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Capital Project: PDP challenges Gov Lalong on transparency and accountability.

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The Plateau State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the state Governor Simon Lalong to be transparent in the award and execution of capital projects.

The opposition party also demanded accountability from the Lalong administration for people of Plateau state to understand how their monies were been spent by the administration.

State publicity secretary of PDP John Akans made the demand in a statement in Jos earlier today.

The statement reads, “The attention of the Plateau State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has been drawn to a corrupt and shameful practice of Governor Simon Lalong’s administration in terminating the contract for the much talked about legacy projects.

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“Documents at the disposal of our great party shows a contract was signed between the state government through the ministry of Finance and Abuja based *Bleneson Services Nigeria Limited* for the construction of 20 Lalong legacy projects( 8 no. Model Primary Schools, 6no. Model Secondary Schools and 6 no. Model Hospitals in Plateau State at a whooping principal sum of fifty_ nine billion naira(#59B).

The letter of contract termination, dated 9th March, 2021, was signed by Sani Alhaji Yahaya, permanent secretary/ secretary State tenders board on behalf of the state and addressed to the Managing Director of Bleneson Services Nig Ltd, Engr Lawson Ngoa.

As a responsible and focused political party that is prepared to re-set the leadership philosophy of plateau state, we find reasons for this action as an embarrassment to the office of the executive Governor of our dear state therefore it is appropriate we declare our stand on this sad development , particularly as it directly affects the future of the state.

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It will be recalled that in 2015 when Governor Lalong came onboard he inherited ongoing projects initiated by PDP leadership which were mostly between 70 to 80 percent completion.To our greatest dismay and disappointment some up to this moment have remained unattended or included in the so called legacy projects for completion, but they are abandoned despite their relevance to plateau people while very few have been manageably done.

In order to cover his incompetence and non performance, he quickly initiated what he calls the “legacy project” and he deliberately abandoned meaningful on going projects.

As a party,we believe that governance is continuum and we believe in any project that will impact on the lives of our dear citizens .Even as we welcome the idea of his legacy project more so that it came as a world bank intervention, it is sad and shocking that today, Governor Lalong has revoked this contract awarded to *BLENESON SERVICE NIGERIA LIMITED*.

The unfortunate and reliable information reaching us states that the revocation and suspension of the legacy project is as a result of the contractors refusal to share certain percentage of public funds to some interested individuals within the cycle of power. It’s instructive to note that the contractor came with good intention to work for the progress of plateau people but unfortunately he was faced with corrupt leadership to contend with.

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Let the Government make public reasons for revoking the contract if there are no skeletons in the cupboard.

The Peoples Democratic Party is however not surprised with Governor Lalong’s attitude having known him as an abysmal failure who has never shown seriousness in leadership, it is no longer news that Lalongs leadership lacks credibility, accountability and transparency in discharging its responsibility.

The Governor and the APC have become nightmare and deceptive to plateau people. With this rising lies and fraudulent acts against the people it is evident that the APC has emptied the state treasury there by mortgaging the state.

With this unequalled executive rascality, the question that comes to mind and must be answered by the plateau state government is that… When will Governor Lalong complete and commission his most cherished “legacy project” with just two years to go and now that the contractor is in court seeking amongst other reliefs, a nullification of the letter of termination of contract dated 9th march 2021.

This promises to be an endless and protracted litigation which is a booby trap to be used as an excuse for abandoning the projects after billions of naira has been pumped into it.

Meanwhile the irredeemable standing payment order for the funding of the lalongs legacy projects as evidenced by the contract agreement, which is for a duration of seven (7) years commencing from 2018, a period exceeding beyond the lifespan of the lalongs administration.

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We therefore demand that Governor Lalong should come out and explain to Plateau people how and when he intends to complete and commission these projects because he is accountable to Plateau people and the people have the right to know how their funds is being utilize, because from the inception of lalongs administration, it was clear that both lalong and his party know too well that they had no plans to complete any projects, projects are only conceived as a conduit pipe for siphoning precious public funds belonging to the people of plateau state.

