Elder Statesman, Samuel Ogbemudia Laid To Rest

ogbemudia3The 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.

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Dr. Ogbemudia died on Thursday, March 9 at the age of 84 at a private hospital in Lagos.

While serving as Governor of the old Bendel State, Dr. Ogbemudia initiated improvements in the areas of sports, urban development, education, public transportation, housing, commerce and agriculture.

New Movie: Nollywood Thriller ‘Oloibiri’, Stirs A Buzz

Nollywood thriller, OloibiriNew Nollywood action thriller, ‘Oloibiri’, has stirred a buzz, as it became a hot topic among public figures who attended the Lagos premiere of the film.

The movie, which vividly paints the hardship endured by locals in the titular town as a result of oil exploration, weaves a compelling story of greed, poverty, and vengeance.

The event was well attended by a number of public figures including a Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Antaoku, as well as a Former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, who was impressed by the overall message of the film.

Nollywood thriller, Oloibiri
Jerry Gana

He advocated for more of such movies that would push the government to take action on matters of grave importance.

“The message is clear and very powerful.

“This has succeeded, we should do more of it,” he said in an interview with Channels Television.

Nollywood thriller, Oloibiri
Richard Mofe Damijo

Oloibiri stars a stellar cast including veteran actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo, who also expressed hopes that the buzz the film has created would lead to further dialogue in the public sphere.

This, according to him, would bring the much needed respite to the local community which inspired the movie.

Other prominent cast include: Olu Jacobs, Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, Ivie Okujaiye, Nollywood thriller, OloibiriIfeanyi Williams, Daniel K Daniel and William Moses among others.

Several stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry present at the event were equally impressed by the movie delivery as well as the overall production.

President Buhari Meets With Gowon

Buhari GowonPresident Muhammadu Buhari has met behind closed doors with a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) at the Presidential Villa.

The meeting was held inside the President’s office for about 30 minutes.

The former military leader did not speak to reporters after the meeting.

The meeting of the two leaders was the second one in two months. The first was in August, just before the former head of state travelled abroad.

Among other matters, the August meeting focused on the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption campaign, which the former leader expressed support for.

In a chat with newsmen after the meeting, he encouraged the Nigerian leader to deal with the situation which he said had created serious setback to Nigeria nationally and internationally.

He also expressed delight at the Federal Government’s determination so far in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents and efforts to rescue the missing Chibok girls.

General Gowon said at the time that the government would soon get credible information that would lead to the rescue of the girls abducted in April 2014 from their school’s dormitory in Borno State.

He urged Nigerians to be patient with the President who he said took over power at a time Nigeria was witnessing dwindling crude oil price.

It was the same month that President Buhari agreed to the idea of swapping Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls and just as Gowon predicted, the government went on to secure the release of 21 of the abducted Chibok girls.

The release was the outcome of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the Boko Haram, brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss Government.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also said his government would sustain efforts to free the remaining girls, kidnapped by the jihadist group.

 “About 100 more (girls) are still in the hands of the terrorists,” Buhari told reporters in Berlin after a meeting with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. “We hope we’ll get some … intelligence to go about securing the balance.”

Chibok Girls Release: Abubakar Highlights Role Of Dialogue In Crisis Situation

 abdulsalami-abubakarA former Head of State in Nigeria, Mr Abdulsalami Abubakar, has highlighted the role of dialogue in crisis situation, saying it could be used to resolve Niger Delta militants’ crisis.

The former leader’s statement is coming a day after 21 of the over 200 girls abducted from Chibok community in Borno State in northeast Nigeria were released amidst dialogue between the government and the Boko Haram terrorist group.

He commended the government’s effort to secure the release of the girls that have been in the custody of the terrorists  since April 14, 2014.

General Abubakar was speaking on Friday in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State in south-west Nigeria after a courtesy call by him and his wife, Justice Fati Abubakar, on the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo.

“The release of the girls is a testimony to the need for dialogue in crisis situation, even in the Niger Delta where militants have continued to attack critical infrastructure in the region,” the former leader stressed.

Chibok Girls
Some of the released Chibok girls in tears during a reception with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

He further acknowledged God’s intervention in the release of the girls.

“We give glory to God for saving those children and we congratulate everyone who is involved in bringing these girls back.

“We pray that the rest will come back.

“I congratulate the parents who have been organised for the one year plus or so.

“We pray that never will such occurrence happen in our lives,” Mr Abubakar said.

‘A Show Of Faith’

After the release of the girls was announced, many feared it must have been secured through a prisoner swap.

The Boko Haram terrorists had in a video of the girls released few months ago, requested for a swap with some of the group members held at different detention centres in Nigeria.

