Buhari Approves New Board For NTA, Others

Buhari at his office The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has a new board led by a former Newspaper Editor and former Presidential Spokesman, Mr Duro Onabule.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday approved the new board which consists of six other Executive Directors.

They are: Dr. Steve Egbo, Administration and Training; Abdul Hamid Salihu Dembos, Marketing; Mohammed Labbo, News; Fatima M. Barda, Finance; Stephen Okoanachi, Engineering; and Wole Coker, Programmes.

Some other appointments were also announced in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“At the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Aliyu Hayatu is new chairman, while Buhari Auwalu and Yinka Amosun, are Zonal Directors, Kaduna and Lagos, respectively.

“Under the Ministry of Information and Culture, the following agencies have new appointees: Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr. Chika Maduekwe, General Manager; National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria, Comrade Tar Ukoh, Artistic Director; National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General; National Film and Video Censors Board, Folorunsho Coker, Director-General,” the statement read.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, will also serve as the Chairman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), while Mr Mustapha Maihaja is to serve as the agency’s Director-General.

According to the statement, other members of the NEMA Board are: “The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir Lawal; Captain Talba Alkali, representing Ministry of Transport and Aviation; Ambassador Rabiu Dagari, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Ngozi Azadoh, Ministry of Health; Mr Muhammadu Maccido, Ministry of Interior; Mr Ajisegiri Benson Akinloye; Ministry of Water Resources, Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Anebi, Nigerian Armed Forces; and AIG Salisu Fagge Abdullahi, Nigerian Police Force”.

The President’s spokesman said the appointments are to take immediate effect.

Ajimobi Inspects Apete Bridge Project, Demands Faster Process

Apete BridgeThe Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, has demanded a faster process towards the completion of the Apete Bridge, which was washed away in 2011, and is now under construction.

Accompanied by members of his cabinet, Governor Ajimobi inspected the on-going construction work on the bridge, to assess the extent of the damage and to assure the people that government has not abandoned them.

During the visit, he disclosed that Government had paid a substantial part of the contract sum to the contractor but halted further payment to ensure the contractors give value for money.

A cross section of residents who spoke to Channels Television implored Government to speed up efforts on the bridge as they have been cut off from the rest of the city.

Meanwhile the Commissioner of Works, Mr Bimbo Kolade, explained that the Apete brigde project would be all encompassing, as 3.5km road leading to the bridge was also under rehabilitation and expansion. He assured residents of the area that it would be completed by year end.

Meanwhile, Governor Ajimobi also berated some politicians, he said, had been tampering with the pedestrian bridge under the guise of showing concern, warning that the Government would not allow any breach of peace.

The Governor thus directed the contractor handling the bridge to ensure that a temporary pedestrian bridge was put in place within a few days, and that the main bridge should be completed before the end of the year.

He explained that the completion period for the project was the end of the year in view of his administration’s resolve not just to rehabilitate the bridge but to also expand and modernize it in line with his government’s transformation agenda.

Governor Ajimobi frowned at the vandalism of the properties of the contractors handling the project, warning that people should desist from taking laws into their hands.

The President of the Students’ Union Government of the Polytechnic, Ibadan, Mr. Iyiola Mubarak, implored the Governor to speed up work on the bridge as students are billed to resume on July 21.

Wike Defends Selection Process For Presidential Scholarship Scheme

Nyesom-WikeThe Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, has challenged the opposition on transparency and accountability, saying that the Government would not cut corners in its bid to serve the nation.

The Minister made the statement in defence of the Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development.

The scheme had come under fire over the selection process as some members of the House of Representatives raised concern over the selection process of the successful candidates, which they said was based on federal character and not on merit.

Speaking at the award ceremony of the second edition of the presidential scholarship scheme, Mr Wike challenged those opposed to the scheme, saying it was aimed at solving manpower problems in the country without bias.

The Chairman of the Implementation Committee and Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okogie, in further defence of the scheme, argued that the only state that did not benefit was Bayelsa.

2,000 candidates applied for the scheme but only 623 candidates sat for the screening of the edition of the scheme on December 10, 2013.