Finally we ask ….now that the contract has been revoked and the legacy project suspended on greedy excuses what happens to the projects?Another abandonment while in office?

Meanwhile, we sympathise with Governor Lalong and his political house hold over the collapsed agreement with most of his contractors particularly those he personally brought to handle his “special project” which legacy project awarded at the cost of #59 billion with a huge sum of over 30 billion Naira already released.

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Kogi Commissioner, Prof. Aaron Baba is Dead.

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A one time Commissioner and Special Adviser, Prof. Aaron Baba is dead.

The former Commissioner died after a brief illness in Lokoja, was an ICT expert and a US Citizen.

A former Special Adviser on Technological Development but was later appointed a Commissioner and Member of the State Executive Council one year after, he brought to bear experience on his job. His rich knowledge in many fields and impressive managerial and interpersonal skills was Unprecedented. He served as Commissioner for Special Duties, Science and Technology, and Information.

Below is Prof. Aaron Baba’s Profile.

AARON BABA: From Lecturing To Making Beverages

Prof. Aaron Baba was a man of many parts; an academician, administrator, entrepreneur, innovator and investor.

Prof. Aaron’s achievements is in all of his fields of endeavors would create a picture of a man with elements of pride and pomposity taken into consideration his achievements in multidisciplinary fields of endeavor.

But on the contrary, he was a humble, gentle and pleasant man to meet and talk with, this soft-spoken gentleman relates well with all classes of people and is a good motivator to his peers and subordinates.

 

 

 

He was an extraordinary business man, an entrepreneur with interest in bringing good products that makes a difference to the market place.

 

Born in Iyale in Dekina Local Government Area, east of kogi state, Nigeria.

He is the first born of the family of Seven, four females and three males. Aaron went to the famous Government Secondary School, Dekina; from there he proceeded to University of Calabar and then to Bayero University, Kano and from there He left for the US in 1989. He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry. He graduated in Chemistry in 1994, taught in the US from 1994 up to 2008 before coming to Nigeria on the invitation of the then Governor of kogi state, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris to join his government.

In Kogi State, Prof Baba started off as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Technological Development but was appointed a Commissioner and Member of the State Executive Council one year after, as he brought to bear on his job, his rich knowledge in many fields and impressive managerial and interpersonal skills. He served as Commissioner for Special Duties, Science and Technology, and Information. As a Commissioner, the widely travelled and experienced scientist had to do a yeoman’s job and take in his strides, multi-disciplinary duties and assignments that require in-depth attention.

As an ICT expert, with extensive experience in several computer packages, he developed blueprints on how to put Kogi State on e-government platform. Special assignments and projects implemented in Kogi State under his supervision include coordinating the repositioning of State-owned Confluence Beach Hotel, Lokoja, revamping the Ministry of Special Duties and Information, reclaiming of mining sites and establishment of smalls scale industries. With his expert knowledge of mineral deposits and their investment potentials, he coordinated several investors to Kogi State in minerals, agriculture, and tourism sectors. On ICT, he advised Kogi State Government and facilitated the installation of WIFI (Internet signal) in government offices. He equally guided government on effective strategies for reducing expenses via staff audit and implementation of e-payment. He managed the Kogi State Salary Database from January 2010 to March 2012 with commendable oversight and transparency. More importantly, he produced and implemented an economic roadmap that has led to substantial increase in the State’s Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.

“We must produce drinks that are safe and meet the highest standards”

Prof Baba has apart from all of these, a plethora of academic accomplishments, a catalogue of publications and an equally long list of Chemistry and Science Majors to his credit, over 24 major Research Publications and 27 students to whom he has served as Advisor. He has also held posts as Committee Member, Acting Unit Head and Departmental Representative various Universities. Over the years, he has taught Introductory and General Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Quantitative Chemical Analysis, Nuclear Chemistry and Radiochemistry, Instrumental Analysis, Structure and Coordination Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Corrosion Chemistry, Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy, Cement and Fertilizer Industry and Special Topics in Physical Chemistry, among other courses.

