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Items filtered by date: December 2018

Ekpo Unfold Agenda To Students

  • Published in News

The Cross River State governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr. Eyo Ekpo has stated that his government will give premium attention to the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as they have the capacity to quickly propel a state into development.

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Minister Calls For World Pricing Order For Stable Oil Price

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Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and Chairman of National Council on Hydrocarbons, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has called for a new world pricing order to ensure stable oil price globally.

He made the call in Calabar at the conclusion of the 3rd National Council on Hydrocarbons with the theme: Oil & Gas Reform:  The Key to Unlocking the Potentials of Nigeria's Hydrocarbons.

Kachikwu said because of the frequent fluctuations in oil prices, there was need to have a globally accepted pricing regime.

He said the tumbling oil prices in the last few weeks was very alarming and should be taken seriously as they cause major crisis and affect budgeting.

“What this crisis says about the future of oil is that more value should be added to our oil before export. We need to have more refineries, increase efficiency and improve transparency in the oil industry.

“This country must refine its products. Only countries that can improve their yield in oil will overcome the challenge of price fluctuation,” he said.

He said government and the private sector have to join hands to bring back the refineries, adding that the process of having modular refineries was moving very rapidly and by 2019 most privately owned refineries could be ready.

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Ekpo, Etta Shine At FAD FM Political Summit

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Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Mr. Eyo Ekpo and the Senatorial Candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Mr. Hilary Bisong endeared themselves to the crowd at the 2018 FAD FM political summit in Calabar.

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2019: PDP, APC Bicker Over Crisis In Brass, Nembe

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The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the opposition All Progressives Congress APC in Bayelsa State are trading blames over the violent crisis going on in Brass and Nembe local government areas of the state, ahead of the 2019 general polls.

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144,000 Virgin Choir Expected In Biakpan For Leader Obu's Centenary

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At least two million out of the five million members of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star across the world are expected in Biakpan, the birth place of Leader Olumba Olumba Obu as part of activities to mark his centenary celebration which began in December 2016.

This was disclosed at a media parley organised by Starcross Television in Calabar, the Cross River state capital at the weekend where other activities lined up for the centenary celebration were outlined.

According to Christ Ambassador Richard Effiong, secretary of the central organising committee of the centenary, the pilgrimage to Biakpan will take place between 20th and 22nd of December.

He also said other activities include the hosting of 10,000 choristers in an 18-hour praise involving singing of 100 hymns ceaselessly on 28 December.

He said seven choirs from four regions in the country would compete, while choirs from UK, Ghana and the 144,000 Virgin Choir would also participate in the event.

Another major event of the centenary is the grand finale billed to hold at the U.J.Esuene Stadium with a procession of thousands of members from Ambo street headquarters of BCS to the stadium.

“Also to be observed is grand carnival float Calabar in the order of 36 states of Nigeria and about 40 nations of the world,” he said.

At the event, some acts of charity performed by Leader O.O. Obu were also highlighted. These include feeding and clothing of the less privileged, moral and material support for prisoners across the world, students' scholarship, supply of relief materials to survivors and internally displaced persons of war-torn countries through the Christ universal Mercy Fellowship in the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star.

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Udom Has Been Telling Lies Against Me -Police Commissioner

Musa Kimo is the new commissioner of police. He is barely a week old in Akwa Ibom State and is currently at loggerheads with the state governor, Udom Emmanuel. A section of the state, particularly those in the PDP are not happy with him. They accused him of taking sides with some members of the APC in the state house of assembly who tried to take over power by force.

But Kimo told TNN in a telephone interview that whatever was being said about him on the matter have been tissues of lies. Specifically, he said the governor lied when he accused him of being sponsored to take sides in his handling of the crisis in the house of assembly.

His interview was transcribed by VICTORIA KALU.

Excerpts:  

 

I will like us to talk about the crisis in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, vis a vis the governor's accusations against you.

 The governor is entitled to whatever he wants to do. But I will tell you that 100 per cent, not 99 per cent of all that he said is false, totally false. It was just a political statement.

He is accusing you of taking sides, he is accusing you of being sponsored by.......

(cuts in) I have told you that 100 per cent, not 99 per cent of all the allegations are false and I maintain my words. That time you called me, I was in a meeting with people here and there, all in search of peace, all for them to know me, all for them to know that I am here to fight crime and to also let them know that I cannot do it alone, that I require the cooperation and support of everybody, whether you are one second old, whether you are 100 years old. We are apolitical, non partisan, we are neutral, we are fair and just, and that is what we will continue to do, you have known me and I have not changed.

Yes, I have known you since when you were in Rivers State.

So, because I have changed place(of assignment) doesn't mean I have changed, it is not me.

And now they are calling for your head, that you have to be moved out of Akwa Ibom ......how do you look at it?

No problem, God knows best, you understand.

