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Ibeto: An Enthralling Story of an Achiever

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By Ingram Osigwe

If you are 13 years old and in your mind’s eye, you were already seeing yourself among vivacious crowd of age mates resplendent in their forget-me-not secondary school uniforms, chattering away heartily in a classroom, and just when that dream was about to berth on the shores of reality, your own biological father rudely abort it, what will you do? Crestfallen and disappointed, will you turn your back on life and bemoan your fate for ever?
Some people with fickle spirit will. But the likes of Dr.Cletus Madubugwu who are made with sterner stuff and blessed with a can do spirit that does not yield to despair will soldier on with life, turn the disappointment into a blessing in disguise and later in life have an inspiring story to tell.
And that was the exactness of what the then young Ibeto did when his dream for secondary education crashed on January 22, 1966.
On that day, the young lad was in high mood. He looked forward to a new and exhilarating life as a fresh student of Crusader Secondary School, Isingwu Amachala, Umuahia.
Gaily dressed in his school uniform and armed with his school box, Ibeto was set to depart for Umuahia to begin a life as secondary school student and then suddenly his father made a shattering proclamation that would leave hot tears cascading the young man’s cheeks, crestfallen, disappointed and embittered: He was to make a detour to trading rather than education.
There and then, Ibeto was parceled, willy nilly, to Onitsha to begin apprenticeship in auto spare part szas a trader under the tutelage of one Akamelu.
And so began his journey through life’s pumpy road which would dramatically signpost his subsequent rise to the top.It will be safe to say that Ibeato’s eventual road to prominence was watered by grit- determination to succeed and excell after a devastating and unsettling dream crash.
Fifty- four years down the lane, Ibeto has not only shrugged off that initial life hiccup but he has also left bold imprints on the sands of time.
His zero to hero story typifies the rise of the proverbial Phoenix.From grand zero, Ibeto has built a multi- billion dollars business conglomerate, the Ibeto Group, spanning real estate, Petro-chemical, cement, Auto parts, hospitality, oil, commodity trading among others.
Naturally blessed with business acumen and fecundity of ideas, Ibeto’s apprenticeship on auto- spare part was abbreviated by the civil war. He was himself a combatant in the war having joined the Biafran Army at the outbreak of hostilities.
Surviving the war by the whiskers, he launched himself back into the world of trading at the end of hostilities. Thus, at the end of the civil war in 1970 Ibeto was already an enterprising young businessman. Ingenious and enterprising, Cletus Ibeto had started his business career in 1970 stepping into what has now become a massive business dream with the establishment of Ibeto Brothers Trading Company as its sole proprietor.
However, his major business break came during the administration of president Shehu Shagari, profiting massively from a policy change during that era. There was a policy that goods could be imported without import licence but as Nigerian’s external reserves began to dry up, the Shagari government had to introduce import licence.
The uncertainty forced many importers to suspend importation in order to monitor the new policy.
But braving the uncertain situation, Ibeto moved quickly to secure the N3 million import licence at a time a dollar sold for 68 kobo. With the licence, he imported 65 containers of vital motor parts. By the time other importers could wake up to get the license, the government had tightened the screws and made it almost impossible for anyone to obtain the license. Almost at the same time, the Shagari’s government was toppled which made matters worse as it resulted in borders being closed.
The Nnewi born business mogul then virtually became a monopolist for motor spare parts. He confessed that the moment was a turning point for his life and business. He was selling at almost 500% mark up and people were buying!
His words: “That was the turning point for me.Come and see the line-up of people who wanted the spare parts. I was packing money with cartons. There was no armed robbery then, no kidnapping. It was a seller’s market. And the mark up was almost 500% but people were buying! In fact, within two days of the arrival of the containers, I made four million pounds”
Diversification was flowery and seamless for Ibeto, swiftly moving from an importer of auto spare parts to automotive lead-acid batteries and plastic accessories merchant. Then in 1988, he delved into manufacturing when he completed his factory in Nnewi and stopped direct importation of lead-acid automotive battery and plastic motor accessories. By 1995, the company had become one of the largest auto spare parts manufacturing outfit in Nigeria.

