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What I will Do With Bayelsa Money if Elected Governor-Agbedi

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Hon. Fred AGBEDI is a third time member in the House of Representatives. He was  former state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Bayelsa State. He also served as Special Adviser to Governor Dickson on Political Matters.

Agbeti who represents Sagbama/ Ekeremor Federal constituency in the House of Representatives is one of Governorship Aspirants  in the forth coming governorship election in Bayelsa state.

   In this interaction with the members of the Federated Correspondents the Aspirant bares his mind on the development of the state and his plans if elected.

Excerpt:

Can you speak briefly about yourself?

I am Fred Agbedi from Agoro community in Ekeremor Local Government Area  of Bayelsa State, I am the member of the House of Representatives, representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, of course the third time member in the House of Representatives.

I was first in the House in third Republic which was 1992 under the National Republican Convention (NRC), today as a member of PDP, am serving my second term in the ninth Assembly at the House of Representatives. In Bayelsa state, I have held series of offices. I was the pioneer Secretary of NRC in Ekeremor LGA which office I contested and won to the House of Representatives. I have been chairman of PDP in Bayelsa state since 2005 to 2008. I have also  been  Special Adviser, Political Matters to Gov. Dickson and of course two times Director General  of Dickson Campaign Organisation, the Restoration Campaign 2011-12 and also 2015
to 2016, I have led three campaigns across the length and breath of
Bayelsa State and that makes me an household name and a committed loyal member  of the PDP.
I attended COE  where I read English and History, I attended
Uniport where I read English, I attended University of Abuja where I read Master in Public Administration am currently defending my seminar
on my thesis at Uniport. I pride myself as a professional politician, I have
been in politics for about four decades, I believe that am the only
professional politician that is running for the governorship position in Bayelsa state. I am also a professional in many respects, as teacher, character moulder, trainer, a Counsellor. As somebody who studied English, I can expressly express the desire of
my people and as graduate of Public Administration, am an
administration expert and for you to be a governor, you must have that
competence which I have as a development study student, a development expert of course

  Why do want to be Governor of Bayelsa State?

why I want to be a governor is to develop Bayelsa and I believe that if you want to be a governor, then you must understand the essence of a governor, the essence  number one is to realize that you are to be a servant and you must be able to render service, you should not see yourself as boss or rather you should see yourself as the servant of the people that is what I know very well and that is what I have come to do, to be the servant of the people. I also know that the position of a governor is a supervisor, yours is to supervise others, you understand the essence of supervision and you
too must have the capacity to supervise, because the governor does not do everything by himself, the governor identifies competent and capable hands who represent him in implementing policies and actions of Government and until you understand that a governor is a supervisor and that as a
supervisor, your first responsibility is to identify the right people
who have competency and capacity to implement policies of Government is what makes you stand out as a man who  knows your job from day one and so I realize that as a governor your duty is to supervise and understand how to check, monitor and applaud your lieutenants when they have done well, the ability to call your lieutenants to order when you believe that they are straying out of the radar and of course treat where it’s important and necessary to treat policies and their implementation and if you see that they are not achieving the desired goals and because I know and understand this, and I feel that the only way to express this is to serve at a greater height, which is the geographical expression that we refer to as Bayelsa.

  Can you talk about your contributions to  develop your constituency?

I am  serving at my Federal constituency, I have rendered projects to my federal constituency as a member of House of Representatives. I have attracted empowerment to atleast 16 to 20 communities  in my constituency, I think that I have gone to the level that I have come to seek the same role at the center and that is why I have come and have been mandated to fly the flag of Peoples Democratic Party in the November 16, governorship election in the state.

 What is your plan to develop Byelsa?

One of my plans is to render services, to serve my people. I feel that Bayelsa should be empowered. First and most important is the empowerment of Bayelsans.
  Bayelsans don’t have financial
empowerment, if they don’t have skill empowerment, then of course
there is nothing you can bring to Bayelsans that will be worth more
than empowerment.

Ques. What is empowerment?

