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Zulum, A Beacon Of Hope To Borno’s Less Privileged People.

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Born without a silver spoon and struggled through hard work, perseverance and unwavering desire to succeed, Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum has since become a household name, especially amongst the less privileged people in the state.

Prof. Zulum is always quick to share stories about his humble beginning amongst the high and mighty, a gesture observers view as a rare display of humility amongst Nigeria’s political elites

Since he assumed office in 2019, Prof Zulum has never failed to consistently associate with the less privileged, his former constituency where he was schooled in the difficult economic hardship bedevilling many Nigerian less privileged people.

Driven by compassion and his genuine concern to assist the common people, Prof Zulum had on different occasions while on a visit to the hinterland of the state, ordered the immediate halting of his motorcade just to assist locals walking long distances by giving them a ride on his convoy and also give them cash support.

Zulum passion to liberate his people from the shackles of poverty and education backwardness has led to a rise in budgetary provisions and fund releases for the education sector and key ministries that are aimed at empowering the common people.

For the 2024 budget, the Ministry of Education was allocated the sum of N39 billion to carry out its activities- this effort, amongst others, has removed over a million out-of-school children off the streets of Borno and returned them to the classrooms where their future are being positively moulded to become responsible and productive members of the society.

Out of 1.8 million out-of-school children in 2021, we have taken measures to reduce the number to less than 800. We’re still working assiduously to bring down the number,” Commissioner of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Engineer Lawan Abba Wakilbe said

No doubt, the more than a decade-long insurgency in Borno State had led many children and their parents to flee troubled areas, thereby obstructing their education where massive destruction to education facilities across the state was evident.

At a recent function during a public lecture held at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID ) which forms part of activities to mark the exit of the former Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Aliyu Shugaba after completing his 5-year tenure, Prof Zulum didn’t mince words when he charged the sea of erudite scholars present at the occasion, majority of whom are indigenes of Borno State to think outside the box and collaborate to use education as tool for liberating the people of the state.

Zulum who was full of emotion, apparently on a quick trip down his memory lane, revealed how he battled through plethoras of obstacles in his unquenchable quest to gain a quality education that has since transformed his life to become a professor of soil and water engineering and currently serving his second term as governor of Borno state.

He said: “Coming from my background, I know how I suffered when we did not have competent teachers to teach us in our primary and secondary schools. I never thought I would be a professor, because both of my parents were not educated, nobody ever told me to do my assignment while in primary school, I was on my own.”

It was therefore not surprising when Governor Zulum recently released the sum of N4.8 billion as a scholarship award to 524 postgraduate students from the state, including orphans and less privileged persons.

The scholarship award according to the governor is meant for foreign and local postgraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ( STEM)

In his usual touch of humanity and compassion towards the less privileged irrespective of ethnicity, tribe or religion governor Zulum during an early morning visit to a school in Maiduguri, the state capital had gifted a woman from the Southeast part of the country- a teacher in the school with the sum of N100,000 cash for always showing up early to her duty post. This announced the governor as a rewarder of not only the less privileged without demarcation of ethnic and religious lines but also a staunch believer in hard work and dedicated service.

Also, recently, during a visit to launch grains given to the state by the Federal Government, Prof Zulum, shortly after the occasion went towards the direction of the local guard on duty at the premises and immediately ordered that the sum of N500,000 be given to him – an amount that is more than his 12-month salary.

The 80-year Chadian local guard who had lived in Nigeria for over four decades and has over 20 Children was stunned by the governor’s gesture, he could not hide his feelings but continued to shout the praises of God and that of the governor, stating that the gift would go a long way in ameliorating his financial challenges.

Furthermore, 63-year-old Cecelia Joseph, a widow and mother of six children who was part of the one hundred thousand households that benefited from massive food support scheme carried out by the Borno State Governor, had praises for Zulum who had established the food support to ameliorate economic hardship being experienced by many vulnerable families across the state, including the likes of Cecilia whose husband, a commercial taxi driver was gruesomely murdered by suspected Boko Haram terrorists over ten years ago.