How would you describe what is happening in Akwa Ibom right now?

Well, I will just appeal to people to be calm, to go about their lawful businesses, as we are out to ensure protection of lives and property, with the assistance and cooperation of well meaning, law abiding people of this good state, that is just my prayer and my request and my appeal. And to tell people that we are apolitical, we are non partisan, we will continue to be neutral, we will be professional in the discharge of our duties, that is it. And that whatever is said, it is negation, that is, it is false.

How would you describe your relationship with Godswill Akpabio?

He is a Nigerian like me, and is an ex- governor; so I have to give him his due respect anytime I see him, just like any other person. Every human being is brought to this life by God, so the person requires my respect, especially as a policeman. We are servants of God. I don't have any personal relationship with anybody. My relationship with people is official. My relationship that is personal is only that of my wife and my children, that's all.

What would you also say about the relationship between you and the governor of Akwa Ibom state, because I know that once a new CP gets into the state....    

 It is a misconception and there is gap. With time, he will know whether I am that type or not. Unfortunately, it has come to be so, but I know with God on our side, not only with him, but with all the responsible and good people of the state. I am not perturbed, I will be professional in the discharge of my duties. If God says I will stay a minute here, fine, if God say no, I will not, fine, I am not God.

Does it worry you that the governor is lying against you?

Certainly it should worry me as a human being, it should worry me. But as a Christian, is it not said that forgive them? It is painful but what can I say? It has been done. But God knows I am not that type, and we are in a democracy. So anybody is free to say whatever he or she wants or can say. And I as a Christian will not condemn him for the statement he made. I will always pray God to touch his heart and mind for him to see reasons that what he said is not true.

When five members of the house of assembly invaded the house, with policemen giving them cover, how did you feel?

That is not known to me. Me as a police officer, I'm only here to maintain law and order. That is not known to me, and it is not in my place to decide what they do there. You understand? I am here to maintain law and order. What they do is their business, I have no directive, I don't have any order, I don't have any mandate from any quarter to allow or disallow anybody. All I can do is to ensure that miscreants do not go there and disturb people in doing their business, either in the house of assembly, or in their respective business places, or in their homes. Do you understand?

It is only the court. And I plead with people to be patient, if you have any problem with anybody, be it political, be it whatever, we have a law in this country, you explore legal action. If you are patient, you will always reach the promise land as this state is known. Do you understand?

So the question of this and that, all these things are not our fault. And we the police have no mandate, we don't have any mandate to talk to Mr. A or Mr. B, no no no, not at all. And we don't want to know, all these is to ensure that everybody lives in peace to do his or her own business, and we should not be dragged into this thing, no no no.

Do you see the possibility of politicians in Akwa Ibom trying to use you?

 I don't see it because I am a God fearer and I always do what is right.

So those five house of assembly members that were suspended, that invaded the assembly, any plans to arrest them?    

My dear brother, it is you that know that they invaded it, I can't say that. Do you understand? It's not in my place. It's only the court that has competence to confirm whether what they did is lawful or unlawful, it's not in my place. I have told you that I am here for everybody, to maintain law and order and peace. So the issue that they invaded is not known to me.

2019 election is on the way. How do you intend to police Akwa Ibom state because things like this are signals of what may happen during the main election.

 That's why I am talking to you, and talking to everybody to see reasons and maintain peace. Do you know that this is just my third day? On Monday, I even called stakeholders' meeting of all the political parties and I introduced myself and sought their cooperation and appealed to them to eschew violence, to shun all these thuggery. We prayed when we started and we also prayed at the end of the meeting. And we all agreed that we will maintain and sustain peace. Unfortunately, the devil is always there roaring around the corner. But with God on our side, I don't think we have anything to fear. What is important is, we should come up as a family and as a unit to ensure that we do the right thing with fear of God and to be Christ-like in whatever we are doing. As for the politicians, they should play by the rules. And where there is any grudge or any problem, they should ensure not to take the laws into their hands. Above all, two wrongs don't make a right. If I am wrong, you shouldn't be wrong. You can go to court patiently even though you may laugh last, but I think if you laugh last, you will laugh the better and best.

What promise would you give to miscreants, what promise would you give to hoodlums, cultists in Akwa Ibom State of what you are capable of doing if they misbehave?

You don't expect me to fold my arms, you don't expect my policemen and other law enforcement agencies and people who are law abiding to fold their arms and allow miscreants, hoodlums to perpetrate crime, because if we allow them, we won't have peace. And we need peace especially at this critical period or moment. And so with the cooperation of everybody including you, we will deal with them, we will grab them, and responsibly, if they don't want to repent, they should leave the state.

What are your final words to the governor?

No problem, he knows better than me, he is the chief security officer. But I know by the grace of God, he will see reasons and retrace his steps, that's all. It's one of those things, I consider it as one of those things. And I don't have ill feelings, I don't. I will continue to do my job with the fear of God.