Successful candidates of the scheme were asked to apply to study in any of the top 25 universities in the world approved for the scheme and 104 candidates scaled the final hurdle.

The candidates had applied for selected programmes in Engineering, Technology, Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences, Medicine and Economics among other fields, where the country might be experiencing shortfalls.

The search for qualified students was based on candidates that obtained first class honours degree from any recognised and approved university nationwide and the scheme offers the 104 beneficiaries scholarship up to PhD level.

FEC Approves Text Books Worth N8.6bn For Primary And Secondary Schools

The Federal Executive Council has approved contracts over 8.6 billion naira for the supply of text books to public primary and junior secondary schools in the country.

The contracts were validated following a memo by the Education Minister, Raquyat Rufai for the provision of text books on Mathematics, English Language, Science and Technology.

Briefing journalists after the meeting the Information Minister said flanked by the education Minister and his state education counterpart, Nyesom Wike stated that the 400 million textbooks and other resource materials will be customized with the inscription: “FGN-UBEC 2012 intervention, not for sale” and state codes for easy tracing in case of diversion to unauthorised places will also be imprinted on these books.

The council also approved the contract to locally procure 40 utility vehicles for field works ahead of the 2016 national population census. President Jonathan gave the National Population Commission directives to procure the vehicles locally so as to encourage, develop and provide foundation for local manufacturers in the automobile industry.

Jonathan, Fashola Eulogise Justus Esiri

President Goodluck Jonathan joins other Nigerians in mourning veteran Nollywood actor, Justus Esiri whom he describes as an epitome of commitment, excellence and creativity.

President Jonathan reiterates his belief that Nollywood actors have carved a positive image for Nigeria in the eyes of the international community, with the  late Esiri, a Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), having contributed in no small measure to the creation and sustenance of that image.

The president believes that the Nigerian movie industry and the country as a whole will greatly miss the popular actor who came to national limelight with his acclaimed performance in the popular television series, Village Headmaster, and other movies.

He extended his commiserations to the Esiri family, the government and people of Delta State and all fans of the revered actor.

President Jonathan also condoles with the Nollywood Family on the passage of a notable member, mentor, pioneer and inspiring actor, and enjoins the younger members to keep Justus Esiri’s legacy alive by promoting higher standards in their movies.

He prays God Almighty will grant the soul of the departed actor peaceful repose.

Also the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola said  the nation’s film industry will be poorer for his departure as Nollywood just lost wealth of experience with the veteran’s death.

The Nollywood veteran whose versatility was not limited to stage and screen launched into limelight of the nation’s Entertainment Industry in the 1980s.

Justus Esiri passed on, on Tuesday night after a brief illness.

In a letter to Mrs. Omiete Esiri, the widow of the deceased, Governor Fashola recalled that Mr. Esiri, whom he described as “easily one of Nigeria’s most celebrated artistes”, took the nation by storm with his titular role in the Village Headmaster; one of Nigeria’s pioneering television soap operas.

“Easily one of Nigeria’s most celebrated artistes, I recall with nostalgia that following the heyday of theatre arts, this stage veteran shot into the limelight in the 1980s, with his pioneering role in the popular Television drama series, the Village Headmaster, in which he played the eponymous character”, the Governor said.

Governor Fashola also noted that aside the many theatre performances of Mr. Esiri in Germany where he travelled to in the 1970’s initially to study Engineering, the veteran artiste stood tall as one of the pillars of the Nollywood film industry.

According to the Governor, his chain of performances in Nollywood has left a landmark in the industry and has made him a household name both in the country and beyond adding that as a result, the country has honoured him with a National Award

Praying for the peaceful repose of the soul of Mr. Esiri, and for Almighty God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, Governor Fashola enjoined the Family to be consoled by the rich legacy which the deceased artiste left behind in the Entertainment Industry as a whole, “where, aside leaving his own footprints, he has also bequeathed his son, the multi-award winning musician, Sidney, or Dr. Sid, who is the rave of the moment in the entertainment industry”.