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Muhammadu Buhari says he will continue to push for the release of other girls

A government official, however, said that the girls were not released in swap deal.

The spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, described the release of 21 the Chibok girls as ‘a show of faith’ on the part of the insurgents.

He told Channels Television on Friday that the development was a confidence building step that would lead to bigger things.

“I have heard and read so much about what we gave and what we didn’t give.

“This is just a confidence building step that will lead to bigger things.

“In the past, there have been many of such meetings that would have led to releases but along the line, discussions broke down.

“Maybe they (the terrorists) trust the (new) process and they believe that they do this as a show of their trust and faith and believe.

“For now, what we have been told is that there was no swap and the girls were released just as a show of faith, a confidence building measure and I think it is good enough for us to believe,” he said.

Announcing the release of the girls on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, stated categorically that the release was not a swap, but was achieved through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned International Humanitarian Organisation.

President Buhari has also promised to keep pressing for the release of other girls in Boko Haram’s captivity.

Abubakar Says Quality Governance Critical To Nation Building

Abdulsalami Abubakar, Nation Building, Quality GovernanceFormer Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), says the quality of governance is a critical element in a sustainable peace building process.

General Abubakar noted that it would require full security and resumption of normalcy, to sustain the current efforts in ending the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s northern region.

He made the recommendation on Monday at the multi-purpose hall of the Modibbo Adama University of Technology in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

The former military President delivered a speech on “Post-conflict Peace Building and Reconstruction in the Lake Chad Basin” at a conference in collaboration with the Nigerian Army.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, was the special guest at the event.

He informed the gathering about the mandate of the military in the fight against terror, its achievement so far and the role it plays in a post-war effort to rebuild and reconstruct liberated territories from Boko Haram terrorists.

General Buratai also briefed reporters about the Army’s position on the recent video of the purported Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.

On his part, Adamawa State Governor, Mohammed Jibrilla, applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to ending insurgency, especially in northeast Nigeria.

Subsequently, General Abubakar in company of the Army Chief, Governor Jibrilla and other dignitaries proceeded to commission two hostels at the university.

Corruption Plays Key Role In Nigeria’s Setback – Gowon

Yakubu Gowon, Corruption, NigeriaA former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has described corruption as one of the problems that have created serious setback to Nigeria nationally and internationally.

While in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, General Gowon encouraged the Nigerian leader to deal with the situation.

After the meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the former military leader briefed reporters.

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President Buhari and General Gowon having a meeting

General Gowon commended President Buhari’s determination and effort in the fight against corruption and called on Nigerians to give him the needed support.

He also expressed delight at the Federal Government’s determination so far in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents and efforts to rescue the missing Chibok girls.

General Gowon believes that the government would soon get credible information that would lead to the rescue of the girls abducted over two years ago from their school’s dormitory in Borno State.

He urged Nigerians to be patient with the President who he said took over power at a time Nigeria was witnessing dwindling crude oil price.

General Abubakar Commends Obiano For Anambra Security

General Abdusalami Abubakar, Anambra, Willie ObianoFormer Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd), has commended the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, for his commitment to the peace and security of the state.

General Abuabakar made the commendation on Friday during a courtesy visit on the Governor at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia in southeast Nigeria.

He observed that Anambra State, under the present administration had been rapidly transformed in terms of infrastructural development and security.

The former military President lauded the security agencies for their contribution in maintaining peace and order.

He also urged the citizens of the state to support Governor Obiano’s initiatives and rest assured of continued benefits.

The Governor, in his response expressed joy at the visit, describing his guest as a great man.

General Abuabakar was accompanied by former Governor of old Kaduna State, Abba Musa and former Governor of Enugu State, Okwesilieze Nwodo among others.

Gowon Urges More Effort To Fix Nigeria’s Economy

Yakubu Gowon, Economic RecessionFormer Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd.) has appealed to the Federal Government to do all at its disposal to bring an end to the economic recession which Nigeria is currently grappling with.

General Gowon made the call on Wednesday at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, in Osun State.

He told reporters in Ile Ife that he was optimistic that the team put up by the Federal Government can come up with a solution to the crisis.

The former Head of State, who declined to speak further on the state of the economy, however admitted that the masses and businesses were going through a tough time.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to find a way to restore the confidence of the people in the economy and the country at large.

“Let the current authority find a way out of the current economic crisis. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has been telling us what they have been doing to get the economy strong again. She said all will be well by September. Let’s wait till then.

“I have left government for a long time, so I may not really know what the problem is. The current administration should do whatever they can to solve the economic challenge. They should find a way to restore confidence in citizens and the nation at large by fixing the economy.”

Babangida Says His Oil And Gas Vision Will Continue To Flourish

Ibrahim-Babangida-Niger-Oil-and-GasThe former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd), says that his vision in the oil and gas industry will continue to flourish.