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Aaron was married and blessed with four lovely children.

Aaron’s father is still alive and looks very young even at old age. People who know him jokingly mock Aaron of being older than his father. He is still very strong and agile at his age.  “He is my number one fan, number one mentor; he beliefs in me so much. I thank God for keeping him up till today. Every day I see him, I am so glad that he is alive. He has done so much and have accomplished so much. He is so proud of what I am doing”. Ironically, his greatest pain till date is the tragic loss of his loving mother who passed on about ten years ago.

Aaron’s philosophy was to keep pushing, keep hoping for the best, and trusting that God would never forsake the righteous.

Professionally, Prof Baba has given major presentations in the areas of his research interests, spanning Photochemistry, Corrosion, modelling, Chemical sensors and Agrochemicals. This proficient chemist had in-depth knowledge of many modern chemical analytical techniques, such as UV-VIS, FT-IR, FT-NMR, GC/MS, HPLC, electroanalysis and laser spectroscopy.

Aaron’s inspiration to go into the beverage industry began from when he was living in the US. “I was in the US for almost 20 years. we (my family) use to come home almost on a yearly basis, and whenever we come to Nigeria we found out that the most common drinks that you would find are the drinks that are highly carbonated. And for me, for some reasons I am allergic to carbonated drinks. So, I kept looking for a drink I can consume and also make available to the general public. So, we started exploring the possibility of setting up a beverage drink that is based on green tea. So, it was our desire to produce a healthy alternative to the carbonated drinks that we started the Multilife Green Tea Company which is green tea based”.

 

Aaron’s product; Multilife Green Tea  came into the market in 2012 and quite coincidentally, got NAFDAC approval the same week the Kogi State Executive Council was dissolved which became a green light for him, “that God is telling us something as one phase of our life was ending, the beverage business was starting off, so, we started in 2012”.

Aaron had a guiding principle for his business and especially in the production of beverages which is “we must produce high quality products”. “We must produce drinks that are safe and meet the highest standards”. There are guidelines of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and NAFDAC that regulate what the drinks should be and what contents should be included in the drinks. But beyond the NAFDAC and the SON requirements, Aaron’s Multilife company’s requirement is that these drinks that his family, friends and people that know him would drink must meet their safety standards, according to him,  “if it does not meet their safety standards, it doesn’t matter what SON or NAFDAC says, it is not good for the general public”. This guiding principle in the production of Multilife Drinks has over time become the driving force for a non-compromising quality standard, control and assurance; that “it must be safe for the general public, and it must be safe for my family and friends”.

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Of course, growing the company and the brands was not without many challenges, “if you are an investor, entrepreneur in Nigeria, there are issues you must contend with. Because these are very, very sophisticated drinks, they are chemistry based, and one of the basic challenges we faced was when our products were going bad. We needed to increase the stability and the shelf-life. There are few persons around that I could ask. So, many times, to tackle the issue of product safety, quality control and so on, I had to go into my background in chemistry as a scientist and look for the solution that we can derive based on world-wide research results that had been published. So, in terms of challenges of maintaining quality, I had to rely on my chemistry background”.

 

“with the increasing population, I see the continual growth of the beverage industry in Nigeria. And, also people are becoming more health conscious, and as they become more heath conscious, they will try to gravitate towards drinks that are really of high quality that would address their health needs”

 

And then with the issue of funding; “funding has always been an issue. We have been producing since 2012, and we have not had any conventional funding from any bank or financial institution. So, the challenges are still there to weather it; the fact that we remain in the market up to this point, is something that we need to be grateful to God for”.

Naturally, the Multilife Brand was not without its lows, “when we started production, I expected that the product would have gone very, very far. And because it could not go very far because of limited capital to put into the operation I had lost focus on trying to push it further. And so, within the past few years our presence, the market had gone down” This was primarily because the product was not pushed into the Market as hard as the company did initially, at a point we were discouraged and felt that the market was not really interested in the product. So, for about 2-3 years we didn’t give it the same attention that we did when we started, because one, I put in a lot of effort, a lot of resources in the beginning and the results then were very, very discouraging. But within the past 2-3 months I have come across people who told me that they miss the fact that they cannot see Multilife Drink in the market place because our drinks, the Multilife Drinks are all sugar free. And this, I think Multilife is the only sugar free beverage drinks that are produced in Nigeria. Having realized that the market place is missing the sugar free drink from Multilife, he is currently injecting more resources, time and money to restore the brand to the market place.

