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Thousands participate in Walk for Osun

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Thousands of Osun devotees, indigenes, groups, associations and ethnic nationalities at the weekend trooped out in their large numbers to participate in the Walk for Osun, a carnival procession of stakeholders in Osogbo to herald the 2019 Osun Osogbo festival. 

Leading the walk from Better life –  Ahmadiya – Oja Oba junction –  Obate – Sabo junction – Balogun Agoro – Isale Aro – Jolayemi – Isale Osun to the Ataoja palace, the Governor of Osun State, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola said that the state government would provide adequate security during the celebration of the festival, assuring that the government will continue to continue to support and enhance the quality of Osun Osogbo and bring in more people to participate.

Mr. Oyetola disclosed that record shown that the festival attracts different people from near, far and wide and in the diaspora, noting that the government has brought new tourist product, Karaole Odua which will be used to bring Yorubas in the diaspora to Yorubaland so that they will come home to know their source.

The governor, who was represented by the Supervisor in charge of the Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism Ministry, Dr Obawale Adebisi, said, “our effort is to plan strategically to bring them (Yorubas) home on annual basis between 10-21th of August during the celebration of Osun Osogbo Festival. It will enhance the quality of Osun Osogbo and bring in more people to partake. “

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The governor reiterated that he would drive the state economy with tourism and his administration would continue to take active part in the annual Osun Osogbo festival and other festivals, stating, “what we are doing today is to ensure that we give necessary support to the community and we also get maximum support in return for government programmes and policies.

“The festival every year brings millions of Naira to Nigeria. Though not directly to the purse of the state government but we are planning on capturing more data and register participants so that it can bring in revenue to the purse of the state government,” Governor Oyetola said.

In his address while receiving the participants of the walk at the palace, the Ataoja of Osogboland, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji, said that the insinuation that Osun deity had been sold was fallacy, explaining that the Walk for Osun was to create awareness for the people that the Osun Osogbo festival 2019 was around the corner.

According to Oba Oyetunji, “usually, the celebration of Osun Osogbo festival commences by cleaning of the town calledIwopopo whereby citizens of Osogbo and tourists gather to do the task. But this one is a special occasion, special in the sense that it is awareness to the public that the alleged stolen spirit of Osun is fallacy. Osun deity remains there and we started this year’s own with Walk For Osun, where everyone regardless of the ethnic group came to me and we moved round Osogbo to tell people that Osun remains where she is.

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“Osun Osogbo is a very significant festival. There is the involvement of UNESCO, which has made the site a World Heritage one. This places Osun Osogbo on the world map as a tourism destination and the federal, state and local government have shown enthusiasm in promoting Osun Festival. The state government is nearer to me and the celebration of the festival is not done only done by the Ataoja, its custodian, and its people but in collaboration with the Osun State Government and they have been upright,” he added.

Speaking, the Managing Consultant of the firm managing and marketing the festival, Mr. Toye Arulogun commended the Federal and the State governments for their relentless efforts of improving on the security situation in the country, pointing out that the insecurity was not terribly bad as being painted.

Arulogun said that the Walk for Osun was an element of contemporary that was introduced the celebration of the festival in 2019, explaining, “today, thousands of people walked with us to herald the celebration of 2019 Osun Osogbo festival. The walk signifies peace and unity between different ethnic groups. What we are bringing in is an element of contemporary, as we cannot do anything about the tradition.

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Senate President Wants Buhari To Declare State Of Emergency In Power Sector

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The Senate President,  Ahmad Lawan has  called on the Executive to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in the power sector to overcome the legion of problems stalling steady power supply in Nigeria.

Lawan stated this on Monday while declaring open a one-day round-table discussion with the theme: “Addressing Nigeria’s Power Problems” organized by the Senate Committee on Power.

The Senate President declared that the privatization of the power sector in 2005 and 2013 was a grand scheme conceived with the intention to defraud Nigeria.

According to him, “For me if there’s any sector of our economy that is so important and yet so challenged, it is the power sector. I believe that this is a sector that needs a declaration of emergency.

“This is an opportunity for us in this round-table to exhaustively discuss not only the problems of the power sector in Nigeria but the solutions and way forward.

“The truth is that we all know what is wrong. What we really need to do is to have the political will to take on the challenges generally.

“From the electricity power reform of 2005 to the privatization of Gencos and Discos and to what is happening today, we know that everything is a fraud. If we play the ostrich, in the next ten years we will be talking about the same things.

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“I think the time has come for us to have courage. I want to remind us, that we have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. What will give us an edge is to have a competitive environment.

“Our industries and businesses must be able to produce things that can compete favourably with products produced in other countries in Africa. We are not in that position today, and we all know the consequences of that.

“Even our citizens, who have capital, will rather relocate to Ghana, produce whatever they want and bring to Nigeria to sell. Where does that leave our country? No employment opportunities; Nigeria becomes a dumping ground”, he lamented.

The Senate President, therefore, called for a review of the privatization exercise undertaken by the Goodluck Jonathan administration which led to a takeover of the power sector by private Generating Companies (Gencos) and Distribution Companies (Discos).

Lawan added  that the National Assembly would make a significant contribution to the reform of the power sector through enabling legislation required to turn around the fortunes of power generation and distribution in Nigeria.

“If we went wrong with our privatization of Gencos and Discos, the time has come to look into it.

“Whatever we have to do to review these things, we should do. We must do it in the interest of the people of this country. We must admit there was something done wrong.

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“This round-table actually is an idea of the Senate, that we should come together to talk among ourselves. Ours is to provide legislative interventions, but we are also part of the government.

“Therefore, whatever that is required to support the executive arm of government to turn-around this sector, in fact we are more than prepared to do so through legislation.

“If we are going to amend the power sector reform, we are prepared to do that, and expeditiously. Tell us where the issues are, because we can’t afford to delay any action to make the power sector of this country perform.

“In the sixties, we were comparing ourselves with Indonesia, Malaysia and the rest, now we started comparing with Ghana, Togo. With all due respect, that tells us we are not making progress where other countries are.

“This round-table is an opportunity to come up with measurable roadmaps because we are not going to leave the implementation to the executive alone. We want to participate in every inch of the way.

“Every bit of what is to be done; we want to be part of it, so that we can contribute meaningfully to take the power sector to the next level.

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“It is really disheartening that we are still talking about 4,000 megawatts. I don’t understand this. Other countries within Africa are talking of so much, even Ghana is three times better than what we are doing.”

He also called on the federal government to deploy the political will towards revamping Nigeria’s failing power sector. “We are yet the largest economy in Africa, for how long can we sustain that position?

“I believe that we have to declare a state of emergency on Power, and courageous decisions must be taken by the government”, the Senate President said.

 

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Ecobank wins Bank of the Year, Best Bank in prestigious London awards ceremonies

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Ecobank wins “Bank of the Year” and “Best Bank” at The Banker and EMEA Finance Awards in London.

Ecobank Cameroon, Gambia and Rwanda won Bank of the Year at The Banker Awards on 28thNovember. This recognition came just before Ecobank Cabo Verde, Gambia, Liberia and Zimbabwe won Best Bank at the EMEA Finance African Banking Awards on 5th December. The Banker is the most prestigious global financial publication and EMEA Finance is widely read by the international banking community.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “We are pleased to be recognised as ‘Bank of the Year’ and ‘Best Bank’ in two distinguished award ceremonies in London. This confirms the strength of our brand in multiple countries across Africa, our unique pan-African platform and innovative banking products and solutions. Indeed, our One Bank strategy is providing the desired banking excellence for our consumer, commercial and corporate customers across the 33 countries in which we operate on the continent.”

The judging panels were impressed by Ecobank’s sound management, business model and strategic initiatives as well as its pioneering technology. They highlighted the bank’s recent innovations, including digitalised trade finance products, Ecobank Online & Omni Lite, digital payment solution, Ecobank Pay, and cross-border remittance solution, Rapidtransfer. These products are transforming the banking sector and empowering African businesses by providing accessibility and affordability.

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Yuletide: 1,700 FRSC Personnel Deployed To Oversee Traffic Activities On Highways

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At least 1,700 personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have been deployed to oversee traffic activities on highways across Ogun and Lagos States.

The personnel would be overseeing the Lagos – Ibadan; Sagamu – Ijebu Ode; Sagamu – Mosinmi – Ikorodu; Abeokuta – Sagamu; Abeokuta – Ibadan; Abeokuta – Ifo, Sango – Ota and Idiroko corridors.

The Route Commander, Florence Okpe Public Education Officer, Federal Road Safety Corps, Ogun State Sector Command made this known in a statement.

 

This deployment, according to the statement, is part of the Ember Months Special Patrol Operations which will commence from Thursday, December 19, 2019, till Monday, January 20, 2020.

 

The Special Patrol Operations would focus on, excessive speed; dangerous driving; wrongful overtaking; lane indiscipline; use of phones while driving; seat belt violation; overloading violation; tyre violation (expired/ substandard) as well as speed limiting device violation; unlacthed vehicles violation; child restraint violation; passengers manifest violation by commercial vehicles and use of drugs & intoxicating alcoholic beverages while driving.

 

The FRSC Ogun State Command has also embarked on aggressive motor parks public enlightenment campaigns across the state.

It has also concluded arrangements with the NDLEA to conduct joint drug tests on drivers suspected to have consumed illicit drugs as well as those that have consumed intoxicant alcoholic beverages beyond the legally tolerable level.

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In addition, eye examinations would be conducted in partnership with the National Optometric Association (NOA), to ensure only drivers with good eye sights are allowed to drive passengers during the Yuletide.

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