‘’All hope is not lost on Okpe,’s future despite its current travails, President General of the Okpe Union, Mr. Patrick Akpotor, affirmed at the weekend.
In a State of the Union address in Lagos, Akpotor hinged his optimism on the union’s plans to use the political, traditional and trade union leadership of the area to get a fair deal for the kingdom.
He called on Okpe politicians to close ranks to project a common front to the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to revisit the issue of Sapele Polytechnic, Elume, the only higher institution proposed for Okpe land.
Akpotor said that a kingdom highly respected for industrialization, degenerated to one of the poorest kingdoms in Nigeria.
‘The dwindling economic fortune of Okpeland calls for urgent attention. Many companies and establishments which have accounted for the employment of our youths and teaming population have relocated out of Okpeland. In 2017, one of the highest employing companies in Okpeland and Delta State located in Sapele, Eternit Ltd folded up and relocated its proposed huge infrastructure installation to Emenite Ltd, Enugu for the inability of the investors of the company(which include the Delta State Government) to raise the sum of one billion naira only. Our area lost the thousands of direct and indirect jobs thereby’’.
The union’s president complained about the African Timber and Plywood.
‘’The largest of all, the African Timber and Plywood is in a sorry state now as production is hardly taking place there now despite the reported take over by the Delta State Government. The exact investment structure of the company is currently shrouded in misery. The NTA Amukpe has ended its operations reportedly because of seven hundred thousand naira for equipment. Many smaller companies and enterprises have gone under too’’ he said.
The community leader said there was no reason whatsoever for Okpe Local Government not to have a bank.
‘’It is shocking to realize that Okpe Local Government Area does not have a bank. The bulk of the salaries of council workers, primary school teachers, the Udogun Okpe accounts, and the several towns and villages around Orerokpe are sufficient to attract a commercial bank to Orerokpe if we can get the political, traditional and trade union leadership of the area to act in concert.
He also restated his stand on the advisory role of the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, Orhue 1, saying there is no law whether of the Constitution, Federal Act, or State law which empowers His Royal Majesty to set up caretaker committee for the Okpe Union.
‘’The Okpe Union Constitution does not contain any provisions for such. It does not provide for any role for his Royal Majesty. As the Royal father of the Okpe Nation, we have always received advice from our Orodje. However, it is clear that our royal father by the decree of the 3rd of October, 2020, has overthrown and suspended the constitution of the Okpe Union which is a registered organisation under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its legally recognised independence. There is no law whether of the constitution, federal Act, or State law which empowers His Royal Majesty to do so’ he said.
The role of the Okpe monarch was equally addressed by Akpotor.
‘’The Okpe Union is a registered organization under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its registered constitution. Allowing the overthrow of the Union is the beginning of the destabilization and destruction of the Okpe Union which our forefathers handed over to us as independent of the Palace. We must collectively protect the respected traditional stool of the Okpe people from coming down to matters which do not fall within its legal jurisdiction. The Okpe Union has always had its autonomy and mechanisms of internal dispute resolutions.
The 2020 annual national conference of the Okpe union was held in Lagos on Saturday, November 14, 2020.
“The Union shall not be governed nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the government of the Union or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of this constitution. The Okpe Union is an organisation which has membership. It is not every Okpe person that is a member of the Okpe Union. The reported interim National Executive Council by the Orodje decree of the 3rd of October, 2020 has only two members of the Okpe Union out of nine. The Okpe Union Constitution has no provisions for the role any external powers within or outside Okpe Kingdom’’ the community leader said.
Akpotor listed poor power supply and the current activities of government backed touts who harass vehicles bringing goods to and from the area especially Sapele on the pretext of stickers and other charges as factors militating against the growth of smaller enterprises in Okpeland
‘’It is said that trucks from different parts of the country are scared of bringing goods to our area and many a time ask that the goods will be dropped at neighbouring cities’’.
To improve job creation and enhance economic activities in Okpeland, Akpotor called for a multi-faceted approach.
‘’The power sector has to improve, the conduct of our youths has to encourage investors and the agricultural sector like palm trees, cocoa, fish breeding, livestock and the like have to be exploited. The Okpe area has comparative advantages in many of these areas and the hydra headed problems of unemployment and poverty have to be addressed from this robust perspective’’.
He called on the government of Delta State as well as the administration of the two local government councils of Okpeland to intervene in the issue of hindrances to businesses regarding free movement of goods to and from , the Okpe Kingdom which have brought down businesses enterprises and activities in the area.
‘’The Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration of Delta State needs to revisit the matter of the proposed Sapele Polytechnic as there is yet to be a higher institution in the two local government areas of Okpe Kingdom’’.
On the recent End Sars protests nationwide, Akpotor urged both the federal and state governments to achieve synergy in ensuring that the Nigeria Police Force is restructured in such a way that guarantees the protection of lives and property of Nigerians.
Akpotor said he was worried about the current controversial Water Resources Bill at the National Assembly.
‘’Firstly, it is a misnomer for there to be an attempt for the central government in a federal system to make provisions for a legal framework which attempts to cover the entire field of water resources management. That can only be tolerated in a unitary system. One problem of the Nigerian governance system is that after transition from military administrations in Nigeria which are basically unitary with concentration of powers at the centre, we as a country neglected to firstly restructure the country to a federal system. The adoption of a new imposed constitution is not sufficient in getting back the country to a federal system. The existing water resources legislations have already violated the federal nature of the Nigerian system of government. Much of the contents of the controversial Water Resources Bill like control of rivers and other water bodies as well as underground water are purely within the jurisdiction of the state governments and communities of the local government councils’’.
He called on the various ethnic nationalities of Nigeria especially those of the Niger Delta to close ranks and present a common front not only to prevent the passage of the current Water Resources Bill but also to evaluate existing ones which have already violated the agreed federal principles for the governance of Nigeria at independence.
‘’Okpe Union was founded by our forefathers officially in 1930. It was registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria in 1934 under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Ordinance No. 22 of 1924. We celebrate our founders’ day 16th May of every year. The Union which started in Lagos has grown to several towns, cities and countries of the world. At a point especially between the 1970s and the 1980s, the union could boast of no less than sixty branches. Though there has been a drawback in its growth in recent decades, we have started experiencing some revival of the Union due to increase in communication from especially new media as well as the dedication to duty of the current leadership’’ he added.
2023 Polls: Okpe leaders insist on governorship
Move against traditional ruler
Declare Action Unconstitutional
Urge FG to transform Sapele Technical College to a Federal University or Polytechnic
Appeal to Okowa to complete the Delta State Polytechnic, Elume
Suspend Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni from Okpe Union
Prominent Okpe leaders on Saturday descended on the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, Orhue 1, accusing him of plotting to destroy the union of the ancient kingdom.
They also called on politicians and other stakeholders to zone the 2023 governorship of Delta State to the Okpe Nation.
‘’The Okpe Nation has played a continuous uniting role and stability of the state. There are notable Okpe personalities in the government and politics of Delta State that are qualified and loved by the people of the different ethnic nationalities of the state’’
At a press conference in Lagos, the leaders said there were no doubts as to whether the Okpe Kingdom would produce the next governor of Delta State.
In a communiqué read to newsmen by the President General of Okpe Union Headquarters, Mr. Patrick Akpotor in Okpe House, Obalende, Lagos State after the Okpe Uunion National Conference, the leaders rejected the purported dissolution of the National Executive Council of the Okpe Union and imposition of a Nine-member Interim National Executive Council for two years.
‘’It is unconstitutional, illegal, and void’’ the leaders said.
They unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the current National Executive Council of the Okpe Union led by Mr. Patrick Akpotor and extended the tenure of the current leadership for five months to enable it conduct a credible free and fair election in compliance with the Okpe Union constitution and the wishes of the majority of Okpe people.
‘’The Okpe Union 2020 National conference considered the state of the Okpe Union and recent developments regarding the purported dissolution of the elected national leadership of the Union including imposition of an interim committee of the Okpe Union. The conference noted that the Okpe Union, being a registered organization under the Lands Perpetual Succession Ordinance of 1924 and thus under the Corporate Affairs Commission, is an autonomous organization with its constitution and under Nigerian federal laws that govern incorporated non-governmental organizations.
The leaders explained that there was no cause to panic as the Executive Committee would tackle the challenges facing the union.
Particularly, the leaders nominated and adopted 15 Okpe personalities to be recommended to the Corporate Affairs Commission for registration as members of the Board of Trustees.
The leaders applauded the peaceful nature of all Okpe people.
‘’Remain law abiding and support the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Delta State government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’’
The leaders appealed to the Federal Government to reward the Okpe people, being one of the highest oil and gas producing ethnic nationalities in the Niger-Delta.
‘’Consider the reopening of the Sapele Sea Port which lies in the best fresh water harbor in the country’’
They also asked the Federal Government to transform the Sapele Technical College, one of the oldest in Nigeria to a Federal University or Polytechnic to create capacity in the teeming youths of the area and generate employability.
The leaders called on the Delta State government to complete the Delta State Polytechnic, Elume, Sapele which construction commenced during the administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
‘’That Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni who are the only Okpe Union members amongst the imposed Interim National Executive Council are hereby suspended indefinitely from the Okpe Union’’
The Conference also nominated and adopted a five-man Electoral Committee to organize elections into the National Executive Council of the Okpe Union within five months from 14th November, 2020.
Governors under the aegis of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) on Tuesday visited Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to commiserate with him and the people of Lagos State over the recent destruction of public and private properties in the State in the aftermath of the youth protests.
Speaking to journalists after a closed door session with Governor Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House, Marina, the chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu, on behalf of All Progressives Congress (APC) governors commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for demonstrating leadership during the protests.
The Progressives Governors Forum delegation to Lagos State comprised Bagudu; Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni; Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong and Jigawa State Governor, Muhammed Badaru.
Governor Bagudu said the APC governors are committed to good governance and making life comfortable for youths in Nigeria. “We want our young men and women to have fulfilling jobs and opportunities both locally and internationally. But this will take continuous engagement and dialogue,” he said.
The PGF chairman said they decided to visit Governor Sanwo-Olu to encourage him and his team and to further show solidarity with the people of Lagos State.
He said: “We come to encourage our colleague and his team and to further show solidarity with the people of Lagos that we are all in it together. This evening Governor Sanwo-Olu showed us some of the pictures of some of the devastating damages that were caused by the violence. And it is very clear that violence does not solve any problem; it compounds it.
“Today Lagos has further taken a loss because of that violence that has attacked everything; police stations, cultural institutions, two palaces and public facilities, loss of lives and other incidents. It is now very clear that the wise people of Lagos and all of us have known better that yes, our young persons have the right to express their feelings, we have to dialogue with them. But also as ambassadors of the family at different respective families and parents, we also have to appreciate that we are in it all together.
“You are not alone; we support them. We went to give them the support of a united strong country so that they can go into the world with pride. But they have seen how nobility of any course can be overtaken by those who otherwise have agendas that are contrary to what they thought they are out to achieve.
“So, I believe that there is a lesson for all of us and as a country, we need to do more quickly. We are doing well but this is a course that we must do more. In the last six years, Nigeria has had one of the most devastating slow down in the economic activities because of the combination of commodity prices collapse, which is further aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic in the country. But yet Nigeria’s response has led to a drop in the GDP by less than seven per cent, which is one of the best in Africa and indeed in the world. There are countries where slowdown in the economy activity has been close to 40 per cent per quarter with unemployment.”
The Progressives Governors’ Forum also commended Governor Sanwo-Olu’s leadership in Lagos State during the protests. “We encourage our brother and commend him for the leadership he demonstrated visiting all the hospitals. He was with the youths; he presented their requests to Mr. President. He mobilised his team to respond as kindly, gently and energetically as possible. We must appreciate him.
“He has remained committed till date. The panel (Judicial Panel of Enquiry) he set up is making progress and they are independent. The truth is coming out gradually; it is evolving. So we encourage him. We appreciate the people of Lagos and we are glad that when we came in today, we saw economic activities, the resilience of Lagosians moving in. That is quite commendable and we believe that Lagos will get back its groove and mobilise the nation,” the governors said.
The three days screening exercise in preparation for tutors free Polytechnic and College of Education scholarships sponsoring by the Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa under the auspices of Obasa Movement Initiative, in conjunction with National Image, will commence on Thursday, November 19, 2020 through Saturday November 21, 2020.
A release issued today by the Project Director of The Obasa Movement Initiative Entrepreneurship Empowerment Training with Scholarship to study in Nigeria Polytechnic and College of Education for our teaming Lagosians, Seyi Bamigbade, stated that the three days Computer-Based Testing (CBT) version of the tutors Free Scholarship Screening is scheduled to commence from Thursday – Saturday November 21, 2020, by 8a.m daily at the Speaker Obasa’s Constituency Office: 29, Oluwole Olaniyan Street, Iyana Ipaja, Orile Agege, Lagos.
All interested applicants are expected to come the following items:
a. Original certificate(s) of Educational qualification claimed.
b. Original birth certificate or statutory declaration of age
c. Two (1) Passport size photographs
d. Proof of state of origin signed by the secretary of your Local Government
The registrar of the institutions, Mr Ibitoye T. Abiodun said no applicants will subjected to writing examination but will be screened based on their O’ level result in order to determine those that are qualified for admission into the Polytechnic and College of Education.
The screening date for First Batch Local Council- 8.00 am prompt Daily.
Thursday 19th November, 2020
Alimosho Local Government / Egbe – Idimu, Agbado Oke Odo, Ipaja Ayobo, Igando Ikotun, Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Areas
Agege Local Government / Orile Local Council Development Area
Mushin Local Government / Odi olowo Local Council Development Area
Oshodi Local Government / Isolo & Ejigbo Local Council Development Areas
Friday 20th November, 2020
Ikeja Local Government Local Government / Onigbogbo & Ojudu Local Council Development Areas
Amuwo Local Government / Ori Ade Local Council Development Area
Ifako Local Government / Ojokoro Local Council Development Area
Ojo Local Government / Iba & Olorunda Local Council Development Areas
Saturday 21st November, 2020
Ajeromi Local Government / Ifelodun Local Council Development Area
Badagry Local Government / Badagry West & Olorunda Local Council Development Areas
Eredo Local Council Development Area
Ikorodu Local Government / Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area
While the 2nd series of the Entrepreneurship Empowerment training scheduled to hold first Quarter of year 2021.
The Project Director urged all duly registered applicants to come with their registration slips and ascertain their O’level results.
Mr Seyi advised all interested participants to take cognisance of the prevailing COVID-19 situation and adhere strictly to the laid down guidelines and protocols to contain the spread of the disease at the venue.
ACBF hosts Africa Think Tank Summit
The 7th Africa Think Tank Summit hosted by The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development, commenced today.
According to a press release by the ACBF’s Senior Communication Officer, Ntsiuoa Sekete, the virtual Summit which will end tomorrow November 19, is being held under the theme, “Implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement: Assessing country readiness and the implications for capacity-building.”
The Summit is meant to provide a platform for African Think Tanks and other key stakeholders to engage in a high-level deliberation on the most effective ways of addressing capacity challenges of Member States in a bid to enhance country readiness and accelerate implementation of the AfCFTA, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACBF’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie says the Summit will examine the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for making the AfCFTA a reality; assess country readiness in the implementation of the AfCFTA; identify and examine key capacity challenges facing countries and other key institutions involved in driving the continental free trade agenda.
“The Summit provides a perfect opportunity for all players to determine the most effective ways of addressing institutional and human capacity challenges facing the implementation of the AfCFTA. Having played a key role in establishment of the majority of the foremost Think Tanks across the Continent, we at ACBF believe that Think Tanks have a critical role to play in making the AfCFTA a reality. Therefore, our goal is to provide the opportunity for a better understanding of the role of Think Tanks and how they can effectively support African countries in addressing AfCFTA-related challenges and in maximizing the benefits of intra-Africa trade,” ACBF helmsman said.
The 2020 Think-Tank Summit is expected to generate partnerships and coordination mechanisms that will enhance capacity development programming and overall efforts in advancing country readiness in implementing and benefiting from the AfCFTA.
The Summit has attracted experts and representatives from at least 45 African Countries, and partner institutions such as the Afreximbank, African Development Bank, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, to mention a few.
Ondo Assembly exonerates OSOPADEC Chairman from financial misappropriation
Mr Olugbenga Edema, the Chairman of Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), was, on Tuesday, exonerated from alleged financial misappropriation by the state House of Assembly.
It would be recalled that an individual had petitioned the Assembly, urging it to investigate the financial activities of the commission, particularly in relation to the projects executed from 2019 till date.
Consequently, the Assembly had set up an ad hoc committee, headed by Mr Samuel Aderoboye, to investigate the allegations.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Bamidele Oloyelogun, commended the committee for doing a thorough job and for submitting its report which cleared Edema.
“I appreciate the committee for doing an unbiased job and for commending the activities of the OSOPADEC chairman.
“He (Edema) is, hereby, exonerated from any alleged financial misappropriation, in accordance with the report of the committee,” Oloyelogun said.