Cecilia since the demise of her husband, had continued to feed from hand to mouth with her six children. Though the blood of her husband was shed in Borno the allure of the state added to the fact that she had no one ready to lessen her burden from elsewhere had kept her in Borno State. She said that Governor Zulum is the first to have reached out to her with any form of assistance- through the food support, noting that “this will assist me and my six children immensely.”

Prof Zulum had ordered that food support should be given to all vulnerable residents irrespective of tribe, religion and political affiliations hence paving the way for Cecilia who hails from faraway Osun State, a devoted Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) member as well as other beneficiaries who are not indigenes of the state.

I’m so grateful to Governor Zulum for wiping away my tears with this food support. But I would appreciate more support from the governor and other well-meaning citizens for the education of my children. ” Cecelia who currently lives in a rented accommodation on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the state capital said.

Governor Zulum had revealed during one of the many food distributions in the state that: “We have never distinguished between Christians and Muslims in our food distribution. What we’re doing is not partisan either, it’s not based on ethnicity or religion; we advised the community to select one hundred thousand most valuable and bottom poor and this will go a long way in ameliorating the suffering of the masses

While warehouses were being looted across the country during the # EndSARS protests, residents of Borno state were full of gratitude to Governor Zulum for always coming to their aid with his unprecedented distribution of food, cash and clothing to assist the less privileged.

Following the release of the N2 billion intervention by President Bola Tinubu led the Federal government to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal Prof. Zulum announced raising the number of households being targeted for palliatives from 300,000 to 400,000 households.

Each household according to the Governor, will be made up of six family members and multiplied by 400,000 which, by implication, moves Zulum’s new target to two million and four hundred thousand individuals.

“Governor Zulum has continued to stand in the gap for many of the less privileged people in Borno state ” Umar Ali, one of those who recently benefited from the food support scheme established by the governor.

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Tinubu’s Minister Disobeys President’s Order, Fails to Confirm Appointment As Directed

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, has allegedly failed to implement President Bola Tinubu’s directive to appoint Nicholas Agbo-Ella as Nigeria’s OPEC Governor.

Recall that in a May 6 directive, President Tinubu instructed Lokpobiri to submit Agbo-Ella’s name to replace Gabriel Aduda, who was redeployed to the Ministry of Women Affairs.

President Tinubu in his memo to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and copied to Mr Lokpobiri said that Mr Lokpobiri should “take immediate steps to notify OPEC of the change of Permanent Secretary and replace Ambassador Gabriel T. Aduda’s name with Ambassador Nicholas Agbo-Ella as the Governor nominated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, being the current Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum.”

The minister was directed to ensure the “replacement is confirmed by the conference scheduled for 1 June 2024.”

Mr Aduda is a brother to former FCT Senator Philip Aduda who is reportedly an ally of Nyesom Wike.

 

According to sources within the administration, Mr. Lokpobiri has failed to submit Mr. Agbo-Ella’s name to the OPEC Board of Governors as of June 1, despite the president’s directive.

The reason behind Mr. Lokpobiri’s inaction is unclear, and it remains a mystery why Mr. Aduda, who has been reassigned to the Ministry of Women Affairs, continues to serve as OPEC governor.

 

Checks show that Mr Aduda is still listed as Nigeria’s Governor on the OPEC website.

Sources close to the ministry revealed that Mr. Aduda, despite his transfer from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, was recently photographed receiving the OPEC Secretary General, Haitham Al Ghais, in Nigeria. Additionally, a photograph dated June 2, 2024, shows Mr. Lokpobiri and Mr. Aduda attending an OPEC meeting virtually.