What is empowerment, it is to make sure that  Bayelsans have access to funds, how do they get access to funds, we have Bayelsans that have core competencies in business that as a governor, you must identify the
core competencies of Bayelsans and patronize them, you don’t only
patronize them, you ensure that the service they rendere is paid for
that is the only way to grow your people, as a contractor, business
men, the state patronises you, we should be able to pay you so that
you can make profit, revenue with which you move forward. Once you
empower Bayelsans very well, they will turn the state’s economy around, they will make the economy robust and they will move to compete at the national level and our government will not only empower them and leave them to go and compete at the national level, we will also assist
them where the governor needs to intervene where they are in a
competition and how they are going to have such ventures.  Bayelsa government will
follow up and ensure that we support them to have  ventures at the end of the day. Not only that, we want to grow Bayelsa, not only
to the national level but also to the international level because if we want to be a
national and world player, we must have financial muscle. No matter how competent you are, no matter how effective you are in delivery of
projects, if you don’t have the financial muscle, you will not be able to compete at the national and global level and so that is what our
target is that at the end of the day, Bayelsans, whatever, it will cost
them  to be in competition at the national level and globally, we would ensure that they have that basis to be able to compete wherever they find themselves in Nigeria and across the globe.

  What  do intend to do about encouraging   investors?

If we are talking about investors, the people that can invest  locally are the Bayelsans and if Bayelsans have access to funds that enable then   build factories, industries, it’s the business men that are going to enter into partnership with other business men to  come and grow industries, to come and build factories and so we want to empower Bayelsans in such a situation whereby Bayelsan business men can pull N2 – N5bn  together to say this is the factory we want  to built and they will use the financial muscle and strength they have to
attract partnership to build that factory, to build that industry.

  What does government need to do actualize this?

What Government needs to do is to create enabling environment, a conducive climate, build infrastructure, social amenities and security that will bring a driving economy base, that is what our Government is going to do. Anything about factory, industries and funding of public projects  that are industry oriented will be the responsibility
of businessmen to partner with other businessmen to bring them. Take for example, we are talking about Aggae Deep Sea Port, where the state government has done so much and has done a lot of works and are still looking for investors to come and invest, if we have Bayelsans who can
pull together 3 to 5 Billion Naira, am sure that we would have achieved
a lot or long mileage as it is today because government funds are not
sufficient to develop Bayelsa as it ought to be.  So, once Bayelsans
have good money, once they have financial muscle and financial
capabilities they can attract partners that can put-in so much
billions to bring such projects into fruition, you will see that
Bayelsan money will be domiciled in Bayelsa and they would be financially empowered to strength Bayelsa economy and to attract other investors to come and partner with our business men to invest in factories and industries and to grow Bayelsa, employment will come. Its by so doing we will have robust economy in Bayelsa,   and as a
government we will also attract revenue to boost our internally Generated Revenue.

 Do you have any  plan to establish a   refinery?

Yes, our government when we come onboard will  also bring to the table the issues of oil production. Bayelsa state has oil wells, we have the attala farm, the marginal oil field and what do we need, do we need to sell crude, which is between 40 to 60 dollars per barrel and failed like the way Nigeria fail in selling raw materials?  For me, the right way to go is to tell our partners with the Bayelsa oil company to build refinery. We don’t need to sell the raw crude, we need to refine. If people who don’t have access to crude oil want to built refinery, what about us that  already have access to crude oil. What we need is a refinery to process the crude and this will bring down the cost of this finished products.  Because in Nigeria, Bayelsa is paying more than any other state and other part of this country because Bayelsa has deep riverine areas and anything you are buying at deep riverine, you can never determine what the cost is, so for me, Bayelsa oil company will encourage our partners
to built refinery, process the crude to     what ever finished products that is going to  come out of the crude
oil.  If we have a refinery,
people will be employed, the petrol, diesel that we are going to
process in Bayelsa will reduce the cost of the finished products in
the state, it will create employment opportunities and of course the
government will also draw revenue from it. I am also saying that as a
chairman House Committee on oil and gas resources in the eight
Assembly in the House of representatives, I went into a number of discussions with the major players in the oil industry. You all
know that the Bonny NLNG is a success story and it’s one of the
highest finance contributors to the Federal Government   
and if the Bonny NLNG will bring two more NLNGs will certainly solve the financial  problems of the country,  whatever amount you want to fund your budget with three NLNGs in  Nigeria can solve that problem and they are desirous of getting it done. In the course of our discussion with SHELL, we have agreed that the bony NLNG should invest in Brass NLNG and shell has also volunteer to invest in that project and so, that dream is ongoing, as chairman of that resources in the House of
Representative, we have taken discussion largely to implementation level such that it’s only when some of us come on board, having realise it to this point,  as a governor I can drive it to completion. And what do you
expect, an NLNG in Brass will open up the brass axis, it will bring
employment opportunity for our teeming youths and will also promote businesses and then as a state we are going to drew revenue from it. That is the way to go.

What will your administration do about  the brass fertilizer company?

The Brass fertilizer company that has been on the dream line, I have discussions to the extent that the former Managing Director of NNPC has said what will need to do to make it come on stream and by that discussion their expectation is not much 
beyond Bayelsa state government’s power and having understood that
this is what they want to have Brass fertilizer company to come on
stream because it will also generate employment again, which will generate business, which will generate income, I think that, that is
the way to go because if don’t address the issue that will create
employment, issues that will,   bring about robust business environment, issues that will create more
revenue base for the government, then of course, we will still be
relying on feeding bottle democracy.  

  How do you mean?

We say we are  a federal government, but we are practicing unitary system of government, at the end of the month, we all go to Abuja to collect whatever they appropriate to us, we do don’t know what they are given to us, they just say this is what belongs to you and you pick it and come back, which is not enough to sponsor our budgets and as for some of us, the first and most important thing to do is to look inward and generate an economy that will be self serving and we talk about this because if investors are coming to Nigeria and they land in Lagos, the moments they talk to Lagos audience and they know that it is  a business that is going to succeed, Lagosians will tell you am buying it half  a billion naira, or one billion or two billion and of course
they don’t have any reason to come to Bayelsa when there is already
money, when there is local content that is going  to boost their
investment of course they have to talk to that audience and then move
away from there, that is the sentiment we are coming to government to solve. Bayelsans will have the capacity to put money on the table in negotiating and creating business partnership that will develop our state.

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Fire Guts Minister’s Private Residence

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

The private residence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud was completely razed down by fire on Sunday afternoon.

Reports suggest that nothing was salvaged from 9 Justice Roseline Ukeji Close, Asokoro, Abuja as fighters were said to have arrived late.

Media Aide to the minister Mr.

Austine Elemue said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

The Ag. Director, FCT Fire Service, Mr Amiola Adebayo confirmed the fire outbreak.

The Acting Director in a text message to our correspondent said the fire started around 10:40am on 7 Roseline Ukeji close, Mark Okoye Street, Asokoro, involving a 7-bedroom duplex.

He said household items on the upper floor including: beds, clothes, documents, credentials, jewelries and others like air-conditioners, roof were consumed.

 The fire service boss suspected electrical fault in the children room as the cause of the fire.

The fire was brought under control around 2:51pm. No life was lost.

This is the major fire incident in Abuja this year.

On Nov. 7, 2023, a section of the Canadian High Commission caught fire.

The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said a diesel tank explosion was responsible for the incident.

Two persons died in the incident while one other person was critically injured.

At the same time, one of the Samsung electronic retail stores in Abuja was gutted by fire.

The fire was said to have been caused by careless welding activities near a pile of empty combustible cartons.

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Northern Senators Jubilant as ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions on Niger Republic

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

Northern Senators Forum has commended the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for lifting sanctions imposed on Niger Republic as a result of military takeover on July 26th, 2023.

Recall that the regional block had a fortnight ago, lifted the sanctions it imposed on the trio of Niger Republic, Mali and Burkina Faso following military insurrections in their respective countries.

Reacting to the development, the northern senators forum yesterday in Abuja said that they were pleased to see that ECOWAS responded to the progressive requests “made by us individually and collectively on the subject matter and we commend their prudent and compassionate approach in addressing these critical issues”.