“Unfortunately, when I look around because I often go to some of these stores; I was in Shoprite and Next Cash n Carry and I did not see any drinks that are sugar free and produced in Nigeria that are in our category. So, Multilife drinks are the only sugar free out there in the Nigeria market place. But I know that we need to do more to promote the product, because Nigerians are becoming more health conscious, and as they are becoming more health conscious, they are running away from the sugar drinks. Ours are all sugar free. We have the regular; we have the big bottle in the category of coke sugar free. And then, we have the energy boost which is also sugar free and the alcoholic drink which is 18% alcohol and yet sugar free. So, these are unique different products that are in the market place and are sugar free. So, I have not seen any sugar free drinks that are in that category in the market place.” Aaron is full of hope for the Beverage industry in Nigeria, he says “with the increase in population of Nigeria, I see the continual growth of the beverage industry in Nigeria. And, also people are becoming more health conscious, and as they become more heath conscious, they will try to gravitate towards drinks that are really of high quality that would address their health needs. I think, the growth path is very strong”.

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Aaron believes that the problem of the Nigeria beverage industry is very similar to that of most investments in Nigeria. “There is issue of financing, and then the issue of infrastructural deficits. Where we are right now most of the time we run on generator, we run on our own bore-hole, no access roads; we have to provide ourselves every infrastructure including security. So, infrastructural deficit is the main challenge that the beverage industry and others are facing in Nigeria”.

On the growth of the beverage industry in Nigeria and the role of investors, Aaron is of the opinion that it takes guts to be an investor in Nigeria. But because of the increase in the population of Nigeria, if you can stick your neck out, it is worth it. In all he encourages people not just in the beverage industry but everywhere because the more investors that come into Nigeria, the more jobs that will be created, the less crime that will be committed in the society and there will be general increase in the quality of life for the citizenry regardless of the challenges.  We have low funding, infrastructural deficit, and sometime access to quality human capital is low and far between but it still worth to invest in the beverage industry, and also other industries in Nigeria. Because, “with the increase in the population of Nigerians there is increase in demand for quality goods and services. And if you are willing to endure the initial challenges i think it is going to be worth it”.

Aaron was a man of Faith and testifies that he has seen God’s strong hands in everything about his life, family and endeavors. “I have seen life ups and downs. I have gone very far and come very, very low. I have had many, many challenges health wise and even family wise but through it all, the fact that I am alive today, and the things we are doing, is a testament of God’s faithfulness. And because He (God) had given me many chances, He has elevated me beyond my wildest expectation”. He prayed and hope that everything that he does in life and business would give Him the greatest glory because, He had backed him always. He was a man who believed that, the future of the business was in His hands as humans, he will put in his ideas, plans and work towards them with prayers because he has the vision towards expanding the business.

 

Aaron is a US citizen and travels regularly to visit his children, for medical check-up, and to exploit business opportunities in the US.

 

 

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I Can’t Work With You, PDP Chieftain Rejects Buhari’s Appointment, Pledges Loyalty To His Party

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•Dayyabu Ciroma Rejects Adamu Adamu’s Appointment, Expresses Loyalty To Bala Mohammed.

 

Hon. Dayyabu Ciroma, Chairman Bauchi State Drugs and Medical Consumables Agency, has declined Adamu Adamu’s Federal Government’s offer as member of the Governing Council of the Federal Polytechnic Shendam in Plateau State.

Ciroma, in a letter addressed to Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, dated 12th April, 2021,said his dogged allegiance to Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi State informed his decision to turn down the offer.

He said that he reserved his undiluted commitment to serve his immediate constituents in Bauchi State and to payback the trust and confidence Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed reposed in him at the moment.

“Be that as it may, while I was indeed appointed to give my best to the development of my dear country Nigeria, I must not hesitate to categorically informed you of my decision to decline the said appointment,” part of the letter read.

Hon Ciroma further cited his ‘loyalty and dedication’ to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as another layer of reasons on which he opted to stay put of his appointment as council member of the Governing Board of the polytechnic.

“My loyalty and dedication to my dear political party, the People’s Democratic party, PDP, and indeed my personal support and unwavering loyalty to the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Abdulkadir who have since found me capable and worthy of serving as Chairman of Bauchi State’s Drugs and Medical Consumable Management Agency,” he said.

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Hon Dayyabu Ciroma noted with appreciation the kind gesture of President Muhammadu Buhari for considering him worthy of the appointment out of the many capable hands from Bauchi State.

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You Are A Liar And A Disgrace to Kogi State, Usman Okai Austin Blasts Kogi State Auditor General.

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The Auditor General of Kogi state, Alhaji Okala Yusuf gas comes under serious media attack for saying Kogi state is the most accountable state in the federation, The Auditor – General stated this while declaring open, A One Day Capacity Building Training for the staff of the office in preparation to the commencement of audit for the year 2020 fiscal year accross all the Public Offices of the State.

Part of Mr Usman Okai Austin statement read:

My attention has been drawn to the statement credited to the Auditor-General of Kpgi State, Mr Yakubu Okala in which he pronounced the state as the most accountable in Nigeria. It is as shocking as it is in a very bad faith.
I know accountability as a term used for openness, probity and uprightness. If that’s what the honorable auditor general means, then he is a liar.

Otherwise he doesn’t know what goes on in the government he serves in.
Let me take you on a journey of the events of the Kogi State government generated poverty and the weaponization of poverty by the Bello regime. I deliberately used the word regime to drive home the point that the government of Bello is not democratic but a regimented and systematic kleptocratic and mobocratic set up that dishes out what to who at what time.
The Bello administration receives over N3 billion monthly allocation from the Federal Government every other month plus internally generated revenue, Yet there is nothing to show for such humongous earnings. State workers from grade level 12 are still being paid percentage salaries. What’s the justification?
After the paparazzi of commissioning the Ganaja bridge, and all the attendant fanfare, there is no worker on that site. Nothing is happening there anymore. It seems the administration is pulling wool over everyone’s eyes.
Instead of working, they have commissioned a gang of halleluya boys, a.k.a. data boys to go to social media , crop pictures from places where government is a serious business and post to deceive people.
In Lokoja, as we speak, citizens are crying for potable water. For months, people have resorted to finding water by all means..
Why has the Lokoja- Kabba drainage and erosion control scheme stopped at the army barracks just kn the outskirts of Lokoja town?
I just told you the story of Lokoja town. This used to be a boisterous town has become cold. How can there be a lively town when the whole light is off and thugs are marauding the entire place? Streetlights are permanently switched off.
On the Niger bridge, there used to be solar powered lights. Now all have been reduced to mere decorations. You cannot imagine a road being plagued by armed robbers, bandits and other miscreants being lightless. You are at the mercy of the criminals. By the way, as we speak, no road is passable in Kogi state. The government is neither doing any new project or upgrading a collapsing one.
So, it baffles me why the Kogi state government and accountability would be mentioned in the same sentence. I want to urge the government of Yahaya Bello, of whom the Auditor-General spoke to use the two years left to it, to redeem its image by doing what is right.
The people of Kogi state deserve better, if not the best. They have suffered in the past six years. Teachers have had to return to the farms. Government workers have been scammed with fake alerts and so on but the resilience of our people have kept them on, hoping for a better Kogi but the current administration has been sadistic and sociopathic in its disposition to the people.
We are being mocked by people from other states as the poorest state in the federation. Even people from states which ought not to measure up to us are mocking g us because we have not got governance right.
My advice is for the Auditor-General to go back and advise his paymasters on how not to tell a white lie.

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