A year later, Ibeto would further expand his business operations by diversifying into other sectors thus establishing Ibeto Petrochemicals Industries Limited. His petrochemicals industry owns one of the largest liquid facilities for petroleum products in Nigeria.
Subsidiaries under the Ibeto group are legion and they include Union Autoparts manufacturing Co. Ltd which was incorporated on 2nd June 1987.The company is a major player in automotive lead-acid battery manufacturing in Nigeria. The interesting thing is that the company produces locally, from its lead and aluminum smelting plant, all the lead and aluminum required for its operations.
It has the capacity to produce, annually; 300,000units of lead/acid batteries, 120,000 units of sealed maintenance-free batteries, 5,500tonnes of lead, 500 tonnes of accessories and 1,500 tonnes of friction parts.
There is also the Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Ltd. It was established in October 1996 with a blending plant in Nnewi, Anambra State. The company blends oil lubricants and produces various types of petroleum products for local and international markets. The Petro-Chemical company also owns one of the largest liquid storage facilities for petroleum products in Nigeria with a capacity of over 60,000 metric tones located at Apapa Wharf and Ibru Jetty Complex, Lagos.
Ibeto Cement Company Ltd produces bagged cements at its bagging terminal at Bundu Ama, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Ibeto Cement commenced operation in 1997 with the importation of bagged cement from Portland before establishing Ibeto Cement in 2001.
In 2018, Ibeto Cement Company Limited announced a reverse merger with Century Petroleum Corporation, a United States (U.S.) publicly-traded petroleum exploration and production company. This was aimed at taking the global markets by storm and bypass the complex process of listing. The company was to acquire a 70% controlling stake of Century Petroleum and thus Cletus Ibeto was subsequently made the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Ibeto’s foray into cement business saw him establishing Eastern Bulkcem Company Ltd
The company is also engaged in the importation of bulk cement and bagging of same in its factory premises in Rumuolumeni waterfront, Rivers State.
Eastern Bulkcem equally owns 60% of Nigeria Cement Company Plc (NIGERCEM), Nkalagu, Ebonyi State.
NIGERCEM was very important for Ibeto; if he was to remain an importer of cement, he needed to own a cement manufacturing plant as it was the requirement. Owning NIGERCEM did not come easy as the then Ebonyi state governor, Martin Elechi was against the acquisition. Ibeto fought him head-on like a wounded lion until he had NIGERCEM secured. NIGERCEM gave him the initial stability he needed to continue in the cement business.
King’s Palace Hotels Ltd was established in March 1985 and has become synonymous with hospitality. Kings’ Palace is located at the heart of Nnewi and has played a significant role in the economic and tourism development in Anambra State.
Ibeto Energy Development Ltd is Ibeto’s response to the energy need of the country. The company was established in April 2008 in line with federal government’s aspiration to exploit the available natural gas in the Niger Delta Region for economic development.
Palmex Agencies Limited was incorporated in September 1998 and engaged in general merchandising. The company imports and distributes commodity items like rice, sugar and fertilizer.
Ibeto Industries Ltd is the flagship. It was incorporated in 1984 to serve the Nigerian public in their quest for colour print and photographic processing. Ibeto industries have modern printing machines that meet the need of customers and they have branches across Nigeria.
Odoh Holdings Ltd made a debut in March 1985.It is the real estate arm of the Ibeto. The company owns properties in prime areas of Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha and Nnewi.
Ibeto Hotel Abuja is a 100-room four-star property which was commissioned early in 2013 and the company has interest in replicating Ibeto Hotel Abuja in other major cities in Nigeria.
Ibeto believes in ethics in business even if its application or observances will cause him money and business opportunities.A veteran journalist, Mike Awoyinfa tells an enchanting story of how Ibeto elected to lose millions of dollars during the gulf war than compromise on business ethics: “Ibeto said that during the Gulf War II, his company received a lot of pressure from Saddam Hussien’s officials who badly wanted Union Recycling Plant to export the lead products refined by his company at very lucrative terms, but the company turned down the tempting offer because Ibeto believed that such leads would go into production of dangerous weapons of war by Saddam. This was far more ethical than a business decision, but Ibeto argued to his astonished management that even though the group desperately needed the fund to inject into the the construction of the cement terminals at Bundu Ama Creek.
Born on November 6, 1952 in his home town, Obiofia Umuenem, Otolo Nnewi in Anambra State, Ibeto is humble, unassuming and focused.Through his philanthropic gestures Ibeto has lifted thousands of people out of poverty. He has also helped other top business persons from Nnewi.
A large hearted and ever kindly disposed community developer and human capacity builder, Cletus Ibeto has to his credit the following notable philanthropic milestones, amongst several others:
The award of over 200 secondary and university scholarships to deserving, indigent Nigerian youths.
Instituted and maintains in perpetuity a prize award foundation for the best graduating student in pediatrics at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, College Of Medicine, Nnewi, Anambra State.
Instituted and maintains in perpetuity a prize award foundation for the best graduating student in the department of Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State.
Extensive Community Support Services in: Rural Electrification projects with donation and installation of transformers, borehole water projects to communities and institutions of learning.
Constructed and maintains a 20km road and a multipurpose hall for Nnewi community.
Constructed the biggest but yet-to-be commissioned N650 Million-worth Medical Diagnostic Center at the University of Nigeria (UNN), Enugu Campus (renowned to be the largest in the West African sub region).
Constructed and donated Departmental buildings to Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi.
On the construction of the most modern and contemporary Catholic Youth Village located in Amansea (near Awka) in Anambra State, Dr Ibeto was acknowledged as the single largest donor and developed 250 number self-contained rooms of hostel accommodations within the Village designed to mitigate the accommodation challenges of students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
Constructed and donated a world class church building, chancery and Conference Centre to St. Cletus Catholic Church, Otolo Nnewi, Anambra State.
Sponsors annual comprehensive medical/surgical outreaches to communities that have restored health to thousands of sick and helpless Nigerians and prevented death for many.
Extensive development programme for host communities to his numerous businesses.

