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Gov of Anambra State ,His Excellency Willie Obiano Presents 2018 Budget : Full Speech

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Full Speech of The 2018 Budget Presented by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, to the Honourable Members of the Anambra State House of Assembly on Thursday, November 30, 2017.

Protocol

Your Excellency, the Deputy Governor,
The Right Honourable Speaker, Honourable Deputy Speaker,
Principal Officers of the House and other Honourable
Members of the Anambra State House of Assembly,
The Chief Judge of Anambra State,
The Secretary to the State Government,
The Chief of Staff,
The Head of Service,
Honourable Commissioners,
Special Advisers to the Governor,
The Clerk of the House,
Permanent Secretaries,
Traditional Rulers,
Members of the Press,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning.

1. With a heart full of gratitude, I stand before you today to present my administration’s Draft Estimate and Roadmap for the next fiscal year.

2. Madam Speaker and Honourable Members of this great citadel of democracy, the outgoing year has been a phenomenal year for Ndi Anambra for so many reasons.

3. It is a year in which our great state took its rightful place as Light of the Nation by establishing itself as the shining light of Nigeria’s nascent democracy.

4. Yes, We set new records in enthroning popular democracy and yet another enviable record in managing the grievances and rancour that often lead to costly legal battles after each election in Nigeria.

5. Ndi Anambra, we have done great honour to our dear state and ourselves with the degree of enlightenment, decency and decorum that we brought to bear on the last gubernatorial election and in the commendable display of brotherly love and great team spirit by my fellow contestants who did not waste time to call and congratulate me on my re-election.

6. That was an epic moment for Anambra State and a historic milestone for Nigeria. It is a watershed in our political evolution as a people bound together by history, culture and blood! That moment will remain evergreen in my memory and I am grateful to you all for bringing it to pass. Dalunu rinne!

7. I have said it before but it is important that I say it again here – Anambra State belongs to all of us.

8. So, we are all winners. Therefore, we must come together and build a proud and prosperous state!

9. A Review of the 2017 Fiscal Year

10. Madam Speaker and Honourable Members, the outgoing year stands out in my reckoning as the year in which Anambra State showed a remarkable capacity to take charge of its own affairs. Like the year before it, the nation’s economy groaned under the crushing weight of recession.

11. The parlous state of the economy showed its unpleasant face on all sectors as recession ravaged households and businesses leading to more hardship for the citizens. All over Nigeria, families devised new survival strategies to save their loved ones from the after effects of shrinking incomes and dying dreams.

12. But Madam Speaker and honourable lawmakers, our story is different in Anambra State. We had made adequate preparation to keep the levers of governance grinding, delivering on our basic promises to Ndi Anambra.

13. That is why in a year that Nigeria recorded a slip in her GDP, our beloved state grew her GDP by 1% from N3.7trn to N3.8trn. This is a clear demonstration of our capacity to fight back from the bottom with swift decision making, clear-headed thinking and masterful policy implementation.

14. Indeed, my Team and I took decisive steps to cushion the effects of recession when we launched a comprehensive Economic Stimulus Package to reflate our sub-national economy and put more money in the hands of our people.

15. We suspended taxes and pumped more money into SMEs and other growth areas of the economy. We launched the N20m Choose-your-Projects initiative to bring financial relief to many households and restore the confidence of the people in the government. All these measures prepared the path for the eventual growth we recorded in our GDP.

16. Madam Speaker and Honourable Lawmakers, My Team and I have kept an eye on the prize. We are focused on the realization of my administration’s Vision and Mission Statements through a faithful implementation of my Economic Blueprint, made up of the 5 Pillars and 14 Enablers.

17. We did not allow the despair in the economic environment to distract us for one moment. We ensured that Anambra retained its status as Nigeria’s safest state. We made sure that not a single successful kidnap operation took place within the borders of Anambra State.

18. Our success in providing security has led to a sharp rise in the number of investors that are coming into Anambra State and an increase of about 70% in the hospitality industry as more hotels open up in Awka leading to the creation of jobs and more jobs!

19. In the period under review, we sustained our giant strides in Agriculture with the bold entry of JOSAN Integrated Rice Farms and Mills Limited in Ufuma. This ultramodern integrated farm has helped our dear state to increase our annual rice production capacity from 244,235.25 metric tonnes to 322,000 metric tonnes per annum.

