‘He Conquered The Air’: Obaseki Pays Tribute To Captain Okunbo

The late Captain Okunbor died surrounded by family members.

 

Governor Godwin Obaseki has paid glowing tributes to late Edo business mogul Captain Hosa Okunbo, describing him as an outstanding flyer who made his mark at an early age. 

In a statement he signed and issued on Sunday afternoon, the Edo State leader hailed Captain Okunbo’s perseverance and business acumen.

“A man of unparalleled energy and accomplishments, Captain Okunbo saw opportunities in adversity and from an early age in life, carved a niche for himself to become one of Nigeria’s most outstanding businessmen,” Obaseki said about Okunbo who died on Saturday night in London following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

“A trained pilot, he conquered the air at an early age and set for the waters and land, building enterprises that distinguished him in the business world and embodied the hard work, perseverance, dexterity and acumen that espoused his Edo heritage.”

He condoled the family and friends of the late captain, and said many people from Edo State had benefited from his philanthropic gestures.

“As a mortal, Captain Okunbo was not a perfect person just as none of us can claim to be, but he will be remembered for his undying love for Edo people,” the governor said.

“His desire for the development and progress of our dear state, the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as well as his invaluable contributions to building bridges of peace across the country will never be forgotten.”

READ ALSO: Edo Business Titan Hosa Okunbo Dies

Several reports claimed that his doctors had in 2020 told him (Okunbo) he had only limited time to live.

It was gathered that he was responding to treatment in London and had even planned to return to Nigeria for the coronation ceremony of the Olu of Warri who is his in-law.

Born in Benin City on January 7 1958, Captain Okunbo is survived by a wife and children.

Edo Business Titan Hosa Okunbo Dies

The late Captain Okunbor died surrounded by family members.

 

Edo-born business mogul Captain Hosa Okunbo is dead.

He died on Saturday night in London.

The late Okunbo was 63.

Although the family is yet to release an official statement about his demise, the late billionaire reportedly died following a one-year fight with pancreatic cancer.

Multiple reports suggested doctors had last year told the late philanthropist he had nine months to live.

It was gathered that his health had improved and he was planning to return to the country by next week to attend the coronation of the new Olu of Warri Tsola Emiko who is married to his daughter Ivie.

He is survived by a wife, Nosa and his children.

READ ALSO: [He Conquered The Air] Obaseki Pays Tribute To Captain Okunbo

‘He Conquered The Air’

In his tribute to the deceased, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State hailed his business dexterity and love for his people which will always be remembered.

“A man of unparalleled energy and accomplishments, Captain Okunbo saw opportunities in adversity and from an early age in life, carved a niche for himself to become one of Nigeria’s most outstanding businessmen,” the governor said in a statement he signed and issued on Sunday afternoon.

“A trained pilot, he conquered the air at an early age and set for the waters and land, building enterprises that distinguished him in the business world and embodied the hard work, perseverance, dexterity and acumen that espoused his Edo heritage.

“Okunbo was a philanthropist who gave lavishly of himself and his resources; thousands of Edo sons and daughters benefited from his charitable works and benevolence.”

Born on January 7 1958 in Benin City, Okunbor was the Chairman of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL). He had his secondary education at the Federal Government College, Warri in Delta State.

At 21, he became a pilot following his graduation from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Okunbo whose father Robert Amos Okunbo – was a preacher and teacher – later proceeded to ACME School of Aeronautics, Fort Worth, Texas in the US. There, he earned  an Airline Transport Pilot Licence.

He retired from working as a pilot at 30 and ventured into business.

 

 

Plug Financial Leakages, Leave Obaseki Alone – PDP Govs Tell APC Counterparts

Godwin Obaseki

 

The PDP Governors Forum says it is alarmed at the partisan slant a patriotic advise to the Federal Government by Governor Godwin Obaseki, on its monetary policies has assumed.

In a statement by the Director-General of the PDP Governors Forum (PGF), Hon CID Maduabum, governors of the opposition party said it is unhelpful for the Progressive Governors Forum to join the fray in the manner it did by its recent statement attacking the “bona fides of Governor Obaseki” who merely warned the monetary authorities about the danger of uncontrolled use of Ways and Means, that is, the printing of Naira, to support government’s expenditure.

According to the PGF, Governor Obaseki has a background in economics and finance and is a very responsible governor who talks in a measured way.

“His advise, which by the way has been corroborated by none other than the Governor of the CBN himself, and the international ratings agency FITCH , should be heeded rather than being crucified for sounding a note of caution.

