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My dear people of Kogi State,
I give all the praise to the Almighty God for another Independence Anniversary – the 57th for our dear Nation Nigeria. Everyone who has access to international news media knows of nations which have been confronted with the selfsame challenges that we face here and have descended into war and crises. Today is thus another perfect opportunity for gratitude, if not for the good we have achieved, at least, for the evils which God has kept from befalling us.
Poor leadership, corruption, terrorism, militancy, separatist agitations, even a Civil War which ended 47 years ago constitute some of the self-inflicted troubles which we contend with in the Nigerian Federation. Unlike other nations which have proved incapable of working through their differences and have gone up in flames, we Nigerians have had the good fortune, if not the good sense, to keep talking.
We may not always speak in polite tones, and our passion may sometimes be irrational, but we have maintained communication, and therefore avoided conflict. This is a wonderful blessing, and we must be grateful to God for it.
In Kogi State, I continue striving to exemplify inclusive leadership. I am glad that none of my traducers have accused me of ethnicism or tribalism yet (although now that I have reminded them, they may start tomorrow). If anything, some persons are angry at me for not stuffing Cabinet and other organs of governments with my own kith and kin. I do not owe anyone an apology on this score.
From the inception of my Administration, I have ensured that proportional representation of constituencies across the 3 Senatorial Districts as well as the personal merits of individual appointees have determined who serves where in Government. This posture is founded on my belief that one does not effect change by doing the same old things the same old ways.
In order to force a paradigm and generational shift in politics, I realize that I must keep justice, equity and merit as the moral compass for Government. The only way politics in Nigeria can change to accommodate more young people in high positions of leadership is for youths already in leadership to demonstrate competence and capacity to lead. I shall not speak for others but I repeat a solemn guarantee to succeed well as Governor of Kogi State.
I know that today is not a day to start reeling out a roll call of Projects executed by my Administration in the last 20 months, but I assure Kogites that tremendous progress is being made. In another 4 months, we will mark our 2 years in Office and I promise that the second volume of a Compendium which will contain all ongoing and completed projects will be released to commemorate it. The first volume has been out since January this year and continues to showcase our verifiable achievements. Till then, suffice it to say that we are racing to achieve as much as time and funds will permit.
We are careful to ensure even distribution of projects across all of our constituencies based on needs assessment. All of the 5 thematic areas in our New Direction Blueprint are receiving simultaneous attention. Education, Health, Infrastructure & Utilities, Job Creation & Youth Empowerment and Public Service & Pension Reforms remain vehicles from which to unload our Change Agenda.
While Education and Healthcare remain atop our list of priorities, communities across Kogi State are also being provided with electricity, water supply, roads, etc.
In Education, we have focused on providing quality learning environment and materials in order to unleash the genius of our students. So much has been done in the sector. For instance, I personally flagged off construction of 240 blocks of 2 classrooms each in 80 Primary Schools across the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State recently. Upon completion, each of them will be equipped with modern learning facilities and round-the-clock solar electricity to power the ICT components.
I was happy to hear from our Commissioner for Health a couple of months ago that we have met our 4-year target of 100% immunization against childhood killer diseases already. Our statistics on Maternal and NewBorn Health initiatives also show-marked improvement from what we met on ground. Most pregnant women in Kogi State today have access to free maternity kits and care today.
Primary and Secondary Health Care Centres across the 21 Local Government Areas have either been renovated or built from scratch and equipped with drugs and equipment. We also recruited scores of medical personnel to help improve access to medicare for our people. 12 state-of-the-art ambulances were bought and distributed across Kogi State to facilitate speedy evacuation of critically ill patients to larger medical facilities in urban and semi-urban areas.
Empowerment and welfare programs for our youth and other population groups have been held to one level or the other in all of the 21 Local Government Areas. We have also been lauded as one of the most responsive state to the Social Investment Programs of the Government. Like I said in my New Year message earlier this year, 2017 is going to be a hallmark year for projects.