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“With My Good Works, I’ve Already Secured Re-Election Victory"

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The governor of Cross River state, Prof Ben Ayade did not labour to lay bare his achievements in the last three years he has been calling the shots as the number one citizen of the state. He took his time to tell journalists in the state all he has done and why his focus is on industrialization of the state and job creation.

His engagement with journalists was at the exco chamber in his office on Wednesday. The last time such an engagement took place was over two years ago and this time, the governor seized the moment to explain how he has been running the state with what he calls intellectual money in the face of the lean resources available to the state.

He answered all the questions journalists threw at him, laying bare facts and figures and capping his score sheet with a confident remark that his re-election for a second term in 2019 was a foregone conclusion.

On The State's Finances

He said the state was 17 months deep into recession when he took over, adding that in the face of dwindling revenue accruing to the state, he was able to pay salaries and gratuities regularly.

“God brought me at the right time. Salaries that I pay are magical, knowing the income of the state. Cross River is the richest state in the country, best located. Almost any crop can grow in Cross River State. It is only natural that an adventurous governor is governing the state.

 “I inherited domestic and foreign debts. Cross River, Zamfara and Osun states cannot borrow because of the loans they are repaying. That was where I started from. So, I had to create a brand new source of income through my industrialization drive.

“The seaport in Lagos is the state's biggest income earner, so why can't Cross River have a seaport? The dredging of the Calabar port is going to cost billions of naira and there is an issue between the concessionaire and the Federal Government that is why the project has not made any headway for over 15 years now.”

On Tinapa

The governor said macro-economic factors were affecting Tinapa, the business and leisure hub in Calabar, to the extent that it had become a huge drain pipe, with his efforts to revive it frustrated by the absence of three key components of the project, namely the dualization of the Aba-Calabar road, the dredging of Calabar port and the expansion of the airport. All these were designed to facilitate the evacuation of goods from the place.

Besides, Tinapa is not connected to the national grid. So the place runs on electricity generators throughout and the governor said it costs the state government N100 million to fuel the generators monthly, adding that his desire was to turn the place into a medical university. He also said the monorail running from Tinapa to CICC was not profitable.

Governor Ayade said he spent millions to revive the cable car and pay the expatriates running it at the Obudu Ranch Resort and the place was only able to generate about N85,000 as people preferred to go to the ranch by car or on motorcycle.

According to him, tourism is not the way to go because of the low purchasing power of the people. “My industrialization drive is to support tourism which is not generating much income for the state. For any business to succeed, 70 per cent of patronage must be local. So, we need to support tourism with industry that is why the choice of industrialization comes in.”

On His Projects

 He spoke about progress of his projects such as the deep seaport where he said work had started and in 18 months' time, there would be a skeletal port; the N8 billion Calasvagas; the power plant which he said would supply 24-hour electricity to Calabar; the super highway, saying after 80 petitions, the EIA has been finally approved and that the 276km super highway has been split into 50km each to enable investors take portions they could execute and collect toll from motorists after completion to recoup their investment.

“I have a picture of my dream for Cross River state. I have to start industries that will feed the deep seaport. I need to invest my intellect, my all to actualise my projects. The 276 km super highway seems impossible when you rely on your brain. I have my limitations, but money is not one of them. I have intellectual money. We are on a journey that will change the course of our state.”

Ayade also said Sri Lankans had arrived Calabar to train workers at the garment factory to improve the quality of fabric produced there so that it could be exported to America. In addition, he said all equipment for the biofertizer plant had arrived and after they are installed the people of Calabar will be selling their trash for cash and the trash will be converted to fertilizer.

Other Issues And 2019 Election

He announced that he increased the subvention of Cross River University of Technology from N160m to over N200m to prevent students who could not pay fees from being sent out of examination halls.

Speaking on why there is a lull in electioneering campaigns in the state, Ayade said: “Elections are two months away and Cross River is not feeling anything because there is no opposition.

“I am not worried about election. In 2019, I am a winner.”

The governor stated that with all his achievements and employment of over 6,000 aides and still counting, he believes he will be re-elected in 2019.

“I am not campaigning because I am concentrating on the projects I am executing,” he said.

He said he plays politics with ethics and valued his father's name than the office of governor he occupies.

The governor said he inherited Calabar South in darkness but has paid for its electrification, adding that the residents of the area should hold those who collected the money responsible if the project had not been implemented.

On a lighter note, he said more marriages had taken place in three years that he has been governor than in 15 years before he became governor and attributed this to the massive employment he has created which has empowered many financially.

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Judgement Day At Last

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All is now set for judgement on the case between the General Overseer of God is Able Mega Fire Ministry, Apostle Kingsley Abiekuno who and Mr Sayou Jones. The judgement is expected on Tuesday, December 4.

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