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Rivers Youths Dismantle Wike Statue Amid Protests Against His Interference in State Affairs

L-R: Fubara and Wike

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By Boughayefa Tonye-Graham (Port Harcourt)

In a dramatic twist of events today in Rivers State, youths supporting the incumbent governor and vehemently opposing the alleged overbearing interference of the former governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, have dismantled his statue of honor. The statue, which was prominently displayed at the Obio Akpor Local Government Secretariat, has become a symbol of the brewing discontent within the state’s political landscape. As chants of “No more Wike” filled the air, the youth made a bold statement against what they perceive as unwarranted meddling in the state’s governance.

The sight of the fallen statue marked a significant escalation in the growing unrest. Many of the protestors shared a common sentiment: past governors of the state, such as Peter Odili and Rotimi Amechi, were not seen to be interfering in the governance of the state post-tenure. “Wike’s continuous interference is a discouraging act,” stated Michael Chukudi, a local youth leader. “We must let the current administration work without undue influence.”

Youths tearing down Wike’s statue

General Gab Asabuja, also known as Ikwerre 1, emerged as a key spokesperson during the uproar. He warned those aligning with Wike to desist or face the “wrath of Rivers youth.” According to Asabuja, “The time has come for us to recognize and respect the leadership of Governor Simi Fubara without any undue influence from former officials.” He emphasized the need for a united front to see the state’s progress without the shadows of past political figures looming large.

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Adding fuel to the fire, a convoy believed to be that of Allwel Ihunda, the Chairman of Rivers State Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), was aggressively chased away by the youth. Ihunda was accused of challenging the directives of Governor Simi Fubara. This incident magnified the friction between supporters of the former and current administrations. “It’s clear that loyalty should lie with the present governance,” mentioned Elizabeth Amadi, a prominent activist. “We cannot allow distractions to derail our collective progress.”

Wike’s statue removed

The escalating protests against Wike’s influence underscore a broader issue of post-tenure interference in Nigerian politics. Critics argue that ex-governors like Wike, who now serves as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in President Tinubu’s administration, should not wield excessive power over state matters. “His character has been questioned repeatedly,” commented Ebere Whyte Azubike, a political analyst. “This behavior appears to confirm those doubts and undermines his credibility.”

Nyesom Wike’s tenure as the governor was marked by both development strides and controversy. While some of his supporters laud his efforts in infrastructure and economic advancements, others point out the authoritarian tendencies that have become apparent in recent actions. “We cannot support actions that destabilize our state,” declared Ezine Johnson, a local resident who previously supported Wike. “Our future depends on stable, interference-free governance.”

Governor Simi Fubara, currently at the heart of this political storm, has remained relatively silent amidst the turmoil, opting to focus on governance and development plans for Rivers State. Political observers believe that Fubara’s restraint could position him as a stabilizing force in this volatile period. A government official who does not want his name in prints as he is not authorised to speak on the matter, told GMTNews that “Governor Fubara’s focus on governance rather than political squabbles is commendable and necessary for the state’s progress.”

General Gab Asabuja

Peter Odili and Rotimi Amechi, respected former governors of the state, have also been drawn into the discussion, albeit as examples of dignified post-office conduct. “Odili and Amechi didn’t disrupt the governance of their successors,” said Bartholomew Ekeke, a historian based in Port Harcourt. “Their conduct should serve as a model for others who once held office.”

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The broader populace of Rivers State now faces a critical juncture. The youth, making their voices heard as champions of an interference-free administration, reflect a deep-seated desire for a forward-looking governance model. “We are the future of this state,” declared youth activist Joy Yellow. “We cannot afford to have our progress hampered by the past.”

As the dust from the protests settles, it is evident that the call for minimal interference is not just a passing phase but a strong stance for accountability and proper governance. The act of tearing down Wike’s statue symbolizes a rejection of an era perceived to hold the state back. It serves as a potent reminder that the people of Rivers State yearn for leadership that prioritizes collective progress over individual legacies.

Allwel Ihunda convoy being chased away

The protests against Mr. Nyesom Wike’s overbearing influence in Rivers State serve as a potent call for respect for governance structures. This pivotal moment highlights the critical importance of allowing current administrations to govern without undue interference from past officials. As Rivers State navigates through this turbulent period, the actions today could very well set a precedent for tomorrow’s governance strategies. GMTNewsng

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FG and Labour Unions Agree on ₦70,000 Minimum Wage—Minister Announces

In his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, the President had assured that an executive bill proposing the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage.

