace, and he came out with Nigeria Prays,” President Jonathan said.
With a processional hymn the thanksgiving service in honour of General Gowon started.
As he marks his 80th birthday, people from all walks of life were in church to hail the power that has sustained General Gowon all these 80 years.
Apart from the variety of songs that graced the occasion, there were prayers of worship and thanksgiving to God for giving Nigerians a man who fought to unite the great country called Nigeria.
He is seen as a man who was given to Nigerians as Head of State at the time the country was plunged into war in 1966.
Prayers for peace in Nigeria, Africa and the world were said by Cardinal John Onaiyekan.
Tributes to the celebrant, centred around General Gowons goodness, while the Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, in his sermon called on Nigerians to shun corruption at all levels if they wanted to be blessed same way.
Prayer were said for General Gowon, with a request that God will grant him many more years and indeed grant Nigerians that peace which he stood for all these years.
For Gowon, it is only faith in God that has kept him going, as his life is said to have shown that those who trust in the lord shall never be left behind.
In a press statement made available to Channels Television, Prof. Nwabueze disclosed that he has been battling with prostrate cancer and has been surviving by “consultations from time to time with, and treatment by, a Consultant Oncologist at Charing Cross Hospital in London”.
The elder statesman, who said he never expected to be appointed chairman or member of the Committee, added that he “considered such an appointment inappropriate in the circumstances.”
It is an appointment for a younger person, not for an old man of 83 years afflicted by ill-health,” he said.
“The Patriots remain willing to work with the Presidential Committee, and to give it all necessary assistance, if called upon to do so.”
He also revealed that he already had plans to contribute to the convention of a National Conference.
“While still in London and before the setting up of the Presidential Committee was announced, I wrote to 13 prominent lawyers and political scientists to join me in a committee to prepare a Draft People’s Constitution which will be submitted for deliberation at the Uyo National Summit when it re-convenes in terms of paragraph 7 of the Communique adopted at the 3/4 September Meeting, and thereafter to be presented to the Presidency and the National Assembly as a working Paper for the National Conference proper.”
He also raised concern with a section of the Terms of Reference of the Presidential Committee, which he said contains “a somewhat vaguely worded item, to wit, “to advise government on legal procedures and options for integrating decisions and outcomes of the national dialogue/conference into the constitution and laws of the nation.”