The immediate past commissioner of finance in Abia State, Mr. Obinna Oriaku has resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Oriaku in a letter he personally signed and submitted to the PDP chairman, Mbutu Ukwu Ward 3, Isiala Ngwa South, Owerrinta, said that he is consulting widely on his next political moves.
The ex-commissioner in the letter titled: Resignation of My membership of the PDP said that he decided to leave the PDP because PDP in Abia State, as presently constituted, covertly and overtly, lacks the basic structural integrity to deliver the much talked about good governance as dividends of democracy to Abians.
Oriaku who was Finance Commissioner between 2015 – 2019 in his words said “My political odyssey in recent times has been enriched by the most historic events as well as challenging experiences. “I must give credit to my boss, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, who found me worthy to serve in his administration, first as his Economic Adviser in the Transitional Government of 2015, then as substantive Commissioner Of Finance for the entire first tenure of his administration.
“Recall that when his cabinet was dissolved, I was one of the very few he allowed to hold sway in the Executive Council prior to his inauguration for a second term in office. “In my four years stint as the Honorable Commissioner of Finance, I learned, “I taught” and I unlearned.
“I was both a beneficiary of Ikpeazu’s school of political sagacity and his humaneness. Of course, I also had my challenges in the hands of a few, whose agenda differ remarkably from the noble agenda of the administration from inception. “However, the circumstances surrounding my activities in and outside the Government have interestingly reinforced my political convictions… that I must be consistent in advancing policies and programs that would positively affect the greater majority of the populace than be a party to, a crop of, men who do not wish Abia well.
“I have deeply reminisced on the political trajectory of Abia State thus far, and I have come to the conclusion that the PDP in Abia State, as presently constituted, covertly and overtly, lacks the basic structural integrity to deliver the much talked about good governance as dividends of democracy to Abians.
“My basic knowledge of Building Engineering tells me that when a building fails an integrity test few interventions could subsist: reinforce or demolish. “But in the case of Abia PDP, the acclaimed owners would not allow for a reinforcement, let alone demolition.
“So, the wisest choice by a discerning occupant is to move out of the building! “On that note I, Obinna Oriaku, after due consultations with my family, friends, and political associates, have taken the option of packing out of the precarious Abia PDP house. “I am still consulting widely on my next political moves, which will be made known to Ndi Abia in due course.”
LAGOS BEGINS RECRUITMENT FOR AGRIPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME
The Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, began the recruitment of eligible and interested candidates for the Batches 4, 5 and 6 of its Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP) under its Agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES).
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, who disclosed this in Lagos today, noted that the programme was in furtherance of the State Government’s objective of training no fewer than 15,000 youths and women in the various agricultural value chains by the year 2023.
She pointed out that the one-month training exercise is aimed at improving capacity, creating wealth and employment in the agricultural value chains – poultry, piggery, aquaculture and vegetables.
According to her, the strategic inclusion of the LAP Programme would efficiently reduce unemployment, create jobs and alleviate poverty in the State, as well as attract and pay more attention to the creation of jobs for women in agribusiness.
In her words: “Following the training of a total of 400 participants under three batches of the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme, L.A.P, Lagos State will begin the recruitment and shortlisting of interested candidates for the Batches 4, 5 and 6 of the Programme”.
“The current reality and exigencies of job creation for the teeming youth population and attainment of food security requires that a more aggressive, strategic and efficient approach be employed in the training and empowerment of women and youth, if Lagos State is to achieve a significant reduction of unemployment, create more jobs and wealth and also significantly enhance food security in the State by the year 2023”, Olusanya said.
The Commissioner noted that the significance of the training would be the creation of 2000 Agro-Entrepreneurs who would, in turn, become job creators, promote food security, improve nutrition and general well-being of Lagosians, as well as create at least 4000 indirect jobs per beneficiary annually.
Other expected impacts, according to her, are the enhancement of the economic activities of the surrounding communities, reduction in the overall rate of unemployment, reduction in crime rate within the State and promotion of the State’s target of producing at least 25% of the food consumed by residents before end of the year 2025.
The Commissioner maintained that the Programme has been specifically tailored for men between the ages of 18 and 35 years and women between the ages of 18 and 55 years, adding that candidates are expected to collect and submit application forms between November 24 and December 8, 2020.
Olusanya added that interested participants are also expected to sit for a written examination on Monday and Tuesday, 14th and 15th of December, 2020, while oral interviews would take place on Friday and Saturday, 18th and 19th December, 2020.