This is also not Mr. Aduda’s first controversial involvement. In May 2014, it was widely reported how he entered the federal civil service despite failing exams at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

After resigning due to poor performance, he was surprisingly appointed Director of the Economic Research and Policy Management Department at the Federal Ministry of Finance just six months later. He has since served in various ministries, including Foreign Affairs, Petroleum Resources, and now Women’s Affairs.

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Senators new timetable now 11am to 3pm for Plenary

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The Senate has amended its rule book to start holding Plenary from 11am to 3pm.

The Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, had raised two motions at the commencement of plenary.

One of motions was an amendment to the standing rules which proposed that the Senate shifts the timing of its sittings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 11am, and close by 3pm like their counterpart in the House of Representatives.

The Senate Leader also moved his second motion on Standing Committee’s Amendment of order 96 to create the Senate Committee on Reparation and repatriation.

However, the second motion was stepped down as senators opted to debate on the issue of sitting time.

While lending his voice to the issue, Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio had indicated that the most urgent motion was to align the time of resumption with what obtains in the House of Representatives.

He suggested that the motion should be separated and that the first one to be taken should be the time of sitting.

However, the Immediate past President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan while making his contribution, disagreed with Akpabio.

Lawan said, “I don’t know the basis at the moment for which we want to shift our sitting from 10 to 11 and end at 3pm, for me, we have more energy, our eyes are clearer in the morning and one hour into the day, probably we would have lost some energy.

“If we work between 10am and 2pm, if we sit in the plenary between 10am and 2pm, our committees would do better. If we don’t have any reason except we have to synchronize with the House, I think we need to look at it again.

“However, if we have other reasons that we must change, that is fine. If it is just to synchronize with the House may have their reasons for sitting at 11 and close by 3pm but here I don’t see the reasons.”

Responding Akpabio threw it back at Lawan that the idea of the Senate sitting by 11am started during his time as the President of the 9th Senate especially during the period of the COVID-19.

But Lawan reacted by saying it was as a result of the COVID-19 that the time was tinkered from 10am to 11am adding that they had to cut down on the number of days for plenary.

Akpabio then reacted that, “Our rules said 10am but we came to meet the tradition of 11am, the only thing that we changed was to add additional day because during that COVID-19 period we were sitting twice a week.

“I said no, since there is no more COVID we should sit three times in a week and we maintained what we saw, 11am but now we are.saying that we have not been able to justify the 11am sitting unless it reflects same on our rules.

“The Idea of 3pm in my view is not correct because it does not mean you must sit till 3pm, it simply means if we don’t have musc to do we can close at 1pm or 2pm to enable our colleagues to go for committee sittings and other matters related to the proceedings of the Senate such as clearances and all that.

“The only aspect of it is to legalise it so that people don’t have the impression that we are sitting at 11am while the rule says 10am”.

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Sad! Lagos Marwa operator takes own life over tricycle seizure

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A yet-to-be-identified tricyclist has died by suicide after efforts to reportedly retrieve his seized tricycle from some government agents proved abortive in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the tricyclist was heading to a destination in the state when the officials intercepted him for an offence.

Following the interception, the officers reportedly seized the tricycle and took it to their office located close to the Jubilee Estate, along the Ikorodu-Sagamu Expressway.

Efforts by the tricycle operator to retrieve his tricycle from the officials were said to have been futile.

Our correspondent learnt that perplexed by the development, the tricyclist, in an apparent effort to protest the seizure of his tricycle, went to a tree at the front of the fence of the compound where the offices of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, and Vehicle Inspection Officers are situated, close to the Jubilee Estate, along the Ikorodu-Sagamu Expressway, and hanged himself.

An eyewitness, Prince Excel of Aiyekooto Reporters, in a video posted on WhatsApp, described the case as unfortunate, noting that the man killed himself on Thursday morning.

He said, “This is early Thursday morning, July 11, 2024, an unfortunate situation just happened right now. A man just committed suicide on the major road at the Jubilee Estate infront of the LASTMA gate on the Sagamu Road. This is quite unfortunate.”

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