Late Audu’s memory re-echoes through foundation
The story of the creation of Kogi State about 25 years ago cannot be completely told by merely glossing over the achievements of its first and second executive Governor in the person of late Prince Abubakar Audu.
Late Audu who was the All Progressive Congress Candidate in the November 2015 Governorship election in Kogi State still occupy a unique position among leaders that have ruled Kogi State going by his landmark legacy projects that still dot the landscape of the confluence State.
Even the incumbent Governor who replaced Audu after his demise on November 22, 2015 while he was coasting to victory Alhaji Yahaya Bello attested to that fact while conferring on him a posthumous award at the celebration of the 25years anniversary of the creation of the State.
According to the Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr. Edward Onoja, Bello gave the highest leadership award to late Audu based on a unanimous decision that no past Kogi governor had impacted the state in the area of development in the last 25 years as Audu did.
He said besides the award, Bello had earlier named the Kogi State University, the highest tertiary institution in the state, after the late Audu, to honor and immortalize his memory.
He said the award was very appropriate as it serves the political family of the late Audu, It serves the memory of the late Audu, it serves the good people of Kogi East and Kogi people in general.
Even when recently during the one year anniversary of his death in his country home Ogbonicha the first son Mohammed Abubakar Audu decided to galvanize support for a platform to sustain his father’s legacies, ideals and passion for the development of the state, his associates and other supporters eulogized the late politician for his strides while steering the ship of the State.
Audu rose to power on the platform of National Republican Convention (NRC) during his first coming in 1991 and later on the platform of the All Peoples Party (APP) in 1999.
The platform which is “Prince Abubakar Audu Foundation” was launched to mark the one year remembrance of the demise of the political giant who died on 22nd November, 2015.
The late Audu was at the verge of being declared winner of the election when the news of his demise broke out but the election was later declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) triggering off chains of controversies after he was replaced by the first runner up in the primary election Alhaji Yahaya Bello (now the Governor)
Speaking at the event, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso commended late Prince Abubakar Audu for bringing development to the state while in office and called for sustenance of the late Audu’s legacies especially the kogi State University, Anyigba.
Kwankwaso described the late Abubakar Audu as a passionate and unrepentant believer in qualitative education.
According to him,”I once had the priviledge of asking him what he thinks his best legacy was and he answered,the establishment of Kogi State University.
Kwankwaso said there was no doubt that if Audu had been governor today, things would have been different in Kogi state.
“Even though, we all loved to have prince Abubakar Audu as our Governor in Kogi, God in His wisdom have decided otherwise and we cannot question His decision.”
A former minister of police affairs Humphrey Abah described the foundation as timely adding that it is a platform that can be used to sustain Audu’s vision and also to realise his dream of a Kogi State that would be leading other States in terms of development and leadership ideals.
He described him as a man of taste whose projects in the 90s are still competing with modern ones in terms of relevance and candour.
Abah indicated that Audu’s projects are still the only developmental landmarks the State can still showcase up till the present time.
He called for synergy among all his friends and well wishers as well as colleague politicians to ensure that the essence of establishing the foundation is realised for the benefit of all.
Muhammed used the opportunity to take the bull by the horn to carve a niche for himself over the immortalization of his father by inaugurating the foundation which he believes would be a veritable tool for actualizing his father’s dream for the State he (Audu) used to refer to as his baby while he was alive.
Though Muhammed would not want to dabble in to politics at this point, he however believe service to humanity could still be achieved through the foundation to reach out to the less privileged in terms of scholarship and provision of healthcare delivery and portable water.
The young Audu described his late father as a selfless leader who lived all his life working for the overall development of his people until he passed on last year.
He said: “While he (Audu) was alive, the reason he contested for the governorship of Kogi State was for him to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
“Unfortunately, on the day he won the election, he passed on. From when I was little, I noticed that my late father has always strived for the wellbeing of his people and supporters.
“He has tried so much to uplift the status of people of the state. During his two terms in office as governor, he had developed the state in so many ways.
“His dream and aspiration was to improve on the quality of lives of the people. Being his dream and his aspiration before he died, we his children will sustain that legacy.
“We want Prince Abubakar Audu to live on even in death. Remember, the foundation is for the development and upliftment of the standard of living of the ordinary man in Kogi State”.
He said the foundation will intervene in the provision of water, healthcare services, scholarship for indigent students in tertiary institutions, empowerment of women and youth amongst others.
“Though my father’s shoes are very big for me but I am going to try my best banking on his supporters that cuts across every nooks and crannies of the State.