Though denied access to formal by his father at 13, that burning desire to see the four walls of a classroom remained aflame. Ibeto for he would later sat for his WASSCE at the age of 48 and got a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from University of Nigeria, Nsukka at the age o f 54. He was subsequently honoured with a Doctor of Business Administration degree from the same University.
Over the years, he has had numerous trainings at seminars and conferences within the country, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Japan.
Ibeto had earlier attended St. James Primary school, Owerrinta in the present day Imo state.
Come March 2020, another enchanting feather will be added to Dr.Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto’s crowded crown and another honour done him yet as the Ebonyi state University confers on him Honorary Doctorate Degree on Business Administration.
Before the EBSU honour, Ibeto’s gallery of Honours brimmed with assortment of awards and recognitions, including:
Gold Service Award from the Rotary Club of Enugu, Rotary International District 9140.
Three-Ruby Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation International.
Certificate of Merit from the Government of Anambra State of Nigeria.
Award of Excellence by the Pilgrims Africa Health Foundation.
National Honour, Officer of Order of the Niger, OON.
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Honoris Causa, University of Nigeria.
National Honour, Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON.
And friends and business associates who have followed Ibeto’s life trajectory testify that the Honorary award is a fitting, proper, deserving and eloquent recognition and testimony of of his years of entrepreneurship, hard work, tenacity of purpose and service to humanity.

Ingram Osigwe is the MD/CEO of Full page international communications Ltd writes from Lagos.

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NISS: Driving Change Agenda in Security Agencies

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By Afakriya Gadzama

One of the major achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari Government is upgrading of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) to enhance its role in enhancing inter-agency cooperation, building the capacity of security organizations and eliminating practices that are incompatible with the rights of the citizenry.

 

The decision was apparently informed by glaring inadequacies and rivalry among security organizations that undermined collective efforts to have seamless cooperation and effective coordination between stakeholders in the national security system. It was very critical to have an Institute where the intelligence, security, military and paramilitary organizations could interface and share ideas towards common operational culture.

The National Institute for Security Studies was also to address the diverse and often conflicting doctrines, approaches and understanding in security practice by providing a medium for interaction and forging better formal and informal understanding in handling security and related challenges. When the Institute came on board through the 2019 Establishment Act, inadequacies and anomalies in the security architecture and practices could subvert a unified approach for tackling security challenges in the country. It was considered imperative to have an institutional framework that will bridge the gaps and divergent positions on dealing with common security challenges. There could not have been a better time to have such an Institute than now when the country faces myriads of security challenges. The need to have an institute that will address lack of capacity among those being prepared to hold command appointments was a matter of urgency. The core mandates of the Institute include addressing perceived leadership inadequacies among those holding command appointments.