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Bola Tinubu

In a significant development for Nigerian workers, the Federal Government has reached an agreement with Organised Labour on a new minimum wage of ₦70,000. The announcement was made by the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, following a crucial meeting held in Abuja on Thursday.

The meeting, which included President Bola Tinubu and leaders from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), resulted in the breakthrough decision. “We are happy to announce today (Thursday) that both the Organised Labour and the Federal Government have agreed on an increase on the ₦62,000 minimum wage. The new national minimum that Mr President is expected to submit to the National Assembly is ₦70,000,” said a visibly elated Idris to the State House correspondents.

The announcement was further endorsed by the presence of notable figures such as NLC President Joe Ajaero, TUC boss Festus Osifo, and Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha. These officials flanked the minister as he broke the news.

Joe Ajaero confirmed this agreement, stating, “₦70,000 was where we were on the issue of the minimum wage.” He emphasized that the minimum wage is set to be reviewed every three years, moving away from the erstwhile five-year period. “What they have announced in terms of the amount of ₦70,000 happens to be where we are now. But we will not wait for another five years to come and agree,” Ajaero reiterated.

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In turn, Onyejeocha revealed that President Tinubu has instructed the Ministers of Finance and Budget, Wale Edun and Atiku Bagudu, to devise strategies to address ongoing disputes, particularly concerning the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU).

This landmark agreement follows a prolonged series of discussions between labour leaders and the President over recent weeks, succeeding months of unproductive negotiations with a tripartite committee on the minimum wage, constituted by President Tinubu in January.

The tripartite committee, encompassing representatives from state and federal governments and the Organised Private Sector, had proposed ₦62,000. However, labour unions had staunchly demanded ₦250,000, recognizing the current ₦30,000 wage as unsustainable given the country’s economic conditions, including inflation and the high cost of living spurred by the removal of the petrol subsidy.

During last Thursday’s meeting, Tinubu called for realistic expectations regarding the minimum wage, saying, “You have to cut your coat according to available cloth. Before we can finalize the minimum wage process, we have to look at the structure.”

In his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, the President had assured that an executive bill proposing the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage.

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Confirming this on Thursday, the information minister stated that the ₦70,000 “agreed” amount would be communicated to the National Assembly in the coming days, signaling a prompt follow-up to the decision reached.

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EEDC Commends TCN for Its Support Towards Efficient Service Delivery

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▪️Ferdinand Agu

Enugu, Nigeria – The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) has lauded the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for its invaluable assistance in ensuring network stability and enhancing service quality across the South East. This commendation underscores the significance of cooperation between these key players in the Nigerian electricity sector.

During the second-quarter interface meeting held at the TCN Enugu region office over the past weekend, the Deputy Managing Director of EEDC, Dr. Ernest Mupwaya, expressed his appreciation. He emphasized the critical role TCN has played in helping EEDC address operational challenges and improve power supply to its customers.

Dr. Mupwaya, who led the EEDC delegation alongside Chief Technical Officer Engr. Vincent Ekwekwu and other senior management staff, highlighted the importance of these interface meetings. He noted, “The meetings have been incredibly useful in resolving operational challenges, thus enhancing the quality of supply to our customers.”

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Further praising the relationship between the two organizations, Dr. Mupwaya described it as both cordial and fruitful. He reassured all stakeholders of EEDC’s commitment to ongoing collaboration with TCN to sustain and improve service delivery.

Representing TCN’s General Manager, Dr. Thomas Inugonum, the Assistant General Manager of TCN Enugu Region, Engr. Charles Iwuamadi, also spoke highly of the collaboration. Accompanied by the Regional Operations Manager, Engr. Anthony Akinuli, and other management staff, Engr. Iwuamadi reiterated the significant impact of these interface meetings.

Engr. Akinuli echoed these sentiments, pointing out the mutual benefits of the partnership. “If EEDC grows, part of the credit will come to TCN,” he stated, underscoring TCN’s commitment to supporting EEDC. He called for enhanced communication between the entities to ensure seamless operations and efficient service delivery.