“I am going to make myself available for them just like he did when he was alive, he was available for them and in touch with them and he tried as much as possible to meet their needs which gave them hope that took them out of the squalor that they were in so I am going to try my best with or without the Government and that is the essence of setting up the foundation.”
On the Significance of the foundation he said it is meant to go the extra mile to bring succor to the people in different areas such as education, healthcare and empowerment.
“There are children who are very brilliant at school but unfortunately they don’t have the wherewithal to pursue their educational endeavours so the foundation would source for funds to put these kind of people on scholarship.
“The foundation would also take its activities further to look out for people who don’t have portable water to drink, it will sink boreholes for such communities. It would also try as much as possible to reach out to people who don’t have what it takes to treat ordinary diseases like malaria, typhoid, river blindness and so on.”
“We will be working hard to ensure these kind of people have access to healthcare. These were the type of things he was doing for the people while he was Governor and he actually worked hard to still use his new mandate to expand his delivery of the dividends of democracy before he answered the call of nature at the verge of victory.”
He said the foundation will keep that vision alive to the glory of his memory.
Muhammed indicated that what would be done would be a collective effort as they would partner with the universities and negotiate with them to see that they are able to get some rebate for the foundation from the universities.
He added that in turn the foundation would source for money to meet the obligations of the students and also try to see that the organizations that support them in providing funding would have space to absorbed the beneficiaries when they are through with their education.
According to him, the foundation will dwell on primary, secondary to university adding that those going for their masters might have to fend for themselves at that level.
“We are going to be very active in assisting them to achieve that and it will be limited to the less privileged in the society absolutely.
“The foundation will cover the entire State, because he was a leader of the entire State, we are going to be visible in every local Government of the State. So we are going to be going round the state.
“We are actually starting some programs on television and the social media where people would be able to tell us what their needs are and we would be able to address them in areas that we would be providing these things.”
Obviously he said they cannot provide all at the go but it would be stage by stage.
“We are going to start with drilling boreholes for two local Governments at the west and two at the central.
The foundation is not limited in scope to students as it has special program for the widows, in the women and youth empowerment and vocational skills.
He said instead of giving them fish they would be taught how to catch the fish themselves.
There will be skill acquisition centers where people come to learn how to sow, people will learn how to process foods and other things like that.
“We would be able to give them start off capital like N100, 000 and something like that for them to establish themselves in those areas that we are teaching them.
“I will keep the structure going, by being of service to the people, we would try to provide the needs of the people with or without the Government.”
To make it easier for the beneficiaries they have created social media channels they can link and communicate with the foundation.
“We are equally going to start radio and TV programs in which they can have phone in services because that is the major way we plan to collect data on things we need to do.
“When people have access to these channels of communication their problems would be brought to the foundation and we in turn would be able to strategize on how to tackle these problems for these people.”
On his experience he said he has been in to estate business, within and outside Nigeria, hospitality business within and outside Nigeria, financial services within and outside the country. Maison business like infrastructure developments, from very small to very large businesses so far in this period of 25years.
His associates according to him are family members, because they all share the same vision to immortalize the late icon and all his well wishers within the State and outside as well as people he encountered in his lifetime when he was in the bank, when he was commissioner and later Governor.
“So we will try to involve them as much as possible. We have his colleagues who were former Governors and those who are serving Governors and so on. All these people would be incorporated in trying to achieve these objectives.”
He said he would champion a course as an Igala youth to raise the consciousness of the people not to rely only on politics but be able to develop business opportunities around their locality.
The young Audu said he would bring them together to educate them on how to make informed choices so as not to vote people blindly.
Senator Opeyemi lampoons Buhari over refusal to sack service chiefs
Senator Opeyemi lampoons Buhari over refusal to sack service chief
The senator representing Ekiti Central Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele has asked President Muhamadu Buhari to respect the resolution of the National Assembly that he should sack the service chiefs without further delay.
The senator while contributing to the motion on the beheading of 67 farmers in Borno, by Bokoharam insurgents: Need for Urgent, Decisive action pleaded with the service chiefs to voluntarily resign based on national interest.
He said they can then wait to be appointed as Presidential Advisory Panel on security.
“For me the number one resolution that I will like to reemphasize on this floor of the senate is for the President to allow the service chiefs to go, they have done their best, they have worked so hard, the best anybody can give is his best.
“You cannot give what you do not have and if the President believes so much in these service chiefs he should remove them as service chiefs and constitute them as Presidential advisory committee on security matters and they will still be there to be advising him and let the younger ones take over as service chiefs to move the country forward.
He said, “It is yet another moment when we run the risk of Nigerians looking at us as a group of elected representatives who sit in the red chamber to shed crocodile tears but we know that is not what we do.
“We are victims of certain circumstances that make it look like that. There is probably nothing any of us could say here today that has not been said, the only thing that is new is that more people have been killed in most barbaric manner. Yet we have to say something as representatives of the people.
“We are unhappy about what happened in Borno, Katsina and Niger States and some Northern parts of the country. Even in the South South, south East and south west where people are being kidnapped, there are some forms of insurgency.
“In Ondo State just last week a paramount ruler was killed. My own contribution is this, let us stand on existing resolution, in addition of course to the prayers that the mover of this motion made clear to us.
“Fighting Bokoharam cannot be something we do by habit, it cannot become part of our national life, it cannot become what we budget for year in year out as a routine.”
He lamented that the war was becoming a routine adding that there is a need to bring it to an end as lives are being lost on a daily bases.
He also made refrence to a constitutional provision in section 14(1)b which defines the primary purpose of Government to be the welfare and security of the people.
“We all agree that this is not being fulfilled and where a Government is deemed to be in breach of section 14(1)b the Government is also automatically seen to have breached section 32 and 34 of our constitution which provides for the right to life, right for personal liberty, and life against torture.
“These are things that goes together once you fail to fulfill the provision of section 14(1)b so what are we talking about let these service chiefs go.
“If the President would not remove them we call on these service chiefs in the interests of the public to resign and look forward to being appointed as members of Presidential committee on security. So this is one contribution that I really want to make.”
He also made reference to the budget of over N800b set aside for all of the armed forces, whereby more than 60% of it is specifically tailored towards prosecuting the war against insurgency.
“I believe before this budget is passed it is either the president come to address this parliament on the way forward on how to address the security matter or we hold a joint session and do a public hearing and allow Nigerians an opportunity to also speak to this issue.
“I dont think it should be a question of us sitting down to pass this budget it should not be business unusual.”
Buhari tells mothers to admonish their wards on need for dialogue over #EndSARS
Buhari tells mothers to admonish their wards on need for dialogue over #EndSARS
Apparently piqued by the growing youth restiveness which engulfed parts of the country in the last few weeks,
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged women to engage with children and youths on the need for dialogue that would yield better understanding.
The President spoke on Thursday while hosting the representatives of women at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said Nigeria remained committed to ending violence against women and girls in Nigeria and the rest of the world.
According to him, although the country had not achieved the 35 percent affirmation on the participation of women in governance, the current administration intended to exceed the benchmark.
“I want to assure you that this administration remains resolute to not only meet the 35 percent National Gender Policy, but to exceed it across key decision-making role in government,” he said.
He restated his commitment to end child marriage and boost girl child education in all parts of the country.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, earlier appealed to President Buhari to ensure that the issues responsible for the ongoing strike by university lecturers were resolved amicably, to enable universities reopen and students go back to school
Labour disowns FG over petrol price hike, as it asks for reversal to N160
Labour disowns FG over petrol price hike, as it asks for reversal to N160
**decries FG insincerity
The organised Labour has expressed disappointment with the Federal Government over its high level of insincerity with the union.
The general secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Emma Ugboajah indicated that labour movement’s agreement with Government was for local refineries to be be rehabilitated to boost local refining.
He said almost eight weeks after the negotiations, the Federal Government has not shown any commitment to all the items that were agreed upon.
He stressed that out of 161 buses that are powered gas, none of them has been supplied to the movement.
“We never supported deregulation that is anchored on price increment. Our minimum request is that the Federal Government must reverse back to N160,” Ugboajah said. “We agreed that the refineries should be out to work. We have not seen any work in that regard.
Also, we have seen the NNPC maintaining a stranglehold on importation.”
He said the are demanding for a reversal of recent hike in the petrol price adding that they did not endorse deregulation that is anchored on price.
He said the strikers option is still opened for them to explore
The President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Quadri Olaleye, said things are going out of hand if urgent steps are not taken.
His words: “We cannot pretend that things are not going right. It seems government wants to create crisis when none exists. We have been coming here to ensure the hardship on the people is reduced.
He accused the Government of sponsoring miscreants who torment them with insults through text messages on daily bases making almost impossible for them to move freely
“Academic staffers have been on strike. We set up a committee for more than two months and nothing has happened. A month to the end of the year, nothing has been done. If today’s meeting does not solve the problem, we will mobilise outselve and stage a walk out of the meeting. I hope today’s meeting will be productive. ”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the meeting was supposed to have been held in October but for #EndSars protests that rocked the nation last month.
Ngige said the Federal Government is ready to begin rolling out the palliatives as from today, Monday.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha said government is already working on some of the agreed area such as reduction of tariff on the importation of cars from 35% to 10% and other steps that the Federal Government has taken.
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