READ ALSO: It Is Our Job To Print Money, Lend Govt – Emefiele Replies Obaseki

“No doubt the Federal government has been supporting the States in the area of agriculture, budget, refund of Federal Government executed projects by States and a few other areas of intervention. Is CBN trying to be vindictive and vengeful by recalling its loans to the States because of an informed advise by a Governor?. It is unfortunate that governance has plummeted to this level,” the PGF’s communique partly reads.

The opposition governors asked the Federal government to plug financial leakages in the system and curb wasteful expenditure of billions of Naira on projects that can be executed by the private sector and save a lot of money in the process, thereby relying less on Ways and Means by the CBN, which brings pressure on the Naira with its inflationary consequences.

Nigeria’s inflation rate has continued to rise, as of April 15, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation increased to 18.17 per cent (year-on-year) in March, a development which the PGF insists all Nigerians should be concerned to find ways of stemming the tide.

“We are all involved in the urgent task of rescuing the economy of Nigeria and nobody should indeed play the OSTRICH,” the PGF emphasized.

It Is Our Job To Print Money, Lend Govt – Emefiele Replies Obaseki

 

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has replied Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, concerning his claim that the apex bank printed an additional N50billion to N60billion to make up for state allocations.

Emefiele while addressing journalists in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State said printing money is a key mandate of the central bank, and the bank must always act to support the government at times of financial difficulties.

He added that it is “unfortunate and totally inappropriate” for some people to give colouration to this.

“If you understand the concept of printing money. The concept of printing of money is about lending money. That is our job – print money. So there is no need to put controversy about the printing of money as if we are going into the factory, printing naira and distributing on the streets.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

 

“In 2015/2016, we were in a similar [fiscal] situation, but it is far worse today. We provided a budget support facility to all the states of the country and that loan remains unpaid till now. We are going to insist on the states paying the loan back since they are effectively accusing us of giving them loans.

READ ALSO: Obaseki’s Claim On Printing Of N60bn Is Untrue, Says Finance Minister

“Most countries of the world today are confronted by not just the health crisis from the COVID pandemic but also economic crisis. I keep saying this: it would be irresponsible of the central bank of Nigeria or any central bank to stand idle and refuse to support its government at this time. Whatever we do in Nigeria is being done in any clime.”

Obaseki last week raised an alarm over the country’s rising debt profile, saying the situation is more critical now because of the huge amount borrowed to service the ailing economy.

He also claimed that the Federal Government printed an additional ₦50 to ₦60 billion to top-up for FAAC.

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Zainab Ahmed debunked in her reaction described the governor’s claim as very sad and untrue.

According to her, monies distributed at Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) are revenues generated from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), etc adding that revenue distribution is information that can be publicly accessed.

Obaseki Replies Finance Minister, Asks FG To End ‘Monetary Rascality’

A photo collage of Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed.

 

The disagreement between Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, lingers with the governor backing his claim concerning the country’s rising debt profile.

The governor last week said that the Central Bank of Nigeria printed an additional N50billion to N60billion to make up for state allocations but the Finance Minister debunked the claim saying it is “very sad and untrue.”

Obaseki in a series of tweets on Thursday went further to speak concerning the economic situation of the country, noting that he believes it is statutory to offer useful advice for the benefit of the nation.

He also said the Finance Minister is ‘playing the Ostrich’ and called on the Federal Government to end ‘monetary rascality.’

READ ALSO: Nigeria Records Highest Inflation Rate In Four Years

“While we do not want to join issues with the Federal Ministry of Finance, we believe it is our duty to offer useful advice for the benefit of our country.

“The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, should rally Nigerians to stem the obvious fiscal slide facing our country.

“Rather than play the Ostrich, we urge the government to take urgent steps to end the current monetary rascality, so as to prevent the prevailing economic challenge from degenerating further.

“We believe it is imperative to approach the Nigerian project with all sense of responsibility and commitment and not play to the gallery because ultimately, time shall be the judge of us all,” he said.

The governor’s reply comes few hours after the Minister of Finance debunked his claim that the Central Bank of Nigeria printed an additional N50billion to N60billion to make up for state allocations.

The Finance Minister after the 41st virtual Federal Executive Council meeting at the State House on Wednesday told journalists that Obaseki’s claim was very sad and untrue.

“The issue that was raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not a fact.

“What we distribute at FAAC is revenue that is generated and in fact, distribution revenue is public information. We publish revenue generated by FIRS, the Customs, and the NNPC and we distribute at FAAC.