The Administration will continue to apply dialogue where it can make a difference in any industrial dispute. However, at this stage in our Public Service and Pension Reforms, we have a duty to pay more attention to the law, including the Public Service Rules as well as the sustainability of the reforms we are putting in place. The whims and caprices of vested interests cannot therefore be admitted to determine our responses in any way.
We do not understand what could possibly be wrong with putting into the hands of individual workers the tools to determine their own rating (and therefore progress) on the job, even after we have left office. Our aim with the clock-in, clock-out devices which Labour Leaders are rejecting is to empower each worker to leave a digital footprint which authenticates his or her participation during the typical work day. If this aim is defeated, all of the aspirations of genuine and conscientious workers to be assessed based on actual performance will remain a mirage, like in the past.
Prompt payment of salaries is still a vexed issue, but we will do our best to keep our workers happy given the competing demands on the income of the state per time. However, it is inevitable that from time to time we must ask workers to stand with us in sacrifice. We hope they will oblige in the overall interest of the state.
In similar vein, prompt payment of Gratuities and Pensions is only possible within the ambits of a Contributory Pension Scheme. Like the automation of the workforce, a Contributory Pension Scheme for the Kogi State workforce is inevitable reform. We commend workers who come around to work to the overall interest of the State. We cannot allow ourselves to become deterred from implementing much-needed reforms. We also urge all workers not to be misled as Government is doing everything possible to address the various challenges confronting the workforce. We are a responsible Government and we shall live up to our responsibilities.
The Administrations was gratified to be invited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to send a Team to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City as one of only four states in Nigeria considered success stories for their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our Team enjoyed a successful outing at the United Nations Headquarters, made a presentation at the Nigeria side event and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for deeper collaboration with the UN and her agencies. This is good for Kogi State and her people.
Let me remind us that the rains are still here and there is still need to remain vigilant against flooding and other associated natural disasters. The most potent tool against flooding is to keep existing drainage systems free of garbage and other rubbish. The next is to be wise and evacuate to higher ground if flooding appears imminent and you live in a low-lying area.
On our part as Government, we have designated camps for Internally Displaced People in each Local Government Area deemed at risk, and should it become necessary to deploy a Camp in any locality, Kogites can expect their Government to act with despatch in sending fast responders and launching emergency protocols.
As I conclude this address this 1st October morning, in the year 2017, I find myself in bitter-sweet mood. The sweet feelings flow from the GREAT POTENTIALS which Nigeria possessed long before Independence, and which remain unabated despite 57 years of checkered history. The pain comes from bitter emotions evoked when I consider the COUNTLESS MISSED OPPORTUNITIES we have had from October 1, 1960 to October 1, 2017 to transform our great potentials into great progress.
The British may have had their own ulterior motives when they amalgamated the old Northern and Southern Protectorates into one Nigeria in 1914, but I believe they also provided us an opportunity which hitherto did not exist, i.e. the opportunity to be much more greater than we would have become as individual tribes or territories.
In my opinion, and I think most Nigerians will agree with me, that even though we have not harnessed our gains after amalgamation, the present Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is making efforts to optimize our potentials as a Nation. This is evident in a more secured Nigeria after years of terrorism threat, we are consciously diversifying our economy to Agriculture and Mining, the very vulnerable are now being focused on using various current programmes and policies – e.g Condition Cash Transfer at National level, N-power and Market Money, Home Grown School Feeding Programme etc. as a State, the GYB Food Security Project, Youth and Artisan Empowerment Project and the upcoming GYB water for life Grassroot Project and finally, GYB Model Primary and Unity School to foster cohesion amongst the upcoming young ones and quality education.
I reiterate our commitment in Kogi State and Nigeria where there is room for all citizens and constituencies to achieve their maximum potentials.
In the spirit of our 57th Anniversary as a Country, I wish all Kogites, Nigerians and our motherland, Nigeria, Happy Independence!
May the Almighty God bless us all.
YAHAYA BELLO
EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR, KOGI STATE

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Kwara State Election Materials Found In Abuja, Result Sheets Meant For Lagos Found In Kwara

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Malam Atahiru Madami, the Kwara State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), has said that both Presidential and Senatorial election result sheets meant for the state were found in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja.

Madami said this on the sideline of the distribution of sensitive materials to each of the 16 local government areas in Kwara state at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ilorin on Wednesday.

“The result sheets for presidential and senatorial elections are with the FCT INEC. It was a mix-up and they will send it to us this evening”.

He added that the result sheet meant for Lagos state senatorial election also found its way to Kwara state.

Madami stated that the mix-up was of the reasons the elections were postponed on Feb 16.

He said with the postponement of the election, such situation would not repeat itself again, adding that preparations were on to ensure hitch free elections on Saturday.

He called on the electorate to come out en-masse and vote the candidates of their choice on Saturday

He promised to deliver a free and fair election.

He stated that the card readers for Kwara state have been reconfigured 100 per cent.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that INEC in the early hours of Feb.16 postponed the election slated for the same day, on account of logistics challenges.

INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu said: “Following the careful review and implementation of its logistic and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible election, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible.” (NAN)

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Transcorp Sets Record Performance With Profit After Tax Of N20.6bn

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Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), Nigeria’s leading diversified listed conglomerate, has announced its audited results for the year ended 31st December 2018, with a 94% growth in Profit After Tax (PAT) of ₦20.6bn in 2018 compared to ₦10.6bn in the prior year.

The Group recorded an unparalleled improvement within the year as turnover grew by 30% to ₦104.2bn. Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased to ₦22.4bn from ₦12.3bn in 2017, depicting an 82% year on year growth.

“We’re proud to have ended the year on a high-note while sustaining a strong performance, which is a reflection of our sound business strategy,” said Valentine Ozigbo, Transcorp’s President and Chief Executive Officer, who took over at Transcorp in January 2019. “We will continuously strive to deliver significant value to our stakeholders while achieving our long-term goals,” he said.

He further stressed that “This result was achieved due to the increased revenue from the power and hospitality segments of the group. In addition, we were able to cut down on our loss from Forex arising from financing activities by 30% year-on-year as we experienced a relatively stable exchange rate during the fiscal year-ended 2018, this no doubt impacted our Profit before tax as it soared 82% year-on-year.”

Mr. Ozigbo added ”Transcorp Power Ltd has continued to explore opportunities created by the eligible customer framework initiated by the Federal Government. We are at an advanced stage of negotiations with a number of eligible customers, which will translate into transactions in the months ahead. Our hospitality subsidiary, Transcorp Hotels Plc, also maintained its history of profitability in 2018, displaying the impact of our recent US$100m upgrade at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja and the immense value placed on the hotel’s best-in-class hospitality services.”

Reflecting on the results, the Chairman of Transcorp, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, CON, stated, “We remain committed to our purpose of improving lives and transforming Nigeria by powering our industries and businesses while providing our local and international guests with unrivalled hospitality services. This is our way of creating sustainable value for all our stakeholders.”

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RRS Nabs Robbery Syndicate Terrorising College Road/Faagba/Abbattoir Areas Of Lagos [PHOTO]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The hands of the law have finally caught up with a group of robbers after the operative of Rapid Response Squad (RRS), a unit of Lagos State Police Command arrested the syndicate believed to have been terrorizing College Road, Fagba, and Abattoir areas of the state.

As for this group of boys, their diversity in terms of language and ethnicity was never a barrier as they were united in forming a gang with the sole interest of robbing Lagosians of their valuables.

The robbers were arrested on Valentine’s day at around 9:00 p.m at College Road, Ifako – Ijaiye area of Lagos, after the gang had robbed more than five passers by of their valuables brandishing knives and other harmful objects.

The suspects, whose names are: Lekan Akinyemi (23), Chimeze Ofulie( 18), Babangida Abdullahi (22), Abubakar Umaru (30), Samuel Oyinloye (24), Timileyin Oladipupo (27) and Habeeb Olayinka. 

All the suspects said they came from different parts of the country but reside in Abattoir, Agege, Lagos.

The suspects had on Thursday, robbed one Agafe Augustine after he alighted from a taxi at College Road, Ifako Ijaiye. Amongst the items collected from him by the gang were; an android phone, N14,000 and a handbag.

According to Agafe, “I allowed them to rob me because they were many and were holding dangerous objects but I trailed them to an open place before raising alarm. This drew the attention of some RRS officers on patrol in the area and they arrested some of them”.

He added “ they equally robbed some other victims amongst whom were a lady in company of her boyfriend. They dispossessed them of their phones and  stabbed her boyfriend who refused to let go of his mobile phone after parting with his wallet”.

In his confessional statement to the crime , one of the suspects said they specialise in robbing passersby  at  night collecting their mobile phones, bags, jewelry and wallets.

Investigation by the police revealed that one of the suspects, Timileyin Oladipupo popularly known as ‘Timi Yahoo’, specialised  in working on SIM cards of the stolen phones to determine which ones are internet banking enabled  to facilitate the gang access to transfering money from victims’ accounts.

The suspect disclosed “I have worked on so many SIM cards given to me by Lekan and other groups in Agege Abbatior and what I do is to further increase our gain from the robbery by transfering victim’s money from their bank accounts after using some softwares to determine how much are lodged inside their accounts and we also share the proceeds”.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police  Mu’azu Zubairu  who ordered the arrest of all the gang members, added that they be transferred to SARS for a thorough investigation.

He noted that the gang be charged to court as soon as investigations are completed.

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