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Wike’s agenda is to make Rivers safe, healthy–Nsirim

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Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, has said the new year agenda as pronounced by Governor Nyesom Wike, is designed primarily to make the state safe and healthy for the citizenry.

He gave the assurance at a meeting with chief executives of Rivers State government-owned media organisations in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

The commissioner, therefore, enjoined media organisations to drive a conversation that would enlist the support of those living and doing business in Rivers towards the achievement of the desired objectives of the state government.

“We must use our media houses to make our people not to politicise what the governor is doing in this direction.

“Governor Wike means well for Rivers people. It is only a man who has the interest of the people he is governing at heart that will come up with that kind of new year agenda,” he said.

He said the media have the responsibility to handle the government’s policies and decisions in this regard in a way that everybody living and doing business in the state will feel the pulse of its positive impact.

“Of course, we are all aware that illegal bunkering and artisanal refineries contribute highly to the environmental challenges we are facing with soot in the state.

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“And from the governor’s new year broadcast, you find that there is a strategic move to end illegal bunkering and artisanal refineries.

“This meeting is to draw our attention to the fact that we need to play a very prominent role in advocacy, enlightenment and sensitisation of the citizenry to buy into this positive agenda of government.

“We owe our state that obligation to ensure the state is safe and healthy so that people whose stock in trade is to always see no good in policies of government are shunned.

“The people must shun all these naysayers. The people must shun those who are playing to the gallery, those who are looking for cheap popularity and publicity,” he said.

Nsirim charged the media to drive a conversation through their different programmes in a way that all well-meaning citizens will understand that everything Governor Wike has said and does are in the overall interest of the people.

Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the General Manager, Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation, Samson Fiberesima, promised to carry out the directive by putting the issues on the front burner.

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Obasanjo rules out return to PDP, meets party leaders

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Fresh moves to drag former President Olusegun Obasanjo back to the Peoples Democratic Party failed on Saturday as he declared that no amount of persuasion from Nigerians, especially from the founding fathers of the party would bring him back into partisan politics.

Obasanjo held a closed-door meeting with the national leadership of the PDP led by the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, at his Abeokuta, Ogun State residence.

Emerging from the meeting, Obasanjo insisted that he had left party politics for good, but he would continue to play the role of an elder statesman for the development of Nigeria.

The team arrived at the Penthouse residence of Obasanjo, located within his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, around 12.25pm and went into the meeting with the former President, which lasted over two hours.

In the team were the PDP vice-presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Peter Obi; and former governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Donald Duke (Cross River).

The Deputy National Chairman of the PDP (South), Taofeek Arapaja, and other party officials were part of the entourage.

The former President quit partisan politics when some leaders of the PDP, led by the Chairman of his ward in Abeokuta North, Surajudeen Oladunjoye, visited him at his Presidential Hilltop mansion in 2015.

Speaking on Saturday, Obasanjo admitted that the PDP played an important role in his life, but he had since ceased being a member of the party the day he directed his ward chairman to tear his membership card.

The former President said, “I have been with the party right from inception. Whatever I do in my own life, because I became President on the platform of the PDP, the PDP will continue to be part of the history of my life, but having said that, the day that my ward decided to tear my PDP card was the day I ceased to be a member of the PDP and that day I vowed that I would not be a member of any political party again, but I will remain a statesman in Nigeria, in West Africa, in Africa and indeed in the world.

“I retired 14 years ago and I will remain retired by the grace of God.

“Bear in mind and I want to emphasise that, I’m no longer in partisan politics and there is nothing that will bring me back to partisan politics, but I will always be interested in what is good for Nigeria and anybody who wants to have my advice, I will distinctively give it in the best interest of Nigeria and in the best interest of Africa.

“But if I retired from partisan politics, if politics is welfare of the people, I must not retire from the welfare and well-being of people, whether in my own community, in my own state, in my own country, anywhere in Africa or indeed anywhere in the world, and that is why I have the type of responsibility that I now have in the Horn of Africa, which is not an easy responsibility, but it has to be done; but I will say that your (Ayu) own responsibility is not an easy one either. It has to be done.”

While charging Ayu, Obasanjo said the responsibility of the PDP and that of Nigeria rested on his shoulders and he would continue to make himself available for counsel.

He said, “Iyorchia, you have the PDP load with Nigeria load and it is only God that can help you to carry this load, which of course, I believe if God gives you a responsibility, he will also give you the wherewithal to be able to carry that responsibility.”

In his remarks, Ayu described Obasanjo’s administration as the golden era of the PDP and Nigeria, lamenting that the country ‘‘has now fallen short of leadership that Nigeria deserves.”

Speaking on Obasanjo’s retirement from politics, Ayu said, “Even though you (Obasanjo) retired from partisan politics, partisan politics will never retire from your blood, because you want the right thing done; and since you want the right thing done, for life you will remain an emeritus member of the PDP.

“You cannot build a house and leave it to collapse. You throw a challenge to me that if I have been there from the beginning, why have I not done anything, maybe I was doing something, but it was not good enough. We will continue to contribute our own quota; we will continue to come to you; so, I want to plead with you, please don’t be tired of us as we come knocking asking for your advice, asking for  wisdom, because the words of elders are words of wisdom and there is no leader here in this country (bigger) than President Olusegun Obasanjo.”

On the readiness of the PDP for the 2023 elections, Ayu said, “We want to assure you that the new leadership of the PDP with the rest of the PDP family will do everything possible from ward to ward, local government by local government across the country to restore the lost glory of Nigeria in which your era was a shining example.

“Anytime we talk about the history of the PDP, there is no way we talk about the PDP without mentioning between 1999 and 2007.”

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New Zealand PM Ardern cancels her wedding as Omicron rages

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Agency Reports

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has cancelled her wedding as the nation imposes new restrictions to slow the community spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, she told reporters.

New Zealand will impose mask rules and limit gathering from midnight on Sunday after a cluster of nine cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant showed community transmission from the North to South islands after a wedding.

A family travelled by plane from the North Island capital of Auckland to a wedding in the South Island attended by 100 people.

The family and a flight attendant tested positive.

New Zealand would move to a red setting under its COVID-19 protection framework, with more mask wearing, and a cap of 100 customers indoors in hospitality settings and events such as weddings, or 25 people if venues are not using vaccine passes, Arden said.

“My wedding will not be going ahead,” she told reporters, adding she was sorry for anyone caught up in a similar scenario.

Asked by reporters how she felt about her wedding cancellation, Ardern replied: “Such is life.”

She added, “I am no different to, dare I say it, thousands of other New Zealanders who have had much more devastating impacts felt by the pandemic, the most gutting of which is the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when they are gravely ill.

“That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience.”

Jacinda’s wedding to Clarke Gayford this summer was rumoured to be fast approaching. Some reports said it was fixed for this month.

But no specific date has actually been announced.

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Kalu meets Abdulsalami Abubakar

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Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Saturday night paid a private visit to former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

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Kalu who made the announcement through his verified Facebook page, revealed that his discussion with the former president centered on national issues and peaceful coexistence of Nigeria.
He wrote: “ Tonight, I paid a visit to the former President of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to greet him for the new year. We also discussed major national affairs and peaceful coexistence of our nation.”

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