The quarterly interface meeting, marking its second session for the year 2024, was instituted to foster collaboration between EEDC and TCN. This initiative focuses on reviewing operational activities and discussing challenges affecting network performance and customer service.

Through these regular interactions, both EEDC and TCN aim to synergize their efforts, ensuring that the electricity sector’s overall performance continues to improve. The ongoing dialogue and cooperation exemplify a shared passion for excellence and a commitment to meeting consumer needs.

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By maintaining this collaborative relationship and addressing challenges head-on, EEDC and TCN are setting a precedent for how partnerships can drive growth and service improvement in the power sector.

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BHSO Old Boys Association Inaugurates Health Insurance Committee, Pledges N1 Million Support

“Your first task is to identify, assess, and select a capable insurance company to partner with for this project. This initiative underscores our dedication to providing quality healthcare services for all,” Chief Nnamede stated.

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Chief Ambrose Nnamede

Ferdinand Agu (Enugu)

In a move towards enhancing the well-being of their members, the President General of Boys High School Ozalla (BHSO) Old Boys Association, Nkanu West LGA of Enugu State, Chief Ambrose Nnamede, this afternoon inaugurated the Health Insurance Committee of the body through a Zoom meeting. During this virtual event, Chief Nnamede read his address and offered words of encouragement to the committee, underscoring the association’s commitment to providing quality healthcare services for its members and their families.

“This moment marks a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance the well-being and security of our members and their families,” Chief Nnamede stated. “Your first task is to identify, assess, and select a capable insurance company to partner with for this project. This initiative underscores our dedication to providing quality healthcare services for all.”

The committee is tasked with creating a comprehensive and affordable health insurance plan, educating members on the plan’s benefits and health practices, efficiently managing insurance claims, and ensuring the plan’s financial sustainability. Regular assessments and stakeholder engagement will guide the committee’s progress towards fostering a healthier community.

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Responding on behalf of the committee, Honourable Chijioke Ogbodo, the Deputy President General (DPG) of the association and Chairman of the committee, expressed his gratitude to the President General and the entire association for the confidence reposed in them. “We are honoured by this trust and will diligently work to meet and exceed the expectations set before us,” Honourable Ogbodo said. “Our commitment is to ensure that every member and their family can access quality healthcare services.”

In a gesture of significant support, Chief Nnamede pledged 1 million naira to the project, which will greatly bolster the committee’s efforts as they embark on this crucial initiative. This generous contribution exemplifies the association’s dedication to the well-being of its members.

The Health Insurance Committee comprises notable members, including the association’s Secretary General, Olisemeka Obi, who serves as the committee secretary; BoT Chairman, Chief Chris Arum; Pharmacist Vincent Nwani; Chief Magistrate Osondu Chukwuani; and Prince Chijioke Chukwuani. Each member brings valuable expertise and commitment to the table, promising a robust and effective approach to the project.

Honourable Ogbodo further emphasized the importance of the committee’s mission, stating, “Our work will not only provide immediate health benefits but will also build a foundation for long-term health security within our community. We are committed to making a tangible difference.” His dedication and leadership are expected to drive the committee towards achieving their goals efficiently and effectively.

The BHSO Old Boys Association’s initiative is a call to action for other associations and the wider society to prioritize health and well-being. “We encourage other associations to take similar steps towards ensuring the health and security of their members,” Chief Nnamede urged. “Healthcare is a fundamental need, and collective efforts can lead to substantial improvements.”

The inauguration of the Health Insurance Committee is a testament to Chief Ambrose Nnamede led Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the BHSO Old Boys Association’s proactive approach to member welfare. The committee’s efforts are poised to set a benchmark for other organizations aiming to enhance their members’ quality of life.

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As the committee begins its work, the association looks forward to the positive impact this initiative will have on its members. The collective effort of the committee, supported by the generous pledge from the President General, promises a brighter, healthier future for all.

This inauguration marks the beginning of a transformative journey for the BHSO Old Boys Association. The focus on health insurance reflects a broader commitment to comprehensive member welfare, setting a powerful example for other organizations to follow.

Chief Nnamede reiterated the association’s commitment, “Together, we will make a difference in our members’ lives. This is just the beginning, and we are confident that with the dedication of our committee, we will achieve our goals and more.” GMTNewsng

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