A major inadequacy in the security, defense, law enforcement and paramilitary organizations in the security sector is lack of sufficient grooming of those aspiring to hold command appointments. The National Institute for Security Studies was charged with addressing leadership inadequacies and ineptitude in those heading security and related organizations. The Institute was without doubt a child of necessity with responsibilities similar to those of the National Defense College and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru Jos.   The NISS is also charged with preparing commanders and directors to fit leadership models suitable for effective response to contemporary security challenges. The upgrade of the Institute for Security Studies to a National Institute was informed by the importance of a well-informed perspective, mindset and knowledge supportive of the nation’s nascent democracy and operational effectiveness in emerging security commanders.

After a long period of military rule, it was necessary to initiate significant changes in security management that are in consonance with democratic practices. The Institute promoted a new orientation and best practices in security management by continuously urging participants to avoid attitudes and practices of the past in order to fit into the change agenda and discard the use of unbridled force, abuse of human rights and corruption. The NISS has been a major driving force in the change and democratization processes in the country by adopting re-orientation of mindset of security operatives and related professionals as core areas of study. The NISS also inculcates in course participants the importance of intelligence, integrity and civility in security and crime management by exposing them to best practices in security and intelligence management, drawing extensively from the experiences of other countries and this has been valuable in the change process promoted in the Institute. The Institute also enhances the knowledge of course participants by taking them on foreign studies tours and giving them lectures in comparative studies.   The NISS has dedicated lecturers who are very determined to take it to world class level and this has worked in its favour, although much still needs to be done to recruit experienced scholars conversant with contemporary security practice.

The vision of the management of the Institute is to draw from the knowledge and experiences of experienced academia and security intelligence officers especially those who have held top positions.   Ministers, governors and heads of government agencies and departments who are interrogated on challenges undermining efforts to address security and development challenges deliver lectures at the NISS. Studies by course participants and interactions with governors have drawn attention to nagging security and development challenges. The Institute focuses on challenges of governance as core areas of study and participants and their study tour coordinators make recommendations to state governments and organizations. The Institute is emerging as a source of valuable contributions in policy decisions that could help stabilize the polity and achieve development objectives.

The NISS also conducts research into topical security challenges facing the country and the sub-region during which participants get lectures and conduct research into major security challenges and why they persist at national and global levels. The research covers challenges of poor leadership, governance and extremism in the country, complemented with studies on institutional and leadership failures. Lectures and research papers also cover proliferation of dangerous weapons, drug addiction, illegal migration, sub-regional challenges and threats that undermine development and change. The Institute provides avenues for exchange of ideas on harmonization of divergent operational approaches in managing security threats and critical intelligence in security practice, avoiding intelligence failures in crises and failure to appreciate intelligence in conflicts. Terrorism, armed banditry, militancy and religious extremism are other important areas of research in view of prevailing situations in the country, as well as sabotage and attempts to delegitimize leadership and governance interest, negative consequences of sectionalism, religious bigotry and promotion of sundry parochial interests and sentiments.

The Institute has recently hosted seminars and lectures on challenges of governance, leadership, and support for the country’s quest for stable democracy. It has also been at the forefront of promoting a paradigm shift predicated on the centrality of respect for human rights and good governance because effective security is only obtainable where the interests of the citizenry and those who lead are in harmony. The perspective of security as the aggregation of all interests is given prominence in lectures and the shift in emphasis from regime protection and preference for the use of force to meeting the aspirations of the citizenry are considered fundamental in understanding critical components of national security. In addition, the Institute frowns at the incursion of deception, playing to the gallery and sycophancy in security practice. Participants are encouraged to cultivate the culture of being frank, truthful and honest to those in the position of authority.   The challenges of elections and democracy in a changing environment with emphasis on attitudes, factors and tendencies that undermine the growth of democracy and development also come under focus in the Institute’s concerns for stable democracy, credible election processes and patriotic leadership.

Major stakeholders in the conduct of elections including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security organizations and political parties are invited to deliver lectures. The Institute has facilitated exchange of ideas on corruption in recognition of the fact that corruption has socio-economic and political implications on and national growth and progress. The mandate of the National Institute for Security Studies is well thought out to meet security, development and leadership demands and overcome challenges of our time with particular focus on reorientation, remodeling and changing the mindset of personnel especially those holding Command appointments. Going by its achievements so far, the Institute remains on course despite disruptions of its programme by the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of funds for the successful take-off of some of its programmes and qualified manpower. Afakriya .A. GADZAMA OFR, mni Chairman, Governing Board of the National Institute for Security Studies.

