The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has advised Nigerian leaders not to ignore concerns by some parts of the country over their alleged marginalisation.
Lawan disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday at a Public Presentation of a book titled: ‘ Foundation of Nigeria’s Unity’ authored by Prof. Sandy Onor, representative of Cross Rivers Central Senatorial District.
He warned that not doing so would decimate their patriotism and erect walls of division among the country’s regions, as well as further inflame calls for secession.
He said it behooved on leaders to lead in such a manner that the institutions and the citizens would feel their stewardship.
Lawan said that the unity of the country was a collective responsibility, hence must be created and sustained by all.
” Our founding fathers know they were not geographically separated but have differences in other areas, yet they decided to come together.
” They tried so hard to ensure unity in diversity.
The challenge is not ours as they had done their best but now it is the challenge of leaders of Nigeria.
” When leaders decide to lead very well, religion, ethnicity, geographical location will not matter but what will matter is unity, security and this is doable.
” This book is telling us that we have to go back and discover where we missed the road and retrace our steps.
” With all the challenges we have, there are still people trying so hard to create and sustain the unity of this country and we must all work together to make Nigeria a united country,” he said.
He commended the author saying that the book wouldn’t have come at a better time than now when the country is moving towards another general elections.
Former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi, also called for the establishment of a National Integration Commission to strengthen the unity of the country.
Agabi, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said, “We are one people, God gave dominion to man which is what we have as a country.
Nigeria is not an artificial nation.
We are praying for good leaders but let us not despair as we will get there.
” We are one people and this must begin by respecting our constitution.
Though, the constitution may not be the best but it can be reviewed.
” We need a national integration commission for us to integrate the country and live in unity as a people,” he said.
Also, the Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, said that the country would not get things right until citizens begin to appreciate equity, fairness and justice.
Wike, who was represented by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, said it was important to pay serious attention to the federal system.
” In the beginning, there was no Nigeria, we had different ethnic groups and empires but we were brought together to become one Nigeria.
” Until we begin to make that Nigeria state on the premise of equity and fairness, then we can never get it right,” he said.
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Women Leader, Prof. Stella Effah-Attoe, commended the author for dedicating a chapter of the book to women.
Effah-Attoe called on Nigerian leaders to address the issue of national integration by looking at the past and building the future.
The book Reviewer, Prof. Christopher Ogbogbo, who is the Director of Research, Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja, said that the fundamental purpose of the book was to bring into focus the unity of the country.
Ogbogbo said that the 10 chapters and 333 pages of the book examine the problems of political elites and the need to stay together in spite of options in differences.
” Unity is a deliberate efforts of deliberate people and it requires unwavering commitment of people.
” The book focuses on the role of women as strong pillars prepared to forge unity and this can only happen when there is inclusiveness.
” The unity of Nigeria is critical and we must understand this through our history by learning lessons to forge ahead.
Hence, we should not allow individual interest to override collective interest,’ he said.
Ogbogbo called on Nigerians to make judicious use of their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to have a better and new Nigeria they crave for.
However, the author, Prof. Sandy Onor, said that it was wrong for anyone to describe Nigeria as an artificial nation.
Onor said, “You may be a Muslim, you may be a Christian or an Africanist, what matters is that we worship one God and so we must learn to love ourselves.
” There are good Nigerians everywhere, in the north, south.
We must ensure we live together in love and unity,” he said.
Sen. Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Cross River North seat at the National Assembly, has promised to promote teachers’ welfare in the state.
Agom-Jarigbe, said this on Tuesday in Ogoja, when he received members of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT).
“I am a product of teachers been that both my parents were teachers and as such, I have no choice than to always support your course.
“However, with your support to all PDP candidates, especially the governorship candidate, all the ill-treatment melted out to you by the current government in the state will be corrected,” he said.
The candidate presented 25 motorcycles to some members of the union, promising to donate a brand new vehicle to the union before 2023 to aid its movements.
The senator solicited for the support of the union for the PDP governorship candiate, Dr Sandy Onor. Earlier in his remarks, Mr Gregory Olayi, the state NUT Chairman, commended the senator for the quality representation he has given to his people.
Olayi said that the senator’s numerous interventions and contributions in the education sector as a lawmaker have not gone unnoticed and appealed that members of the union be considered in his empowerment programmes.
Sen. Sandy Onor, the PDP governorship candidate in Cross River, has promised to return the state to the world tourism calendar if elected in 2023. Onor said this during the Annual Obudu New Yam Festival in Begiaba community, Obudu Local Government Area of the state on Sunday.
He commended the leadership of Mr Donald Duke and Mr Liyel Imoke, both former governors for harnessing the vast tourism potentials of the state into a global brand.
He said it was regrettable that the gains under their regime could not be sustained by the present administration.
The senator, however, promised to ensure that the lost glory of the state was regained if voted into power in 2023. “It’s unbelievable that under an Obudu son as the governor of our state, Obudu Mountain Race is no more; Obudu Ranch Resort, which is a prime tourists cynosure of the tourist public, is now in ruins.
“The entire tourism sector in the state has been bastardised.
” “Our government will work assiduously to regain our lost glory not only in tourism but across every sector where we dominated and became a reference point, given our comparative advantage,” he said.
Earlier, Sen. Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe commended the people for the peaceful celebration and urged them to sustain the mutual and harmonious coexistence to accelerate economic development.
Agom-Jarigbe said that PDP remained united and committed towards uplifting the well-being of the people through provision of needed basic amenities.
” Our scorecard across the state, even as opposition party legislators in terms of projects, scholarships, job creations, employment, palliative care, capacity building and start off grants, are simply a tip of the iceberg.
“We are irrevocably committed to exceed the expectations of the people come 2023,'” he said.
The senator added that members of the party had genuine projects on ground to solicit for electoral support ahead of 2023.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday inaugurated 152 ward coordinators for Cross River Central, ahead of its governorship campaign in October.
Mr Paul Ishabor, the Director-General of the PDP’s reclaim Cross River mandate group, performed the ceremony in Calabar.
Ishabor urged the wards coordinators to focus on issue-base campaign, saying that the PDP governorship candidate, Sen. Sandy Onor, has unequal records of projects to showcase for campaign.
He said that the PDP would be focused on grassroots campaign; promising that coordinators for the two remaining senatorial districts would soon be inaugurated.
“The ward structure reflects our spread and readiness to massively galvanise the electorate, towards reclaiming our lost paradise.
“Our beloved state has been bastardised in all ramifications; from the civil service, economy, education, security architecture and basic infrastructure, the list is endless.
“As the leading PDP support group, we are setting the ball rolling by establishing the basis framework needed for effective, smooth and results-oriented electioneering in tandem with INEC guidelines as stipulated in the 2022 Electoral Law,” he said.
Mr Usani Usani, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, is among the 11 candidates jostling to take over the governorship seat of Cross River from the incumbent, Prof. Ben Ayade.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that according to a document displayed at the state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 11 political parties are vying for the state’s governorship seat.Usani, who was minister between 2015 and 2019, would pursue his governorship ambition under the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).The other candidates include Mr. Bassey Otu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Sen. Sandy Onor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).Other political parties that fielded candidates for the seat are Labour Party (LP), All Peoples Party (APP), Young Progressive Party (YPP), National Rescue Movement (NRM), and Social Democratic Party (SDP).African Democratic Congresses (ADC), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and Action Aliance (AA) also filded candidates also seeking to succeed Ayade in 2023.Usani had in May dumped the APC for the PRP to enable him to realize his governorship ambition.He had left the APC over their consensus arrangement for the governorship ticket which had 17 aspirants jostling for the ticket.Usani was one of the pioneer members of the APC in the state and was appointed by President General Muhammadu Buhari as Niger Delta Affairs Minister in November 2015.Usani had contested for the governorship seat in the state three times – in 2003, 2011, and 2019.NewsSourceCredit: NAN
Mrs Emana Ambrose-Amawhe, a former broadcaster with Channels TV, was on Monday unveiled as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Deputy Governorship candidate in Cross River.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the broadcaster who is to deputise Senator Sandy Onor, was unveiled at the State party’s secretariat in Calabar.
Her unveiling has put to rest weeks of internal squabbling that had threatened the unity of the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The governorship candidate, Onor, who unveiled her before the party’s faithful, said the decision to pick Ambrose-Amawhe followed painstaking consultations with all stakeholders of the party in the State.
He described the decision to pick her as a “double-barrel proposition” considering her youthfulness and gender.
“In taking the decision, there was no segment of the party that was not reached; men, women, youths and leaders.
“We came to the conclusion that there is need to brighten our chance and to also strengthen our ticket. If you are a politician, you will know that you can’t mobilise without women.
“Since the time of Cecilia Ekpeyong as deputy governor here, we have not carried the women along again. So, we came to conclusion that we need to carry our women along again.
“To simply put it, all the men are adequately qualified but we thought that we shouldn’t be selfish. Women can’t just be chair leaders all the time; they need to be given a pride of place.
“We need a double-barrel proposition, a woman that can appeal to the youths, a mother, visionary and a deep intellect that will be determined to work to change Cross River for good.
“We found all these qualities in Ambrose-Amawhe. She has momentum, vision and character. She is a woman of double-barrel proposition,” Onor stated.
In her acceptance speech, Ambrose-Amawhe, the former broadcaster, described her nomination as victory for the women.
She pledged to go on the journey with her principal to rescue the State from lack of governance.
She urged the women to be resilient and never give up on their dreams.
Sen. Sandy Onor, Senator representing the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State on Thursday picked the gubernatorial ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 general election.
Onor defeated his compatriot, Sen. Gershom Bassey, who represents the Southern Senatorial District in the ninth assembly with total votes of 236 to 175 votes and Rep. Daniel Asuquo, who scored 147 votes.
Declaring the result, Mr Babajide Coker, Chairman, PDP Cross River gubernatorial primary election who declared Onor winner said 591 voters were accr
By Kingsley Okoye / Naomi Sharang
The Senate said Thursday it was determined to rejuvenate the deplorable state of infrastructure, teaching and learning conditions in higher education institutions using legislation.
The Deputy Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Senator Sandy Onor (PDP Cross-River), made the pledge during a public hearing and presentation of memoranda on three bills for the education sector.
The vice-chairman of the committee represented its chairman, Senator Babba Kaita (APC-Katsina).
She said that the rejuvenation of the education sector would bring enormous benefits to young people seeking knowledge.
She said the decision to transform Yaba College of Technology and Ilaro Polytechnic into full-fledged universities of technology would serve as a pathway to centers of excellence in affordable educational resources.
She added that modernizing schools would also provide employment opportunities for host communities and other skilled Nigerians.
According to Onor, upgrading to federal universities would provide a cutting-edge research and learning center that encompasses multidisciplinary approaches, knowledge acquisition and dissemination.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that all three bills were sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos.)
Yaba Federal University of Technology Bill and Ilaro Federal University of Technology Bill, Ogun State.
The third is a bill establishing the Nigerian French-language school as an interuniversity center for French studies.
Senator Adeola said during the presentation that there is a need to expand the possibilities for teeming Nigerian youth to gain admission to universities, especially in technology-based education.
This, he said, informed his sponsorship of the bills to turn two existing large polytechnics into full-fledged universities of technology.
When converting Yaba College of Technology, Adeola said it would go a long way in meeting the challenge of the huge demand for educational institutions required for the Lagos mega-city.
He said the bill for upgrading the Ilaro Federal Polytechnic to Federal University of Technology has been informed by the expansion and development of the polytechnic since its establishment in 1979.
According to him, upgrading it would help balance the spread of educational infrastructure in the state and other parts of the country.
Regarding the bill for the establishment of the French-speaking Nigerian village in Ajara, Badagry, Lagos State as an inter-university center, he said that this would go a long way in remedying the French language deficiency among Nigerian professionals.
Mr. Nureni Alabi, vice president, Yaba College of Technology Alumni Association, said the institution's graduates would become more entrenched in technology, applied sciences, information and communication technologies if the law became law.
This, he said, was relevant to Nigeria's development needs in industrial and agricultural production, high-tech research and development.
“Yaba Federal University of Technology will help conserve much-needed currencies that are spent lavishly on educational tourism.
“Yaba Federal University of Technology will help to give open license to organize all technical and technological courses which will be beneficial for citizens in this contemporary era,” he said. (NOPE)(NAN)
The Cross River National Assembly Caucus has sued for peace over the peaceful EndSARS protest which turned violent in the state after it was hijacked by hoodlums.
The caucus also sympathised with members of the public, business owners and individuals who suffered losses when the protest was hijacked by miscreants.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday and signed by the leader of the forum, Sen. Gershom Bassey (PDP-Cross River), it said that the forum would stand by government as it restored law and order and put an end to the ugly incidents.
The statement was co-signed by Sen. Sandy Onor (PDP-Cross River), and Reps. Essien Ayi, Daniel Asuquo, Jaribe Agom, Legor Idagbo, Chris Agibe, Mike Itaba, Ettah Mbora and Alex Egbona
According to the statement, “We are bound by the collective obligation to protect and defend Calabar and every part of Cross River against criminal elements and other enemies of our dear state.
While noting that the voices of the people had been heard loud and clear, the lawmakers urged them to give peace a chance and be patient with government.
The caucus, comprising senators and House of Representatives members, extended its hand of solidarity to the #EndSARS cause, noting that the protest and its objectives were warranted and justified.
It however added that the degeneration and commandeering of the protest by hoodlums and criminal elements were regrettable and purported to taint an otherwise well intended purpose.
Condemning what it called the needless destruction of federal and state-owned property, as well as private property during the chaos, the caucus sent its solidarity to former Senators Victor Ndoma-Egba, Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Bassey Edet among others.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
A former Governor of Cross River, Sen. Liyel Imoke, has called for dialogue between the political and traditional leadership and the youths in order to end the destruction of properties in Calabar.
Imoke made the call on Thursday in Calabar when he led some National Assembly members and other dignitaries on a courtesy call to the Paramount Ruler of Calabar South, Prof. Itam Hogan.
He said that the sad event which occurred in Calabar on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 by hoodlums who hijacked the Endsars protest was not normal.
“We have come here today to seek for advice on the way forward for our state. It behoves on us to kick-start a dialogue to address the incident that happened in Calabar.
“This is a very challenging time for us as a state because the reaction in Cross River is of great concern to us all.
“It is time we come together to dialogue with the youths and find solutions to their challenges.
“For us, we want peace; that is why we have come to seek for your advice to help us rebuild the state and move forward,” he said.
Earlier, Hogan said it was time for political leaders to make promises they can keep.
He noted that the youths were angry and hungry, hence they where hopeless because they have lost confidence in the leadership style of those in authority.
“The children are hungry and angry; there are no jobs for them. Politicians should learn to keep to their words and always fulfil the campaign promises made to the people.
“The Endsars protest was the key that opened the Pandora box. If we don’t rise up and address these challenges, me may not be free to walk along the streets again,” he said.
He called on the Federal Government to resolve the lingering strike with the Academic Staff Union of Universities in order to allow students to return to schools.
Imoke also visited the Paramount Ruler elect of Calabar Municipality, Ndidem Eta Bassey-Eteta in his palace.
Imoke told the Paramount Ruler that there was still hope for the youths, adding that there was need for continuous engagement and dialogue.
“We believe that there is no better institution to engage the youths than the traditional institutions.
“We don’t want our youth to come out on the streets again, that is why we have to take actions as leaders,” he said.
Responding, the Paramount Ruler informed Imoke and his entourage that they have started engagement with the youths with a view to restore peace and unity in the state.
In Imoke’s entourage include; Sen. Sandy Onor, Rep. Eta Mbora, Rep. Legor Idagbo, Retired Col. Pam Ogar, AVM Eko Osim, Mr Eko Atu, former Ambassador, Nkoyo Toyo and Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz