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EKIFEST’s tool for cultural re-armament, youth development – Alawe, Commission for Youths

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The Chairman Ekiti State Council for Traditional Rulers, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi has described the resuscitation of Ekiti State Festival for Arts and Culture, EKIFEST by Governor  Kayode Fayemi as an act of saving this generation from the contempt of generation next, while the State Commissioner for Youths and Sport Development, Mr Michael Awopetu said that EKIFEST would be a platform for cultural re-armament and tool for socio-behavioural re-engineering of our youths

Oba Alabi and Commissioner Awopetu made these observations in a separate forum while hosting some members of EKIFEST 2019 Steering Committee led by Professor Rasaki Ojo – Bakare, Festival Consultant, which includes Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre , Director – General , Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Banji Adelusi , Director of Culture and Prince Caleb Osasona , Chairman, Network for Ekiti State Creative Artists, NECA, and others in their respective base .

Oba Alabi, a diplomat by career who had served Nigeria in Jamaica and the Caribbean before mounting the stool promised to support the Committee for a successful festival said that the desire to host EKIFEST by the state government is a genuine desire by the government to stoke the economics of the state via cultural – tourism initiative.

He pointed out that the cultural festival celebration is a multi-dollar revenue spinner which countries like Jamaica, The Gambia, India, Brazil, have explored to boost their economies and which Ekiti – State government must tap early and enhance spiritedly

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Oba Alabi reaffirmed his commitment to the success of EKIFEST 2019 adding that obas in Ekiti would support the event with everything legally possible as “ apart from showcasing our heritage, it will also boost the economy of the state “

He applauded the efforts of the Director-General of the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre at branding the arts and culture sector in Ekiti – State.

Oba Alabi said that “the selection of Prof Ojo Bakare as the Festival Consultant is apt, prim, fit and appropriate. I remember that this Prof from Ekiti State was the one hired by the Federal Government of Nigeria to train Nigerians in Diaspora Jamaica on cultural etiquette and values when I was still in the diplomatic service in Jamaica .”

“I have complete confidence and trust that the duo of Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre and Professor Rasaki Ojo Bakare, who I have worked within Jamaica will package the best EKIFEST for the State “

Reinforcing Oba Alabi’s view, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Mr Awopetu disclosed that EKIFEST 2019 would be used as a platform to forge cultural altruism among the youths

He revealed “Our youths are caught in the web of cultural confusion due to globalisation, religious indoctrination and colonial infiltrations. An event such as EKIFEST is a potent platform where cultural rejuvenation and revival can be endeared to our youth. It is on this note that my Ministry will not only support this festival but will go many miles at mobilizing the youths to actively participate in all the programmes “

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King Femi Ariyo, one of the music icons in Ekiti who was surprised by the visit of the Committee members to his house in Ilawe said that “Governor Fayemi is a surprise. I am short of words but what I can tell you people is that Governor Fayemi is God sent, he is doing what nobody expects in the arts and culture sector. Imagine his Committee led by the first Professor of Dance in Africa and Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre and others counting me worthy of a visit. Look, EKIFEST is a success “

In summary, Prof Ojo Bakare craved for support for EKIFEST and revealed that EKIFEST 2019 is a cultural migration from dance, entertainment and fun to empowerment and economic development which all Ekiti must witness and participate

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Health

COVID-19:Oyo trains health workers on decontamination response 

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The Seyi Makinde -led government in Oyo state on Tuesday trained no fewer than 77 environmental health officers on containment and decontamination response initiative to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

Also, each team had been provided with a revolving N500,000 seed grant for the purchase of chemicals and logistics.

The state’s Team Lead of the Containment and Decontamination Project, Prof. Olanike Adeyemo who disclosed this during  a training programme on COVID-19 Decontamination Response Network held at the University of Ibadan ahead of the commencement of the initiative, also noted that the initiative would focus on the next phase in the containment of COVID-19 in the state.

The training had in attendance representatives of environmental health officers in all the 33 local government areas which had been divided into seven zones.

According to Prof. Adeyemo, “COVID-19 has spread beyond Ibadan and what that means is that the government has to be responsive to do what is right.

“You can imagine if there is an incidence in Ibarapa and another one in Iseyin, it would be very difficult for the state containment team to cover all.

“So what the government is doing is to decentralise the containment efforts.

“Containment is not all about decontamination, it is a lot of things, so this is embedded in the local government system. Every local government has an environmental health unit.

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“These are the people that are being trained because they are on the staff of the Oyo State government already to be able to take up this task as frontliners,” she added.

Speaking further, she stressed the need for self policing, disclosing that compliance  form had been made available to report violators of COVID-19 guidelines.

Reacting to the high rate of COVID-19 cases in the state, Adeyemo explained that there was the need to work more on compliance to reduce infections.

‘If you look at the mortality rate and you look at Oyo State and compare it with Edo state that is behind us and you compare the mortality, definitely they are under reporting in those states.

“I think Oyo State is doing more testing and we are reporting a closer to accurate number and that is why we are high there.

“But when you compare the mortality rate for people behind Oyo State on the NCDC list of confirmed cases then you will see that their mortality is higher.

“And it is just science, the more the cases the more likely people will die. So it’s easy to extrapolate that those states that have very high mortality but low numbers of confirmed cases are under reporting”, she continued.

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Also commenting, Mr Mojeed Mogbonjubola, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, informed that the decentralisation of containment was the initiative of the administration.

“It is quite unfortunate that the pandemic is spreading really wide and we couldn’t contain it in Ibadan.

“What His Excellency is trying to do in conjunction with the University of Ibadan is to extend the committee’s team to other regions of the state.

“This is about a call to service. Like I always advise people it is a privilege for everybody to be part of this and it is something that will stay with us for a very long time.

“Since there is no vaccine to control the virus the only way is to contain it and decontaminate affected zones,” he  submitted.

Remarking, the Personal Assistant to  Governor Makinde,  Alhaji Akeem Azeez urged residents to own their actions as well as their safety since the virus had spread all over the state.

Mr Tunde Adeyanju, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, averred that there was the need for a very good response in view of the rate of infections in the state.

A technical expert in the team, Prof. Victoria Adetunji,  however urged participants to adhere strictly to precautions in handling the decontamination equipment while engaging in evaluation of their activities.

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Politics

40 Days After: We ‘re yet to come to terms with  Ajimobi’s death – Oyo APC Women 

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As the 40-day Fidau prayer of the late former governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, holds tomorrow in his private residence, the leadership of the Women’s wing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has disclosed that most members of the party as well as admirers of the deceased were yet to come to terms with the reality of his death for many good reasons.

Ajimobi died at a Lagos hospital on June 25, 2020 and he was buried in his Oluyole residence on June 28, 2020 in accordance with Islamic traditions. He was, until his death, the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the APC having left office as the Executive Governor of the Pacesetter state on May 29, 2019 after serving for an unprecedented two terms of uninterrupted eight years.

Speaking with a cross section of journalist at the Party’s Secretariat in Oke-Ado, Ibadan on Wednesday, the APC’s State Woman Leader, Mrs Mabel Williams, described the late former governor as a quintessential leader, humanitarian par excellence and wonderful being whose memory would linger forever in the hearts of many people especially family members, political associates, admirers and good people of the state.

Her words; “it is still very difficult for many of us to accept the reality of the demise of our leader who spent the greater part of his 70 years on earth to serve his people, fatherland and humanity as a whole. Sen. Ajimobi was the best thing to have happened to us as women in the politics of the state because he was never tired of listening to us.

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“Most monumental achievements he recorded as the governor of the state for eight years are there till tomorrow for the whole world to see and appreciate.

“As members of his immediate family put up arrangements for another Fidau prayers to mark the 40th day of his transition to glory, the teeming women population of Oyo APC are united in supplications for God to repose his soul and grant him eternal rest. We also use this avenue to sympathise with our mother, the immediate past First Lady of the state, Chief (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi and the entire Ajimobi family.

“We are grateful to God for giving Her Excellency, Mrs Ajimobi, the courage to cope with the challenges associated with the untimely death of her husband and we solemnly pray God Almighty to bless her with good health, peace of mind and longevity to enable her continue to paddle the canoe of family, societal and political service which her beloved husband has parted with.” Williams said.

Other members of the Wing who toed the line of Mrs Williams to extol the virtue of late former governor are; Mrs Toyin Ajibade (Deputy State Woman Leader), Mrs. Taiwo Motélèolá (Oyo South Senatorial district’s Woman Leader), Alhaja ‘Juwon Adewuyi (Oyo Central Senatorial district’s Woman Leader) and Mrs Juliana Ajuwon (Oyo North Senatorial district’s Woman Leader.

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News

Makinde vows to retrieve billions of Oyo’s resources ‘stolen’ in 96 months before his tenure

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Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde on Wednesday vowed that his administration was ready to retreive the billions of the state’s funds allegedly looted by officials of the previous administration.

Governor Makinde, who made the vow while kickstarting the construction of the 21km Ajia-Airport-New Ife Expressway road, in Ajia town, maintained that his administration was ready to put measures in place to retrieve all looted funds to develop the state’s infrastructure.

The 21-kilometre Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road, with spur to Amuloko, was awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a total cost of Eight Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty Million, Nine Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six Naira, Forty-One Kobo (N8,520,919,776.41).

According to the governor, unlike the previous government, which, he said, preoccupied itself with how to corner state’s funds on a daily basis, his administration would drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in the state within the shortest possible time.

He added that it’s only in doing so that the state can be positioned on the path of economic growth.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the 21-kilometre road construction being launched was a product of the administration’s strategic way of reducing the state’s infrastructure deficit, which is known as the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA).

He said: “Our administration means business. We will drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in Oyo State in the shortest possible time. And this is how economies work: investors will only go where they can be assured of profits. If we do not develop basic infrastructure like roads, it will affect the cost of production which, in turn, means less profit for investors. So, we cannot be seriously discussing attracting investments into Oyo State when a majority of roads and other infrastructure are in a state of disrepair.

“In order to achieve this, we must strategize on how to increase our spending on infrastructure, because what we collect from Abuja every month from federal allocation is not even enough to pay the salaries. So, the new strategies on how to increase our spending on infrastructure is what we are doing here in Oyo State.”

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While explaining the reason the Airport-Ajia road costs more per kilometre than the 65 kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road, the governor said there are more hydraulic structures on the Airport-Ajia road than the Moniya-Iseyin road, and that a lot of expansion and rehabilitation will be done on those bridges.

The governor also used the opportunity to explain the APFA approach through which he said many projects will be executed in the state, stating that it is the administration’s way of funding some infrastructural projects in the state, by having the contractors fund the projects with their own money while the state repays them over a period of time.

“What this entails is that the contractor carries the projects’ risk. At the same time, we get quality delivery and quick completion of projects. They will be bearing the risk of getting this project done in a timely manner, while we pay them over the next twenty-nine months. That comes down to roughly N300 million a month. So, while they will complete the project in one year, we have the option to repay in over twice the time.

“We will continue to actualise capital projects through budgetary allocations and have the additional option of carrying out other infrastructural projects outside of the budget, using the Alternative Project Funding Approach. So, you can look forward to other projects under this approach.

“Let me state that even when we are forced to look outside Oyo State for persons to execute the projects under APFA, we still put the interests of our people first. For example, Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd has agreed that the construction labour will come from Oyo State, and we are holding them to that agreement.”

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He added: “So, for projects under the APFA, because of the nature of spending on the projects, we decided that it would be best to open up the bidding process a little more so that contractors outside of Oyo State can bid as well.

“We reached this decision because we are looking for private entities who have the wherewithal to complete the projects on schedule, while at the same time, passing the tests of quality assurance.

“When we approved this project at EXCO, social media became agog with all sorts of insinuations. Those ones that you rejected during the last general elections were saying Seyi Makinde promised that he would give contracts to those within Oyo state. Indeed, I made that promise that Oyo state money must remain in Oyo state.

“Some have said the company we awarded the contract to is from Asaba in Niger Delta and that we want to take Oyo State’s money to my wife’s state. First, let me put it on record that my wife is not from Delta but from Rivers State. “Second, the representative of the company we awarded the project to, Engr Abel Adeleke, has spoken here today. He is from Osun State and they are using their money to start this project.

“We also opened the opportunity for all. Even if they had approached us and brought the money they stole while in government to fund this project, we will allow them. We all know there are certain construction works that their expertise may not be with a local contractor. If we want to construct a bridge and it is awarded to Julius Berger, they will also say Julius Berger is not from Oyo State. So, that is to tell you they have nothing to do. One thing I know is, if we build this road the way we are supposed to, on time and on budget, what concerns the people going to the airport, whether Julius Berger constructed the road or whether the contractor is from Osun or Oyo? Our major concern is that the road is constructed.”

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Addressing the criticisms trailing the announcement of N100 billion bond issuance by the state, the governor stated: “I heard somebody criticizing us on radio concerning the N100 billion bond and was of the opinion that this administration wants to put the state in debt. I think our people need to start telling them that Governor Makinde is not like that. For the period of eight years they spent in office, they were only preoccupied with how to corner N1 Billion monthly into their private pockets everyday they went to the office.

“They spent 96 months in office, that means they have Oyo States N96 billion with them. We will retrieve every fund that belongs to Oyo people for the purpose of infrastructure development.

“So, tell them that the EFCC of Oyo State is coming for them. I want to assure you that we will retrieve the stolen money of the state from them and use the funds to build infrastructure like this.”

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