“So, it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC. It is not true,” she said.

The Finance Minister insisted that the nation’s debt profile is still at sustainable limits and maintained that the nation’s debt profile which currently stands at 23percent of the total GDP is at sustainable levels.

National Sports Festival: Obaseki Receives Torch Of Unity

Governor Godwin Obaseki receives the torch from Ministry’s South-South Director of Sports, Peter Nelson. PHOTO: Twitter/@GovernorObaseki

 

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki on Sunday received the Torch of Unity for 20th National Sports Festival at the Government House in Benin City.

The Governor received the torch from the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, represented by the Ministry’s South-South Director of Sports, Peter Nelson.

The governor who announced this on his official Twitter handle said Edo State is hosting not to make money but as patriotic Nigerians.

READ ALSO: New Nigeria Beach Soccer League Kicks-Off In Lagos

He added that the festival is important enough to encourage youths and get them to do one of what they know how to do best, which is sports.

Governor Godwin Obaseki with the unity torch. PHOTO: Twitter/@GovernorObaseki

 

“We are hosting, not to make money, but as patriotic Nigerians: We need to do things to heal the land as we have passed through a terrible year.

“Despite what we have gone through as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; in spite of our challenges as a country, we see hope in our young people.

“We also want to make a statement that we have not been overcome by this pandemic. Despite the pandemic, we must continue to do the things we need to do to keep life going.

“For us as a country, we have come to stay as one united, indivisible entity. We have our challenges, but I see this festival as a stepping stone. We would go through this stage and get out stronger and better,” he said.

He added that, more than ever before, Nigerians need to come together at this time. This is why our administration decided to hold the 20th NSF in Benin City. We are happy to receive this torch and promise to keep it alive and pass it on to the state which will host the 21st NSF.

Obaseki later passed the torch to the Deputy Governor and the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Philip Shaibu, for onward transmission to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, the main venue of the festival.

Edo Not Ceding Any Land To Herdsmen – Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, addresses residents in a state-wide broadcast in August 7, 2020.

 

The Edo State Government has said that it will not cede any part of its land for grazing cattle in the state.

In a statement, Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., said that the government’s position on the matter is clear and has not shifted since it insisted that it would not cede its land to herdsmen.

According to him, “Our attention has been drawn to misleading and false media reports claiming that the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has agreed to provide grazing land for herders in the state.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Has Many Ungovernable Spaces, Says Buratai

“Our position on the matter of grazing land is clear and has not shifted, which is that there is no free land for grazing in Edo State. Grazing is an economic activity just like poultry and piggery or any other agricultural enterprise. The Edo State Government will not cede any land in the state for grazing.”

“The governor has continually warned against the politicizing of security issues,” he added.

Ogie noted that some political actors are trying to instigate the type of killings witnessed in some states in the country just because they are embittered by the heavy loss they suffered in the political space.

He continued: “Thankfully, their plans have failed because of the pre-emptive actions taken by Governor Obaseki and the security agencies.

“We condemn, in the strongest terms, the current futile efforts by these defeated politicians in the state to cause mayhem and chaos among our people.

“All peace-loving people of Edo State are enjoined to dedicate this Lenten period to pray for peace at this difficult time in the life of our dear country.”

Edo Govt Will Not Cede Any Land For Grazing, Says Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

 

The Edo State Government has said that it will not cede any part of its land for grazing cattle in the state.

In a statement, Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., said that the government’s position on the matter is clear and has not shifted since it insisted that it would not cede its land to herdsmen.

According to him, “Our attention has been drawn to misleading and false media reports claiming that the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has agreed to provide grazing land for herders in the state.

“Our position on the matter of grazing land is clear and has not shifted, which is that there is no free land for grazing in Edo State. Grazing is an economic activity just like poultry and piggery or any other agricultural enterprise. The Edo State Government will not cede any land in the state for grazing.”

“The governor has continually warned against the politicizing of security issues,” he added.

Ogie noted that some political actors are trying to instigate the type of killings witnessed in some states in the country just because they are embittered by the heavy loss they suffered in the political space.

He continued: “Thankfully, their plans have failed because of the pre-emptive actions taken by Governor Obaseki and the security agencies.

“We condemn, in the strongest terms, the current futile efforts by these defeated politicians in the state to cause mayhem and chaos among our people.

“All peace-loving people of Edo State are enjoined to dedicate this Lenten period to pray for peace at this difficult time in the life of our dear country.”

Obaseki Reaffirms Commitment To Teacher’s Welfare, Urges Return To Classroom

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, addresses residents in a state-wide broadcast in August 7, 2020.

 

 

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reaffirmed that his government will continue to prioritise the welfare of teachers in the state, urging the teachers too, in the interest of the progress of the state and the need to preserve the future of Edo children, return to the classroom.

The governor, in a live broadcast, noted that his administration is prepared to and will do more for teachers in the state in spite of any provocation.

He expressed worry that some elements within the Edo State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) have been sowing seeds of discord to cause disharmony and strife within the ranks of the teachers.

Obaseki noted: “You know that education is our priority and we have demonstrated it in the last 4 years by prioritizing the welfare of teachers almost above those of other public servants. We have done so because we know that if you can read and write, you should thank your teacher.

“We are confident to say that we have done more for teachers in Edo State than any other government in the state in recent history and perhaps in the entire country. We are prepared to and will do more for you in spite of any provocation.

“Since we came into government 4 years ago, we approved and carried out all outstanding promotions of teachers from 2013 to 2020. These seven promotions in four years are unprecedented in the history of the State.

“In line with our stance on adequate remuneration for staff, we ensured and implemented an incremental annual increase in salary (stepping) for teachers, which was stopped by the previous administration. We have also ensured that Teachers Salary Allowance for Higher Grade Level Teachers is paid in full. This means that very many teachers now earn upwards of N150,000 a month in salary and allowances. These allowances were stopped by the previous administration.

“We made sure that the Leave Transport Grant (LTG), which is the annual leave bonus for teachers, has been restored and paid up to date. This was not paid for by the previous administration.

“To ensure that primary schools run without hitches and that essential supplies are ready and available, we approved the payment of Subvention to Primary Schools, which was last paid in 2012,” he added.

Reaffirming his relentless commitment to the welfare of the teachers, the governor stated: “We are committed to the welfare of our gallant teachers and will continue to encourage them to deliver their best in classrooms because without their commitment, we cannot achieve our goal to make Edo great again. We sponsored some Teachers and Head Teachers’ to the UK and USA in 2018 and 2019 as part of our efforts to reward excellence in the teaching profession. The best performing Head Teachers in the state was given a brand-new house in 2019.

“Also, 21 teachers and one outstanding Education Secretary were recognized and given awards and gifts during the 2020 edition of World Teachers Day Celebration. In addition, an outstanding NPower Teacher was recognized for sterling performance and rewarded with One Million Naira (N1, 000,000) and automatic employment into the EdoSTAR Teachers Fellowship Programme.

“To ensure that teachers enjoy hassle-free retirement, pension processing by retired teachers have been reformed and made easy as teachers now get their pensions immediately they retire from service. Our desire is to include teachers in the Contributory Pension Scheme which civil servants are currently enjoying in Edo State, but some of your Union leaders are frustrating our efforts through disinformation to you.”

He continued: “With your support and despite the impediments of some of the union leaders, we were been able to completely overhaul the basic education sector of our State and retrained more than 11,000 teachers and restored your dignity as teachers. This is in contrast to the humiliation of the previous administration which was requesting for competency test from you.

“We did all of these for our teachers in Edo state at a time when some states are owing more than a year’s salary and are struggling to pay Teachers, Edo State has continued to pay Primary School Teachers as at when due.”

Noting that the planned strike action was politically motivated by the godfathers who are not interested in the growth and development of the state, Obaseki said: “My dear teachers, you can see that the action of the few elements within the NUT, Edo chapter who called you to go on strike has very little to do with your welfare. Rather, they have aligned with The Godfathers and are playing politics with your careers as well as the future of our primary school children in pursuit of their self-centered ends.

“They clearly have corrupt, selfish and parochial interests in pushing on with this despicable and unreasonable agenda. It is unfortunate that they would mortgage their ethics and integrity for political leverage.

“With the teeming support from you, our great and dedicated teachers, who have always kicked against oppression and intimidation, we fought and defeated those who wanted to derail our progress at the polls; we defeated them again in the courts. I assure you all that with your support and by the grace of God, we will defeat them yet again in the classroom.”

Obaseki further commended teachers who dissociated themselves from the ill-intentioned strike action, noting that adequate arrangements with relevant security agencies have been made to secure and protect the teachers and the pupils as well as school properties.

He said: “I thank the numerous teachers who have called and sent messages dissociating themselves from the so-called strike. I am assuring you that there will be adequate security in all our schools when you resume and anyone who attempts to cause disturbances would be dealt with in accordance with extant laws of our state. We have made adequate arrangements with relevant security agencies to secure and protect you, our children, and school properties.

“For those who unfortunately may decide to stay away from school, please know that government would implement the ‘No Work, No Pay’. Anyone who refuses to show up for work would not be paid for the period they did not work.

“With your support, Edo state is now acknowledged globally as one of the states in Africa which is transforming its educational system. Edo State was the only sub-national out of the top 5 countries in Africa that got an award from the World Bank and Gates Foundation last year. Clearly, some people are not happy with the progress we are making and are bent on slowing us down. By the grace of God, they will not succeed.

“Once again, I urge our teachers that, in the interest of our shared values of progress and dedication to preserve the future of our children, please resume in class on the 1st of February.”

Pension Reforms: Obaseki Pays Over N12m To Families Of Five Deceased Workers

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

 

 

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has paid over N12 million naira to families of five deceased workers as part of pension reforms.

The governor presented the cheques to the next-of-kin of the deceased workers, who were enrolled in the Contributory Pension Scheme.

Presenting the cheques on behalf of the governor, Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq., reassured that the Obaseki-led administration will not relent on its effort at ensuring that workers and pensioners in the state are well catered for.

According to him, “We have always placed the welfare of our workers as a top priority because we believe so much in them and consider them essential for the success of our programmmes and policies.”

He sympathized with the families of the deceased employees, noting that the government appreciates and values the efforts that their benefactors put in their work while in service.

The governor also acknowledged the Edo State Pension Bureau and the office of the Head of Service for keeping in line with the vision and mission of the government since the inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme in 2017, “the Contributory Pension Scheme since its commencement in the state has instilled confidence in the employees.”

On their part, the beneficiaries expressed their appreciation to the Governor Obaseki-led state government for the quick response in paying entitlements of deceased employees.

Our Reforms Will Ensure Institutions Drive Sustainable Devt In Edo – Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, addresses residents in a state-wide broadcast in August 7, 2020.

 

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration is strengthening the state government apparatus and mechanisms to ensure that institutions, not personalities will drive sustainable development in the state.

The governor, in a statement, noted that an essential part of the ongoing civil and public service reforms is to build enduring public institutions that will empower the workforce to deploy technology to enhance better service delivery to Edo people.

Obaseki said, “We commenced work for our second term with a comprehensive exercise to strengthen the ability of civil and public servants to deliver service to the people of Edo State. We are strengthening the processes, functions, institutions, and personnel of the public service so that institutions, not personalities will drive sustainable development in Edo today and in years to come.”

READ ALSO:  Be Courageous To Handover Power In 2023, Wike Tells APC

He reiterated the state government’s resolve to provide durable public infrastructure and maintenance culture in government, adding, “as we continue to prioritize development of road infrastructure, public buildings and many projects in our rural areas and urban areas.

The governor urged Edo people to “come together to ensure the success of this government. Your Government can only succeed when we all play our role by fulfilling our own obligations, particularly by paying our taxes. It is only by paying your taxes that the government can raise the required funds and resources to finance development projects.”

According to him, as part of the promise to bestow the state with a 30-year Masterplan, “we have procured the services of experts to begin the process of designing the Urban and Regional Master Plan. In tandem with the planning process, I will be launching Project Clean and Green Edo this year.

“This project will involve citizen and corporate participation in beautification and planting of trees, particularly in urban areas,” Obaseki added.

PDP, Obaseki Close Case As Witness Confirms Authenticity Of Certificate

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State have closed their case on the ground that the governor does not need more witnesses to establish his innocence in the alleged certificate forgery suit filed against him by the APC and a chieftain of the party, Mr. William Edobor.

At the resumed hearing of the suit on Wednesday before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the defense concluded their case with the testimony of their third witness, Professor Eghosa Osaghae of the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Ibadan.

READ ALSO: Gov Wike Says Ogoni Clean Up Is Deceptive, Politically Motivated

The certified true copy of Obaseki’s Political Science certificate issued by the University of Ibadan in 1979 was admitted as exhibit by the court, with the defense arguing that the incomplete photocopied certificate presented to INEC by Mr. Obaseki does not invalidate the authenticity of the certificate.

The witness in trying to make an analogy, narrated his experience while trying to make a duplicate copy of his certificate on an A4 paper, stressing that the portion of the date and registrar’s signature was cut off in the process of photocopying.

Under cross-examination, Professor Oseghae said with the constraints in photocopying a document from an A5 to A4 paper he will take the risk and tender an incomplete copy of his certificate wherever it is required bearing in mind that he is in possession of the original certificate which can be verified later.