The spokesman of Northern Senators Forum, Senator Suleiman Kawu Sumaila (NNPP, Kano South) noted that the principled and empathetic decision made by ECOWAS to lift the sanctions on Niger Republic was a testament to the organization’s commitment to regional solidarity, cooperation, and respect for human rights, stressing that the action would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the people of Niger Republic as well as ensuring the restoration of stability and economic prosperity in the region.

According to him, “We are particularly grateful that ECOWAS leaders have considered our pleas to restore electricity, open borders and lift the sanctions on Niger Republic.

“These measures will not only have crucial humanitarian implications but will also foster regional integration, trade, and cooperation.

“We firmly believe that this step taken by ECOWAS will positively impact the lives of the people of Niger Republic and Nigeria and facilitate the restoration of trust and harmony among all member states.

“As representatives of the people and advocates for justice and democracy, we commend ECOWAS for their responsiveness and understanding of the immense challenges faced by our fellow West African nation.

“The Northern Senators Forum stands in solidarity with ECOWAS in restoring democracy and rule of law in Niger Republic and other west African countries.

“And we are committed to working to promote stability, peace, and socio-economic development throughout the region.

“We urge the government of Niger Republic and its people to seize this opportunity to hasten the process of returning to democratic governance to build a stronger and more prosperous nation, harnessing their resilient spirit and unwavering determination.

“Furthermore, we urge all regional stakeholders to continue engaging in dialogue and pursuing peaceful solutions to address any remaining concern, fostering a harmonious environment for progress and development.

“Finally, we would like to reiterate our deep appreciation to ECOWAS leaders especially, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria for their proactive and benevolent intervention in lifting the sanctions imposed on Niger Republic.

“We are confident that this decision will leave an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of all West African nations and serve as a shining example for resolving differences through dialogue and diplomacy.”

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Edo 2024: Ighodalo Wins PDP Guber Ticket with 577 votes

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By Dasvid Torough, Abuja

All efforts to make the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in Edo State came to naught as two aspirants lay claim to victory on Thursday.

Dr Asue Ighodalo was announced the governorship candidate of the PDP for the Sept.

21 guber election.

The Chief Returning Officer and chairman of the Edo Governorship Primary election Committee, Gov.

Dada Lawal of Zamfara State, declared Ighodalo as winner after he garnered 577 votes to defeat six other aspirants.

The primary was co-chaired by Gov.

Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta

The governorship primary was held at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.

The Edo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha, led officials of INEC to monitor the process.

Ighodalo scored 577 votes to defeat other aspirants, including Deputy Gov. Philip Shaibu, who scored one vote.

In his acceptance speech, Ighodalo who thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in him, promised prosperity for all Edo people.

He added that he would make deliberate efforts to tackle poverty and deliver good governance to the people.

Two former House of Representatives members, Mr Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama and Omosede Igbinedion, stepped down minutes before the primary.

The other aspirants Anslem Ojezua, Felix Akhabue, Martin Uhomoibhi, Hafia Hadizat Umoru, Osaro Onaiwu and Arthur Esene, all scored zero vote.

Earlier, the State Chairman of PDP, Tony Aziegbemi who welcomed the Edo Governorship Primary Election Committee to the state, said the PDP was ready for the Sept. governorship election.

Aziegbemi said a total of 594 adhoc delegates were elected by party members.

Similarly,  the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu emerged factional candidate for the same election.

It was reported that Shaibu scored 3000 votes in a parallel primary election held at his residence on Commercial Avenue, Benin City.

The Returning Officer, Bartholomew Moses declared that Shaibu won with an overwhelming majority of votes.

It was said that some delegates who went to Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium were denied entry.

These delegates returned to the deputy governor’s lodge for the primary election.

Shaibu reportedly addressed the delegates and advised them to remain peaceful, promising to speak with the primary electoral committee chairman.

It was later resolved that a parallel exercise should hold and Shaibu emerged candidate of the election.

Delegates from 12 local government areas reportedly elected Shaibu as the candidate.

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