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Enugu State Government and the Quest for Growth

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…with a special focus on rural development and the execution of feasible policies)

Enugu State got recently recognized in the National news as one of the top six states of the Nigerian Federation surviving on its internally generated revenue. This news sparked off debates among people from resident citizens to political stakeholders and diaspora communities straddling the fence in either support or opposition

.

The management of funding in Nigerian states is an ongoing uphill task, as evidenced by the low number of 6 out of 36 states that survive without the monthly federal allocation and reflects a major achievement by the Enugu State government.

This feat is due to the combined efforts of the leaders who have shown consistency in pushing and prioritizing top policies that positively affect the state both in real-time and future long term.

 

The Leadership

Right from the inception of the fourth republic in Enugu State in 1999, Enugu continues to recover from the history of military-style administration and repression which has existed for over two decades. There have been noticeable improvements in the state’s administration that continues to date in the Ugwuanyi’s administration.

In Enugu State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi popularly addressed by the moniker, GburuGburu is the third democratically elected governor since 1999 who came into power in the 2015 general elections, after he defeated competitors to emerge as the winner.

He was sworn into power to succeed Governor Sullivan Chime on the 29th of May 2015 at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu.

On resumption of duty, he instituted his cabinet and members of the current administration. Subsequently, they continue working to grow and build the state with a special focus on rural development and the execution of feasible policies.

In addressing the varied policies of the Enugu State government that strives to impact all the sectors of the state ranging from education, business, and security among others. From the court of public opinion, these policies rank on different levels of effectiveness with positive and negative responses. We explore the verifiable facts on ground.

Enugu State Policies

As earlier mentioned, the policies of the state government have been varied and cover most sectors of the state’s economy. The most important of these policies which are highlighted below are those that have positively impacted the standard of living and quality of life for Enugu State’s residents and indigenes.

One wonderful aspect of the democratic government since 1999 is its continuous focus on human capital development with the policies on:

  1. Education

The most important policy that shows governance focus is its provision of affordable and quality education for the children and youth populations. “Education is a weapon through which people can become better or fight subjugation” – Nelson Mandela.

The Enugu State Government is continually funding, expanding and improving access to quality education. By making basic education relatively free and affordable, the state literacy rate has risen to nearly 89%.

This was done by broadening the foundations set by past governments for public schools through the provision of over 50 new classrooms and the renovation of more than 150 old classrooms across several of the public schools scattered through the entire state.

Furthermore, the government of Ugwuanyi, in a bold and unprecedented move to close out competence gaps, also employed an additional 2000 teachers who were posted largely to rural areas.

The consistent payment of teachers’ salaries, building new classrooms, provision of numerous school supplies, students’ scholarships and staff training are among some of the ongoing measures been driven by the government to improve literary levels within just the Basic Education level. Complementary efforts in secondary, tertiary and adult education levels would be examined in the future.

 

  1. Business Development/Investment Attraction

The ease of doing business in Enugu is another aspect that has borne fruition due to efforts by the current administration. The Ugwuanyi led government has fully improved the available resources and facilities that help establish businesses. With Enugu State’s huge available workforce that allows interested parties to tap into available markets. For instance, ICT which holds more than 20% of the world market share and is currently the largest biggest sector worldwide has risen in Enugu with organizations like the Genesys Tech Hub and TechX Innovation Hub who have set up headquarters in the state to train skilled software developers and programmers with support from the government.

The government also established the SME center that connects young people and small-scale businesses to entrepreneurial opportunities. This center provides loans at minimal rates to small scale businesses and conducts training for skilled and unskilled participants interested in setting up businesses.

This focus on business drivers for the state is sure to yield positive results as these SME startups begin to set up, grow and expand in the future.

Moreover, there exists low, effective and transparent taxation, good security and accessible road networks that help boost businesses within the state.

Despite the set governance limitations in not getting directly involved in the establishment and running of industries, the Enugu government seems to have largely focused on creating a more secure and business-friendly environment to encourage private-sector investments.

 

  1. Skill Acquisition Programs/Youth Empowerment

Youth unemployment in Nigeria has reached crisis proportions and Enugu is also affected by this national issue. Although the resident youths are vibrant, skilled and intelligent, too many remain unemployed or under-employed and poses a challenge for the government. This crisis is being managed with targeted collaborative efforts to provide skill acquisition programs as well as offering business aid to young entrepreneurs. This is evidenced by the over 400 traders who are beneficiaries of the popular Ugwuanyi market traders’ initiative, promos and grants.

 

  1. Health

The health status in Nigeria is another area of national crisis and this has been brought to light with the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. At the State level, Enugu is better suited in comparison to neighbouring states in the South East region in the management of health care with reports of coordinated efforts by the government in managing the pandemic.

Under primary and tertiary health care, there are over 360 primary health care centres, 35 cottage hospitals, several district hospitals, and this is topped with the State university teaching hospital, Parklane.

The current government has consolidated on the achievements of the past governments by building new clinics and hospitals alongside improving health infrastructures for existing ones.

The government continues to prioritize the health system of the state to meet the needs and demands of public healthcare which takes a huge chunk of the state’s funding and budget.

This support is further reflected through its offering of free antenatal care and treatment of children under 5 years and free treatment for special cases like HIV and Tuberculosis.

There are ongoing studies in academia on the impact of these health infrastructural developments in the health statistics of the state and these will likely be explored in the future.

  1. Roads

“Good roads breed good development”. This oft-quoted phrase perfectly describes the status of roads within Enugu State. Considering the cost implications, yet building public roads is one major infrastructure that the state government continue to invest.

The efforts by the Ugwuanyi’s government in constructing roads that cover most parts of the state to connect rural and urban areas has been extensively extolled.

These roads have given the impacted rural communities a sense of belonging and pride in their state. With farming as the major occupation for most rural indigenes, the improved transportation routes ensure agricultural produce are less likely to perish. Thus food items are easily processed, effectively supplied and made accessible to the public at affordable market worthy prices without complications.

A cursory examination of the human interest perspectives will provide numerous anecdotal evidence as this focus on rural communities has strongly impacted the state’s agricultural industry growth.

 

  1. Security

The final aspect worthy of commendation is the management of security within the state. Across the years, successive governments have enacted policies and procedures that help boost the security levels in the state.

Recently, the government created the Enugu State Neighborhood Watch that works in tandem with community policing and this has reduced the crime rate in numerous communities.

Furthermore, with public outcry and complaints about herdsmen invasion of the state’s forests and farmlands, the Enugu State government created and continues to finance Forest Guards who help police the state’s lands and their efforts have helped immensely.

Also, the government set up channels of communication through the aid of community stakeholders to foster bonds among the Hausa and Fulani migrants where they encourage self-monitoring in these communities to help security agencies fish out deviants who try to threaten the peace.

Finally, the Ugwuanyi’s government has constantly provided automobiles such as cars and trucks from local suppliers like the Innoson Group for the state security agencies to aid their monitoring and safety measures.

Despite these highlighted good policies being driven by this administration, it is not without criticism.

As this administration focuses on improving Enugu State’s capacity, there are some decisions in need of execution to ensure consistent progress.

For instance, in their attempt to get effective government delivery to the people and manage public expectations, the state spends a large part of its funding in employing civil servants and managing political stakeholders. Too many people seem to be the government’s payroll.

Besides, constant acquisition of some non-essential items like cars for public convoys seems to take a toll on the state’s finances. The governor and other politicians need to reduce the number of cars in their convoys and stop buying more.

Lastly is the defensive way most of the government’s criticisms and decisions are handled. Too often, politicians with personal interests, who sometimes are in the same ruling party seem to constantly be on the attack.

Honest and constructive criticism is good for the development of the state, but malicious attacks without evidence seek to divide the state and create bad public opinion among the citizenry.

This distracts the people in government and can better be managed by sharing more stories, facts, figures and information of the collaborative efforts they take in reaching decisions that affect the public.

Adopting these suggestions will help all who are working towards the state’s peace, unity and development.

 

Edited by Ese Okereka

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NDDC Acting MD, Daniel Pondei lists contracts allegedly paid for

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Daniel Pondei

Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei, has listed some contracts the commission allegedly paid for under duress before its 2019 annual budget was approved.