She, therefore, urged interested and eligible candidates with a passion for agriculture and a minimum of Senior Secondary School Certificate, who are also in good physical and health conditions, to collect the application forms free of charge at the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe; Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Oko Oba, Agege; Lagos Agricultural Inputs Supply Authority, Odogunyan, Ikorodu; Coconut House, Mowo, Badagry and Ministry of Agriculture Area Office, Ajah, Eti Osa between Tuesday, 24th November and Tuesday, 8th December.
Shortlisted successful candidates would start the formal training at the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe, on Tuesday, 5th of January, 2021.
#EndSARS Lekki Shootings: New Report Shows CNN Is Desperate — Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed , has accused CNN of desperation over its second report on the Lekki toll plaza shootings that happened on October 20 .
The Minister said this on NTA on Wednesday .
The PUNCH reports that CNN had on Tuesday released a second ‘ investigative report ’ on the shootings at Lekki toll plaza during the # EndSARS protests amid threats of sanction from the Federal Government .
But the minister faulted CNN’ s reports , saying it lacked credible sources .
When asked about the second CNN’ s report, Mohammed said, “ It shows that they (CNN ) are desperate. The so- called recent development has been seen before. There is nothing new . If there is anything new, it is a contradiction of CNN ’ s position.
“ What we are asking CNN is that where is your evidence? The military has been consistent . CNN contravenes the basic principles of journalism – fairness, and balance.
‘ They did the story without contacting the Federal Government for its own side. They relied on second and third parties narratives.
“ They (CNN ) were caught spreading fake news and they are trying to escape .
“ We are accusing them (CNN ) of basing their stories on videos sourced on social media . CNN has been inconsistent . It also doctored the video it got.
“ We are confident in our position.”
On the letter addressed to Jonathan Hawkins, VP ( Communications), CNN Centre, Atlanta , Georgia, USA, the minister said , “ We have received an acknowledgment and we were told that the letter has been passed to the editorial team .”
CNN , in its second report titled, ‘ Analysis of CCTV footage from Lekki toll gate raises new questions about shooting ’, stated that it had obtained the video and subsequently analysed its content .
CNN also compared the CCTV footage with some of the videos on social media which the National Broadcasting Commission had sanctioned three local television stations for using and concluded that the authorities had more questions to answer .
The fresh report also shows the Commander , 81 Division, Brig. Gen Ahmed Taiwo , admitting before the judicial panel that his men indeed took live ammunition to the tollgate .
The CNN report also highlights the fact that Brig.Gen Taiwo ’ s claim is at variance with that of the minister who had claimed last week that the army fired blank bullets.
Recession: Nigeria’s Economy Doing Well Compared To Others –lai Mohammed
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the Nigerian economy is doing well compared to the economies of South Africa, Russia and other countries in recession.
He said the recession is inevitable due to the global collapse in oil prices occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
The minister spoke Wednesday on NTA Good Morning Nigeria Show monitored by The PUNCH.
The PUNCH had reported that amid a rising debt profile, inflation and unemployment, the Nigerian economy shrank again in the third quarter of this year.
This year’s recession is the worst in 36 years as data obtained from the World Bank indicated that the country’s Gross Domestic Product dropped by 10.92 per cent in 1983 and 1.2 per cent in 1984.
The National Bureau of Statistics, in its report for third quarter of 2020 released on Saturday, said the GDP, the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell by 3.62 per cent in the three months up till September.
But speaking today, the minister said the government is optimistic that with its intervention measures, the recession will be short-lived.
Mohammed said, “It is true we are in a recession. Recession comes when a country records two consecutive quarters of negative growths. But we must go beyond that to understand that despite that, our economy is still very well in circumstances.
“The main reason why we have entered into this recession is the oil sector. The oil sector recorded -13.89% and that is the worst in 14 quarters. Of course, it is easy to understand why; with the pandemic, there is low demand for oil…but when you look at the non-oil sector which is about -2.51 % in Q3, it is far better than what it was in the Q2.
“Overall, yes, we are in a recession and it is inevitable but while our Q2 result was -6.1%, South Africa was -50% and as we speak today, Finland, Hungary, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Romania, Belgium, Austria have all fallen into recession.
“But we are very confident that with the intervention policies, with the fiscal and monetary interventions the government has put in place, the recession will be short-lived.”
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