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Nigeria:???????: ??? ???????? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ???????? & ??????????

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One of Africa’s great leaders, Nelson Mandela, once said that what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived; it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

These words have had their essence expressed in Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s disposition towards issues affecting the Nigerian youth. At every opportunity, Prof. Osinbajo never fails to show his love and belief in the youth of this country. Little wonder, he prioritizes them in whatever policy or programme he is assigned to superintend, formulate or implement. Given the high level of commitment demonstrated towards the youth in the past 6 years, one would not be wrong, however, to say that no Vice President in Nigeria has ever placed more premium on the youth than Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Before the EndSARS protest erupted in October 2020, the Vice President had been at the forefront of advocating for government policies and programmes that would harness and channel the enormous potentials that abound in the youth towards the nation’s political, economic and social development. Prof. Osinbajo does not only view the youth as an economic asset, he appreciates them as a primary factor for peace and stability without which no meaningful progress can be made and sustained.

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VP Osinbajo has been quite instrumental to the evolution of most of the youth-friendly policies and programmes of the Buhari-led administration. These have addressed critical socio-economic gaps in the life of an average Nigerian youth, starting with the N-Power, which is a component of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), designed to stem the growing tide of poverty, unemployment and social insecurity in the country. According to available records, N-Power has provided temporary income-generating opportunities for 500,000 unemployed youths enrolled in batches A and B. Currently, 500,000 beneficiaries have been brought onboard for batch C stream I, while onboarding processes are being worked out for another 500,000 under batch C stream II.

Apart from the N-Power, there are other components of NSIP such as the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, Government Enterprise and Entrprenuership Programme (GEEP) which encapsulates Tradermoni, Marketmoni, Farmermoni and the Conditional Cash Transfer. With over 12 million direct beneficiaries so far, some analysts believe that the present administration’s National Social Investment Programme is the largest and most ambitious social safety net programme in Nigeria’s history.

Another initiative of the VP that must be mentioned is the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Clinic which came into being in 2017, to monitor, empower and support the MSME space. The Clinic is run by the Office of the Vice President in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, as well as 11 other federal government agencies. A total of 1,283,000 beneficiaries are targeted under various tracks such as payroll support, general MSME grants, formalization support, transport/artisan grant and guaranteed offtake.

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Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has also envisioned for the Nigerian youth a future that is technologically driven, and hence, they must be prepared and empowered with high-end skills to enable them compete favourably and survive in an increasingly digitalized global ecosystem. Moving this to reality, in May 2021, the VP announced the formalization of a partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and tech giant, Microsoft Corporation, to leverage Microsoft’s experience in the utilisation of technology as an enabler for the delivery of public and social good.

Under the partnership, 5 million Nigerians, especially the youth, would benefit from a digital upskilling programme anchored on connectivity, skilling and digital transformation. As part of the plan, locations in each of the six geopolitical zones in the country would enjoy active internet connection and cloud services, thus enhancing seamless integration of businesses. This was however confirmed by Microsoft President, Mr Brad Smith, who added that in the course of implementing the programme, which has a 3-year duration, 27,000 new jobs will be created.

It is however worthy to note that this project is a critical component of expanding broadband connectivity, which is by itself, a major pillar of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), devised in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo chaired the committee that formulated the ESP. Under the Plan, 774,000 direct jobs were created in the Special Public Works Programme that had a minimum of 1,000 young Nigerians per local government. This was regarded as the largest public works programme ever undertaken by any administration in Nigeria. So far, the youth make up the largest chunk of beneficiaries of the various stimulus packages in the ESP.

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During the EndSARS protest, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was very outspoken. He empathized and showed compassion with the youth. He took it upon himself to apologize to the youth, and through his efforts sweeping changes were made. There was overhaul in the security architecture, especially in the Nigeria Police Force, which led to the disbandment of the notorious Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) unit. Judicial panels of inquiries were equally set up to investigate allegations of human rights violations by members of the Force and other security agencies.

The recommendations of the panels are at various stages of implementation. Several victims have received monetary compensation awarded to them by the panels. Police personnel found wanting have also been prosecuted, and the process is still ongoing.

In some states such as Ebonyi, the panel recommended the payment of 189 million naira to victims of extra-judicial killings;
Bayelsa awarded 21 billion naira; 770,985,800 million naira was awarded by the panel in Imo; Rivers awarded 1billion naira. Ondo paid 755million naira; Abia 511million naira; Ogun 218million naira; Plateau 152million naira and Lagos 262million naira, while Ekiti is paying 20.8million naira.

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It is quite important to note that the success recorded thus far in the quest for justice for victims of police brutality would not have come cheap without the commitment of the Vice President in following up on the activities of the panels across the country.

Therefore, in appreciating Prof. Osinbajo’s efforts at bettering the lots of youth in the country, one can only hope that those who are warming up for another protest to commemorate EndSARS anniversary, would heed his advice and shelve the protest, which according to the Osinbajo-led NEC, may likely be hijacked by criminal elements to foment trouble.

The youth are called upon to give the government time to unfold more laudable programmes and policies that have been carefully put together for their benefits. They should equally note that progress cannot be made in an atmosphere of hostility. They should adopt more peaceful and civilized approaches towards expressing their grievances. The Buhari administration has over time proven to be a government that listens and acts upon the yearnings of the citizens.

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According to reports, the federal government has recently disclosed plans to create 21 million jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty in its new National Development Plan (2021-2025). This is a laudable step that should be accorded the benefit of time to materialize.

Conclusively, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s sterling performance in the area of youth development is as a result of the trust and confidence President Muhammadu Buhari has reposed in him, without which nothing would have been achieved.

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Nigeria

Queen Josephine Steps Down as Chairperson Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Wives Association after years of meritorious service

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It was a moment full of emotions, celebration, and expressions of love and gratitude as the tenure of the Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom, Her Royal Majesty Dr. (Barr) Dame, Evangelist Josephine Diete-Spiff, came to an end as the Chairperson of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Wives Association (BSTWA).

Queen Josephine, who also doubles as the President of the Niger Delta Royal Queens Initiative, subsequently handed over the Secretariat to the new leadership after occupying the Royal position for eight (8) years, from 2014 to 2022. The Royal Queens in Bayelsa State described her tenor as incredibly impactful and the best in leadership ever seen.

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She spoke during the handing over ceremony at the Traditional Rulers Council office complex in Yenagoa on Thursday, April 22, 2022. Queen Diete-Spiff expressed her profound gratitude to their Excellencies Senator Henry Seriake Dickson and Senator Douye Diri for their benevolence, adding that she stayed in office for eight years instead of the usual four years by God’s providence.

She also thanked and appreciated the Royal Queens of Bayelsa State for their support throughout her tenure as the Chairperson.

Queen Diete-Spiff said, “I have called this meeting to let you know that I am stepping aside; my tenure ought to have ended four years ago, but by God’s providence and the pleasure of their Excellencies, Senator Seriake Dickson and Senator Douye Diri to whom I am grateful, I have stayed this long as Chairperson of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Wives Association. I have occupied this position for eight years.

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“Thank you, my Queens. I appreciate you all for the period you served with me and the support you gave me. I cannot thank you enough. My special thanks to our Secretary, Her Majesty Tecy Diongoli, for her kindness, for being fantastic at her job, and for superbly holding her position. For without her, the ride would have been more turbulent.

“I thank you all who showed up today and those who gave their apologies because of the short notice. Your collaboration made things easy for the secretariate. The association could not have functioned without you because if meetings and programs are called and no one shows up, there will be no leadership. I urge you to give the same support to the new Chairperson of our organization because the administration cannot be offered in isolation from the people. Meanwhile, I appreciate you all for all you did that made my tenure as Chairperson of BSTWA successful.

“Going forward, as the President of the Queens of the Niger Delta, I hope to still carry you, my Queens, along with me at that level. As Bayelsa Queens, you all will still be part of our occasions, programs, and events. So, I am still with you all, a part of you. After all, I am a Bayelsa woman, I am a Bayelsa Queen.

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“Nonetheless, I am still here to encourage the new Chairperson if she desires, and I pray that you all will also give her the needed support. If you ever need any advice or need my collaboration, please don’t hesitate to call me. I will be glad to give you as much support as you require.”

Highlighting her legacies while in office, the Twon Brass Queen said she created a slogan and an anthem for the organization, instituted a constitution and registered the organization in the state as a social and developmental organization.

According to her, she enlarged the organization from only first-class to include other classifications, giving every Royal home recognition in the organization, instituted a financial system, dress code that befits Royalty and held seminars and conferences that taught the Queen ethical behaviour, trade, self-esteem, self-reliance, public conduct, harnessing peaceful domains, supporting women and children development.

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The Royal Queen further noted that she created government recognition for the organization, gave widowed queens a pride of place by retaining their recognition in the organization, supported Queens that needed legal, financial, and social help, free and gave some disadvantaged children from their domains free scholarship to study in her school.

She instituted and formed the Niger Delta Royal Queens Initiative, where she is presently the pioneer President and caters for widows and the physically challenged through her foundation and office.

In a goodwill message, Secretary BSTWA, HRM Queen Okpoitari Diongoli, said the Royal Queens feel so bad that Queen Josephine is stepping aside, adding that they know the great impact she has created in their lives.

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“We are grateful for your support, showcasing us as royal queens of Bayelsa State. Your coming on board made the state government recognize the Queens. Ordinary, before now, the queens are never invited to State events and programs, except they attend with their husbands, their King. But today, the reality is different, as the Queens are now rightly recognized.

The Queen of Ikianbiri in the Bomo Kingdom, HRH, Dr Justina Lere Zalakoro, noted that Queen Josephine is a woman that wants every other person to have the knowledge she has and appealed to her to always guide the new Chairperson on areas she may miss.

She said, “We pray that you stay much longer, but it is not within our reach to say so. You carried us along; you exposed us. Those of us that were in the Creeks without anybody knowing us, you brought us out, and today, we are recognized in the state.

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“We have made many friends outside the state. Especially me, I have up to five queens from other states as friends. It is your doing. The ideas you brought, the knowledge you gave us, we shall continue with it and learn from you.”

In her speech, the Queen of Anyama, Ogbia Community, HRH Queen Pat Agala, said that all the good works Queen Josephine had done for the Royal Queens of Bayelsa State cannot be overemphasized, adding that God is lifting her higher as she is leaving as the Chairperson.

“We appreciate you for making us to feel like somebody in the society, for making our husbands to love us the more. These days, our husbands are no more going out with friends because you brought us out; you made us to know our rights, teaching us how to dress, personal conduct, and how to speak in public.

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“You never segregated anybody; you never discriminated against anybody. You didn’t look at our status, but you loved us. You believed in us; you worked with us”, she added.

Also, the Queen of Gbarain kingdom, HRM Queen Faye Frank Okiakpe, said that Queen Josephine had been a good chairperson who made herself available for the queens to have access to and has treated everyone equally.

“I know with the testimonies of her works, she will be a great leader to the whole Niger Delta, and I know she will do well, she emphasised.”

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