 

Pondei who alleged that some lawmakers, especially members of adhoc Committees have held the Commission hostage over the years with the annual budget approval, also disclosed that they were arm-twisted to pay for some contracts that “were never done or sometimes, never completed.”

 

In a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media, Edgar Ebigoni, the contracts and benefiting firms were listed as follows;

 

Kith Global Ventures Ltd; Remedial Works at New Ogorode Roads Lot 3, at the cost of N493,684,169.00 and paid on the 17/03/2020, 301 Constr. Ltd; Remedial Works at Nja Road to Akoku Uno Lot 1, at the cost of N350,027,919.80 and paid on the 17/03/2020. Cracked Stone Constr. Ltd; Remedial Works at Ajaolubeti Road Environs Lot 2 at the cost of N394,010,952.10 and paid on the 17/03/2020. Collincrystal Energy Ltd; Emergency at Benin Township Road Lot 7, at the cost of N 431,053.035.20 and paid on the 17/03/2020. Collincrystal Energy Ltd; Emergency at Benin Township Road Lot 3, at the cost of N361,357,276.20 and paid on the 17/03/2020 and Grapik Ltd; Emergency at Umudee Internal Road, at the cost of N207,673,107.70 and paid the 17/03/2020.

 

Others were, Southland Constr. Ltd; Remedial Works at Umuduru Chukwu Umuorlu Road, at the cost of N518,409,089.30 and paid on paid on the17/03/2020. Southland Constr. Ltd; Remedial Works at Umuduru, at the cost of N519,949,949.10 and paid on the 17/03/2020.

 

Grandfox Global Services Ltd; Emergency at Ope Road Okigwe LGA, at the cost of N580,438,578.00 and paid on the 17/03/2020. Collincrystal Energy Ltd; Emergency at Benin Town Road Lot 6, at the cost of N348,853,184.60 and paid on the 7/03/2020 and Crism Constr. Building Ltd; Emergency at Eziama Osuama International Roads Isiala Mbano LGA, at the cost of N561,592,377.80 and paid on the17/03/2020.

 

Also paid were, Argento Ltd; Emergency at Benin Township Road Lot 4, at the cost of N382,805,411.60 and paid on the 18/03/2020. Two Rocks Cont. Ltd; Remedial Works at New Ogorode Road Lot 4, N500,875,848.00 and paid on the 18/03/2020. Elkan Zibson Ltd; Emergency Repairs of failed and unmotorable sections of Ezumoha Internal Roads Isiala Mbano LGA, at the cost of N531,150,414.29 and paid on the 19/03/2020. Cracked Stone Constr. Ltd; Remedial works on Failed and Unmotorable sections of Benin Township Road Lot 8, at the cost of N417,806,787.01 and paid on the 19/03/2020. PDH Global Logistics Ltd; Emergency Repairs of Failed and Unmotorable sections of Umuezuo Umuagbavu Road Remedy Failed and unmotorable sections of Chikwe Orlu Street Environment, at the cost of N543,247,587.35 and paid on the 20/03/2020. Aritel Oil and Gas; Remedy Failed and Motorable sections of Chikwe Orlu Street Environment, at the cost of N550,100,132.34 and paid on the 24/03/202.

 

Dis Concept and Solutions Ltd; Urgently Remedy Failed and Un motorable sections of Jessy and Jenny Road off peter Odily Road PHC, at the cost of N476,794,367.22 and paid on the 26/03/2020. Ogugo Concept and Solutions Ltd; Emergency Repairs of Failed and Unmotorable sections of Environs Yenagoa LGA, at the cost of N300,029,695.14 and paid on the 26/03/2020. Webster Global ventures Ltd; Instruction of emergency Repairs of failed and unmotorable sections Benin Township Road Lot 2 Oredo LGA, at the cost of N357,242,054.35 and paid on the 26/03/2020. Webster Global ventures Ltd; Remedial Works of Failed and unmotorable sections of Akuku Illah Road Oshimili North LGA, at the cost of N 463,489,890.13 and paid on the 26/03/2020 and Webster Global ventures Ltd; Remedial Works of failed and Unmotorable sections of New Ogorode Road Lot2 Sapele LGA, at the cost of N 466,416,380.71 and paid on the 26/03/2020.

 

 

 

The statement added;

 

 

 

“This blackmail scheme explains why the 2019 Budget of the NDDC was passed by the NASS Committee in March, 2020”, adding that, “we are talking about a budget that was billed to expire in May, 2020. This implication is that the management of the NDDC had only five weeks, to implement the budget of one fiscal year, and present a performance report on the same budget.

 

“This scheme has continued to play out, because as at this Month of August 2020, the budget of the NDDC for the 2020 fiscal year has not been passed by the Joint National Assembly Committee on NDDC. Sadly, nobody seems to care to ask questions because people are falling for the well-scripted smokescreen playing out in the two Chambers of the National Assembly.

 

“This document, is among the many others tendered before the NASS Committee, which never saw the light of the day, and which the NDDC Committee were never allowed to speak on, when they eventually appeared before the Committee, during the public hearing. It was based on this evidential claim that the IMC of NDDC staged a walk-out, on the first day they were to testify before the Committee.

 

“The details of this list can be verified from the Central Bank of Nigeria, through a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request.

 

“Indeed, the same allegation informed the reason all well-meaning Nigerians urged the Committee Chairman, Hon. Tunji-Ojo to recuse himself from the Chairmanship of that hearing. This is in keeping with the Nemo judex in causa sua, which is a Latin phrase that upholds the principle of natural justice that no one can judge a case in which they have an interest”.

 

“It is very unfortunate that against all objective appeals and moral persuasions, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, alongside some other accused members of the House Committee on NDDC, proceeded to hold a public hearing, which was initially slated for two days, being the 15th and 16th of July 2020, but which effectively ran till 20th of the month, only for him to decide, at his own pace and time, to recuse himself from the hearing, on the last day, an action which cast a dark shade on the entire public.

 

“This is because, the same reason for which he recused himself on the last day was enough for him to steer clear from the matter, ab initio. The foregoing points to a clear fact that the Committee set out to do a bidding, that was never in the interest of the public. They obviously needed a public hearing to tell the public what they wanted the public to hear, rather than the facts of the matter.

 

“The Spokesperson the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, on a National Television Programme, recently, admitted publicly, that Contractors often approached Chairmen of the House Committees and the members, to use their office to compel MDAs to pay them. This definitely should be the new height of the abuse of the oath of office they swore, not to allow their personal interest interfere with the discharge of their official duties.

 

“Recall that since these allegations were first made by the Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh on National Television, Hon. Olubumni Tunji-Ojo has not deemed it fit to discountenance the allegations by way of a law suit”.

 

DRC gets $7.5m additional US aid to combat Ebola

The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing more than $7.5 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help end the 11th outbreak of Ebola in Équateur Province in Northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The funding also will support Ebola survivors and maintain a rapid-response capacity in Eastern DRC, where the DRC’s 10th outbreak, also the second-largest outbreak of the disease in history was declared over in June 2020.  The U.S. Government remains the DRC’s principal partner in countering Ebola:  USAID has provided nearly $350 million since August 2018, including for preparedness and response activities in the DRC and neighboring countries.  The funding announced today is in addition to contributions from other U.S. Departments and Agencies and the U.S. private sector.

 

Through USAID’s NGO and UN partners on the ground, the United States is scaling up to providing life-saving assistance in Northwestern DRC’s Équateur Province, where a new outbreak of Ebola was declared on June 1.  This assistance includes support for the deployment of rapid-response teams to remote areas, surveillance for cases of the disease, and treatment facilities.  Additionally, this assistance will help survivors facing stigmatization, as well as fund continued engagement with communities on prevention and post-outbreak training on safe and dignified burials.

 

The U.S. Government is the largest-single bilateral donor to the response to Ebola in the DRC.  U.S. support and expertise played a major role in helping the Government of the DRC and its partners bring an end to Ebola outbreaks across the country, including the recent epidemic in South Kivu and Ituri Provinces.  USAID’s Disaster-Assistance Response Team, made up of disaster and health experts, continues to work with the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, humanitarian partners, and the Government of the DRC to help contain the latest outbreak and bring it under control.

 

Stopping the spread of Ebola requires a concerted, unified effort from the international community – all in close partnership with the Government of the DRC and affected local populations.  USAID strongly encourages other donors to provide additional financial and technical support to help end the outbreak in Équateur Province.

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