General Babangida says this is because his administration considered petroleum very important during his tenure.

He made the statement on Tuesday when he received the Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Niger State, Engineer Abdullahi Jankara, at his residence in Minna.

“I appreciate the evolution of history of petroleum in the country because I consider it very important during our tenure.

“We discussed a lot with my Minister of Petroleum, Professor Jibrin Aminu and our vision is still working and will continue to flourish,” he said.

The former military President appreciated the visit of the DPR boss and commended the efforts put in place in oil and gas sector.

He assured the DPR of maximum support and assistance from the people of Niger State who he said are known for peace and for Nigeria’s development.

The Babangida-led administration established the only petrochemical industry in Nigeria situated in Eleme, Port Harcourt which Nigeria relies on till date.

Mr Jankara, in his remarks, applauded the machinery put in place by the former military President’s administration.

He described the former Head of State as a visionary leader, adding that it was his vision for the establishment of the two deports in the state that led to the citing of DPR in Niger State.

The DPR official also visited the palace of the Emir of Minna, HRM Umar Faruk Bahago, to seek his royal blessings.

He said that those involved in the distribution of petroleum have begun to appreciate the work of DPR in the state unlike when they were unaware of the benefits of licensing their business.

HRH Bahago also appreciated the foresight of General Babangida and that of the present administration for their vision at every level to succeed. He assured the DPR of his support.

Insurgency: Shettima Extols Borno Residents’ Courage

Borno Governor Kashim Shettima UIMAIDGovernor Kashim Shettima says the residents of Borno State in northeast Nigeria have earned the respect of the world.

Governor Shettima made the statement during the 22nd convocation ceremony of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) held in the state capital.

The Governor also commended both staff and students of the University for their courage, despite the security challenges in Borno State.

“The people of Borno and anyone living in Maiduguri, including the students of this university have earned the respect of the world.

“To live in the circumstances under which you lived in the past few years with bombings and shootings and insecurity, and to have the courage to continue to come and teach and learn, and continue with your lives is indeed a remarkable achievement for any people,” he said.

Governor Shettima and his Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Bello, who are both alumni of UNIMAID, renewed the hopes of undergraduates and the newly inducted alumni from their personal experiences.

The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okojie, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, urged Nigerian universities to intensify research.

In his speech, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Ibrahim Njodi, appealed for sustained support and funding of the institution to improve learning standards.

The university also conferred honorary degrees on the Chancellor of the University, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, and Professor Russel Galen while former Head of State, late General Murtala Mohammed, bagged a posthumous Doctor of Laws award.

In acceptance remark, the Emir of Kano saluted the courage of the new graduates and the university community for defying insecurity threat to pursue their goals.

The University is graduating a total of 37,259 students spread across five sets of 2009/2010 and 2014/2015 academic sessions from 12 colleges and faculties, distance learning centre and 23 affiliated colleges. In all 172 students obtained first class degrees.

According to officials, UNIMAID’s 22nd combined convocation was a fallout of the improved security situation in Borno State.

The 21st convocation ceremony was held in October 2010 as the university could not hold any convocation due to the lingering security challenge in the region.

Gowon Calls For More Prayers By Nigerians For National Development

Gowon visits ambodeA former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, on Saturday has expressed surprise that Nigeria has remained intact despite the tensions ahead of the polls and predictions of Nigeria’s break-up.

The former Head of State made the statement while on a visit to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode at the State’s Government House.

General Gowon, however, said that though the 2015 general elections may have been successfully conducted and a transition of power peacefully concluded, Nigerians cannot afford to stop praying for continued peace in the nation.

General Gowon visited the  Governor together with members of Nigeria Prays; a group formed in 1996 with the sole aim of helping seek divine supports for the nation’s problems.

Nigeria Urged To Explore ECOWAS Trading Opportunities

ECOWAS
A former Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi

The Nigerian government has been advised to tap into the gains of the establishment of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) as a single large trading bloc.

At an event to commemorate 40 years anniversary of the ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, a former Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, expressed worries that in spite of the commission’s achievements, Nigeria still grapples with industrial and trade growth among other West African countries.

One of the co-founders of ECOWAS and a former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, also joined Professor Akinyemi to implore future leaders to retain the credible flag of an economically viable Africa.

General Gowon also retained an analysis that Nigeria had attained some level of maturity that could only be fostered by an economically strong Africa.

In May 1975, the Leaders of 15 West African countries established the ECOWAS, to advance regional co-operation and self-sufficiency.

Forty years after, a common currency and dismantling of trade barriers remain elusive.

Celebrating the anniversary in Nigeria are diplomatic corps led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali.