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News, Politics

Achebe Was My Hero – Akunyili

A former Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili on Sunday in Abuja  joined other prominent Nigerians to pay tribute to Prof. Chinua Achebe.

The former minister described the literary giant as her hero, adding that the death was  a great loss to the nation.

 This is contained in a statement, signed by Mr Isaac Umunna, Special Assistant (Media) to the former minister.

 “Chinua Achebe was not only from my state Anambra, he was also one of my heroes and role models right from my days at the University of Nigeria Nsukka where he taught.

“I therefore feel a deep sense of personal loss by his death. It is like losing a part of me.

“Prof. Achebe’s death leaves a void not only in Nigeria and Africa but globally because he is one of the best novelist the world has ever produced,” she said.

The former minister said that Achebe would be greatly missed, adding that  Nigerians and indeed, the world should take solace in the rich legacies that he left behind.

Achebe, described by his admirers as the “Eagle on Iroko” is best known for his novel, `Things Fall Apart’.

Until his death, Achebe served as a professor at Brown University in the U.S. He died on March 21, at the age of 82 years. 


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Business, Energy, News

Bayelsa Communities Appeal To SPDC To Provide Electricity

The Federated Azagbane Communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa, has appealed to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to provide electricity for the communities.

The spokesman for the communities, Mr Evans Sanugba, made the appeal in Yenagoa, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

 “Our appeal to the SPDC has become imperative because Azagbane Communities as host to SPDC’s operations need to be linked to the company’s Opukushi power plant for electricity supply to our communities,’’ he stated.

 Sanugba, who is also the Chairman of Azagbane Community Development Committee (CDC), called on the SPDC to link the cluster communities of Azagbane, the way it had done to Egbemo-Angalabiri and Agbidiama Communities.

 According to him, the communities see no reason why the SPDC should not link them to its electricity power supply in view of their proximity and status as host communities to the SPDC.

Sanugba also appealed to the SPDC to offer  employment to Azagbane youths.

The CDC chairman stated that no Azagbane indigene had been offered employment by SPDC since it started operation in the area many years ago.

 When contacted, Spokesman for the SPDC, Mr Precious Okolobo, asked for time to enable him verify the employment issues raised by the community from the SPDC’ Department of Human Resources.

 “I am at the airport now, on my way to Lagos, you don’t expect me to respond immediately, I need time to verify these issues from the Human Resources, then I can respond,” he said.


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Business, News

Financial Experts, Others Urge FG To Increase Workers’ Pay

Some financial experts and other Nigerians on Sunday urged the Federal Government to review the salaries of workers upwards.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that a substantial increase in workers’ wages would complement the government’s efforts in tackling corruption and other social vices.

Mr Oluwole Ibikunle, Managing Director of Boaz Management and Financial Strategies Ltd., said that the high level of inflation had eroded the value of workers’ salaries which had remained stagnant.

Ibikunle said that periodic upward review of workers’ wages would reinvigorate economic activities and boost the liquidity system as well as encourage investments among workers.

“Low wages make workers less productive, create discord in families and compel majority of the workers to engage in shady deals to make ends meet,’’ he stated.

Mr Remi Alarape, the Managing Director of Remmy Associates Ltd., attributed the increase in corruption and other social ills among the working class to the prevailing `dismal wages’.

Alarape said that the inability of the Nigerian working class to financially support extended family members to create small businesses had contributed to unemployment and high level poverty nationwide.

“A well-paid worker will not only support extended family members in operating small businesses but would find it difficult to engage in corruption or any social vice,’’ he said.

Mr Ojo Makinde, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan, also told NAN that the poor wage profile had robbed the country of committed workers interested in professional career growth.

“Job seekers are no longer concerned about the prospect of the jobs they get.

“They are only interested in the salary they will earn. This is the reason why many people want to work in multinational companies and oil firms that pay huge salaries,’’ Makinde said.

Mrs Dupe Bakare, Deputy Manager of Integrated Capital Services Ltd., said that workers in the civil service earned less than their counterparts in the private sector.

“A World Bank research conducted sometimes ago shows that over 120 million Nigerians live on less than two dollars per day.

“The situation has not improved. Even with the N18,000 minimum wage, it is very hard for people to survive on that kind of salary in a country where most goods are imported.

“Our salary is not good enough; we are grossly under-paid. We live on loans and  without loans we can’t embark on meaningful projects like having houses and cars of our own.

 “We would have finished spending the salary before it is even paid at the end of the month and we would have incurred lots of debts.

“We buy necessities like food and clothing on credit; it is like a cycle. At the end of the year, we always have nothing to show for our labour,” she said.

A medical practitioner, Mr Peter Johnson, appealed to government to increase workers’ salaries through improved wages.

“Many Nigerians are struggling to make ends meet; they can’t live the kind of lives they desire because of poor wages.

 “How can people buy goods when they do not have money? It is good to encourage the growth of foreign and local businesses in the country. We should, however, empower people who will buy the products,’’ Johnson said.

Mr Ladi Afolabi, the Managing Director of Ethical Business and Management Associates (EBAM), said that poor wages constituted one of the greatest challenges to the Nigerian economy.

“In Nigeria, the computation of salary does not take into consideration the changes that affect the average worker as a result of the economic challenges facing the nation.

“As a result, at the end of the month, take home pay does not take people home again,” Afolabi said.

The managing director suggested that there should be a periodic review of national wages, based on contemporary indices

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Football, News, Sports

‘End AFCON Celebrations Now’- Ebonyi Fans Tell Eagles

Football fans in Ebonyi have urged the Super Eagles to end all celebrations arising from their triumph in the AFCON 2013 tournament and concentrate on qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

The fans gave the advice on Sunday in Abakaliki, while reacting to the Eagles 1-1 draw with Kenya on Saturday in Calabar, in a world cup qualifier.

The fans urged the players, officials and the Nigerian Football Association (NFA), to realise that the AFCON triumph would be eroded if the Eagles failed to qualify for the global fiesta.

The Chief Coach of the Ebonyi State Sports Council, Martin Nkpuma,  said that the players’ attitude on the pitch was questionable as they had played as if nothing was at stake.

“They appeared unfit and showed no sense of urgency until the later part of the game when it became late.

“They should put the Kenya game behind them and approach the remaining matches with the same level of commitment they used in executing the AFCON matches,” he said.

A Sports Administrator, Ernest Nkwuda, called on Stephen Keshi not to distort the team’s arrangement out of panic.

“He has gotten the nucleus of the team he desires,  engaging in further experimentation due to the outcome of the Kenya game would be counter-productive,” he said.

A banker, Mr Joe Udah, also called on the NFA to consider the possibility of playing the Eagles home matches at night for the sake of the European based players.

“This is winter period in Europe, most of our players fagged out against Kenya,” he stated.

 A Volleyball Coach, Bridget Uchendu, similarly, called on the NFA not to put Keshi under undue pressure to deliver, but to ensure that the team was provided with all it needed to succeed.

“This is not the time to trade blames but a period for utmost collaboration to achieve the desired objective,” she said.


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