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A new Bayelsa: Diri showing real capacity

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Opinion by Kola Oredipe

Since he came into office in 2020, the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has left no one in doubt as to his commitment to change the face of development in the State.

His great disposition to reconcile aggrieved parties through the message of hope and love stands him out as a leader who seeks a united Bayelsa State.

Diri has continued to endear himself to the people through his many people-oriented policies, programmes and projects across the eight Local Government Areas.

Today, Diri has become a household name in just two and a half years in office making impact on the lives of many through some welfare packages, business empowerment, skills acquisition programmes, regular payment of civil servant’s salaries, payment of outstanding gratuities and death benefits and physical projects that cut across road infrastructure, education, health and agriculture.

He is doing the unthinkable in the political system by completing projects inherited from previous administration including the Kaiama Referral Hospital, in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, reconstructed Imiringi bridge in Ogbia Local Government Area and the historic Nembe Unity bridge in Nembe Local Government Area.

Diri, inherited the construction of the Sagbama-Ekeremor road and Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road in the two senatorial districts of Bayelsa West and Bayelsa Central to open up several riverine communities.

Diri on project inspection


As a man with guiding principles of fairness and inclusiveness in governance, Diri, found the strong justification to commence the construction of the age-long Nembe-Brass road in the Bayelsa East Senatorial district.

At the flag-off recently, the governor said, “It is only fair to start the Nembe-Brass road despite the lean state resources after waiting for the Federal Government and operating oil multinationals in the area. If we are doing such major roads to the West and Central Senatorial Districts, it is also good we commence that for the East Senatorial area. God will provide the funds to complete it.”

Under the Prosperity Administration, a new State Capital beckons with the new roads on both flanks of Igbogene town into Yenagoa. The Glory drive from the Ecumenical centre to link Tombia-Amassoma road and the back of Government House in Ovom is progressing.

Also, the construction of Igbogene-AIT/Elebele Outer Ring road has reached an appreciable extent with attention now on the third phase. The stretch between Igbogene and Okarki as well as the stretch between Imiringi road and AIT/Elebele roundabout have been done.

This is a government that means well for its citizens, hence, the awards and completion of over twenty internal roads within Yenagoa including the popular Edepie School road.

The change in the development landscape of Bayelsa State is no fluke. Within one year, the Diri-led administration built a most magnificent Media complex named, Ernest Ikoli Media complex to host the 3 state-owned media outfits- the Newspaper corporation, the Television (Niger Delta Television) and Radio Bayelsa.

The government is not only investing in physical infrastructure, it is also touching the citizens directly through different skills acquisition programmes and monthly empowerment of 210 youths and women in small-scale businesses with N200,000.00 each to grow their businesses.

In health, education, and other sectors, the Prosperity Administration is changing the face of development. The State Health Insurance scheme is one of the most robust in Nigeria and it is open to all citizens covering a wide range of health care needs including surgeries.

Diri has just changed the face of Local Government administration where they not only embark on meaningful projects after salary payment, they now have savings in a show of public accountability. Again, for the first time in a long while, at the expiration of their tenure, elected council officials including Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Councilors have been paid their severance allowance.

Under the current administration, so many investments have gone into sports development to provide a platform for youth engagement. Gradually, Bayelsa is becoming the home of sports in Nigeria.

“Our investment in sports is paying up. Our two football teams won both male and female trophies in the AITEO/FA cup. For the first time, we came 3rd at the National Sports Festival. The medals we won at the festival confirm that Bayelsa is home of wrestling and swimming. Recently, our two secondary schools, Bishop Dimeari Grammar School and St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School won both the boys and girls categories at the National Milo Secondary Schools Basketball championship in Lagos.”

“We will continue to celebrate our wrestlers for their recent exploits at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Special mention for Blessing Oborududu, the Olympics Silver medallist. Even in athletics, Bayelsa has the rave of the moment, Timma Godbless, who recently broke the national junior record in 100 metres race in Cali, Colombia”, Daniel Igali, Youth and Sports Commissioner recently stated.

Security has remained top-notch on the agenda of the governor. The government has continued to support and collaborate with different security agencies operating in the state. The establishment of the Bayelsa State Community Security Safety Corps headed by Brig. General Eric Angaye (Rtd.) has strengthened the security system in the State and boosted the confidence of investors that their investments would be safe in Bayelsa State.

In just two years in office, the Prosperity Administration has done so much to earn the confidence of the people. The civil servants are having the best of times with this government because of the regular payment of their salaries.

Instead of the pathetic stories on the queues during the struggle for pensions and gratuities, it is a great news to cheer that the government preserving lives and clearing outstanding pension gratuities and death benefits to families of deceased workers.

Truly, in Bayelsa State, it is a new season; a season of uplift and greater possibilities under the Prosperity Administration of Governor Douye Diri.

Oredipe Kola is the Director/Co-ordinator of New Media to the Bayelsa State Governor

Business

If elected president, I will name, shame oil thieves—Atiku to business leaders

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Lagos—The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has threatened to name and shame oil thieves in the country if elected Nigeria’s President in 2023.

Channels TV reports that Atiku made this known on Saturday when he interacted with the Business Dialogue Stakeholders Forum at Eko Hotel in Lagos.

Atiku also said he would confiscate all oil blocs allocated to some Nigerians who have failed to make them operational.

“If you are not going to develop oil blocs given to you, we will take it away and give it to those who will develop it.

“We will also assemble the names of those involved in oil theft, publish same and prosecute them,” Atiku told the stakeholders.

He reiterated his commitment to privatizing the refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri.

Atiku was at the event with his running mate and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.

Both Governors Udom Emmanuel and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Akwa Ibom and Sokoto states; who are the Chairman and Director General of the Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign team, urged the stakeholders to support Atiku for a better Nigeria.

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Only 250 psychiatrists left in Nigeria, says association

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Enugu—Taiwo Obindo, president of the association of psychiatrists in Nigeria, says the current psychiatrist-to-patient ratio in Nigeria is one to one million.

According to TheCable, Obindo Spoke on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing 53rd annual general and scientific meeting of psychiatrists in Enugu.

He said two-thirds of certified personnel leave the country annually.

According to him, this has led to the poor ratio and has made accessibility and deliverability of psychiatric care relatively difficult in the country.

“The standard is that one psychiatric doctor should take care of 10,000 patients. But today, we have one psychiatric doctor to more than one million Nigerians,” NAN quoted him as saying.

“As we speak now, we have less than 250 certified psychiatric doctors throughout the country, and more are leaving by the day.”

Obindo called for the passage of the national mental health bill as amended to ensure proper administration of mental health treatment, adequate funding, and remuneration of professionals.

“Mental healthcare should be incorporated into the primary healthcare system to cater to primary and secondary institutions treating mental health disorders in localities,” he said.

“Presently, the little budget meant for mental health treatment goes to tertiary medical institutions only. Mental health should be fully taken care of at primary healthcare centres.

“Percolating mental healthcare to primary healthcare institutions will save Nigerians transportation, feeding and accommodation costs, and the stress of conveying mentally-ill persons to urban centres where psychiatric hospitals could be found.”

Speaking further, Obindo said Nigerians facing insecurity and forced displacements have continued to face psychological and psychiatric trauma and disorders.

He said the government should ensure that such people recover from the shock they have witnessed.

“It is important that governments and other support groups give them special attention to meet their current challenging emotional, psychological, and psychiatric needs so as not to fall into deeper depression or societal withdrawal,” he added.

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FG reintroduces history in basic education curriculum

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Abuja—The Federal Government has announced the reintroduction of history as a stand-alone subject in the basic education curriculum 13 years after it was abolished, according to the Tribune.

The government noted that 3,700 History teachers have been shortlisted for the first round of training for enhanced teaching of the subject.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu while speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the reintroduction of the teaching of history and training of history teachers at basic education level on Thursday in Abuja, lamented that national cohesion was being threatened with the country retreating into primordial sentiments.

He said this is because of the lack of knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria following the removal of History from the basic education curriculum.

Adamu was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah at the event attended by Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar and other key stakeholders in the education sector.

History was removed from primary and secondary education curriculums from the 2009/2010 academic session.

Adamu ordered the reintroduction of the subject in 2019 following widespread condemnation.

Adamu said: “History used to be one of the foundational subjects taught in our classroom but for some inexplicable reasons, the stream of teaching and learning was abolished.

“As a result, history was subsequently expunged from the list of subject combinations our students could offer in both external and internal examinations compared to the subjects that were made compulsory at basic and secondary levels in Nigeria.

“This single act no doubt relegated and eroded the knowledge and information that learners could otherwise have been exposed to. It was a monumental mistake and have already started seeing its negative consequences

“The loss created by the absence of this subject has led to a fall in moral values, erosion of civic values, and disconnect from the past.

“More worrisome was the neglect of the teaching of this subject at basic and post basic levels of education which invariably eroded the knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria as a country.

“The immediate implication of this was that we lost ideas even of our recent past, and we scarcely saw ourselves as one nation and gradually began retreating into our primordial sentiments.”

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