20. Thus in four years, we have grown our rice production from 80,000 metric tonnes per annum to 322,000 metric tonnes, thereby surpassing our annual rice consumption rate of 320,000 metric tonnes. Madam Speaker, this is no mean achievement.

21. We also continued the export of our farm produce with more consignments airlifted in October this year to the United Kingdom. But perhaps more importantly, Madam Speaker, we eventually succeeded in creating a synergy between Delfarms Limited in Igbariam with SABMiller Breweries in Onitsha for the supply of sorghum to SABMiller’s 2.7 hectolitres brewery. This will lead to jobs, jobs jobs!

22. Similarly, our special attention to Agriculture has continued to attract more people into farming. We have grown our farmers’ data base from 97,487 in 2016 to 106,000 famersthis year, spread across the agricultural belt. This is a very positive development.

23. Madam Speaker and Honourable Lawmakers, I am delighted to report here that my administration maintained a fairly competitive edge in Education during the period.

24. Contrary to the wild claims by some people, Anambra has made steady progress in Education in the past four years; rising from a 65.07% success rate among students with 5 credits including English and Maths in NECO Exams in 2015 to 75.31% this year.

25. We have continued to invest in education in three key areas – Students Welfare, Infrastructural Development and Teachers Welfare.

26. It is obviously for this reason that our own Clement Nwoye Okodo won the Overall Best Primary School Teacher in Nigeria this year. Again, this is something to be proud of.

27. Our story is no less fascinating in the Health Sector where we have flagged off the Universal Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that Ndi Anambra have access to quality healthcare, regardless of whether one is rich or poor.

28. We have earmarked the sum of N200m and 10 Million Euros obtained as a grant from the European Union for the full activation of this scheme.

29. At the same time, the Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has come into existence. The Agency has a mandate to restructure, coordinate and manage healthcare activities in Anambra State under one umbrella.

30. We figure that running our Healthcare Sector through institutions like this Agency will enhance our effectiveness and efficiency in delivering good health to our people.

31. Madam Speaker and Honourable Lawmakers, I am proud to report to Ndi Anambra once again that my administration did not drop the ball in the construction of roads and bridges in the outgoing fiscal year. Madam Speaker, I make bold to say that we actually surpassed the modest expectation imposed on us by the painful pangs of recession in the country.

32. It is important to note here that at the onset of this administration, I made it very clear that I was interested in building roads that would have economic importance.

33. Madam Speaker, I have kept my promise with the construction of key bridges and roads leading to our oilfields, the agricultural belt and the industrial clusters.

34. In more specific terms, Madam Speaker, we inherited 101 roads from my predecessor and completed 51 of them. We inherited 6 bridges and completed 3 of them. We awarded 94 new roads and completed 20 of them. We also awarded 12 new bridges and completed 5 of them.

35. So, at a most difficult period when Nigeria has witnessed the worst economic recession, my administration has completed 71 roads and 8 bridges in four years. More roads are being added to this list as I speak.

36. Madam Speaker and Honourable Lawmakers, I am also delighted to report here that the first round of our highly acclaimed N20m Community Choose-Your-Project Initiative has almost been concluded with various communities already putting their chosen projects to use.

37. Consequently, the second round of the initiative has commenced in earnest bringing it to N40m per community. The beauty of this idea remains its capacity to touch each community in a way that is special to it and deliver the democratic promise of my administration.

38. In all, the implementation of the first round of the projects has created over 2000 direct jobs. I think we should all be proud of this initiative too.

39. Madam Speaker and Honourable lawmakers, another source of pride to my Team and I is the Light-up Anambra Campaign and the glamour it has brought to our cities and towns at night. Indeed, any visitor to Anambra State who arrives at night will not have any second thoughts about the greatness of our dear state.

40. The dazzling streetlights that splash endless rays of light across our streets and highways announce the readiness of our people to engage the world on our own terms. In the meantime, we have taken delivery of over 400 units of new transformers and I have no doubt that they will boost our capacity in this regard.

41. So, this Christmas, Madam Speaker, Anambra will transform into one megacity of light at night. With a water-tight security and a well-lit and smooth network of roads, the time has come to explore the wonders of Anambra night.

42. The Anambra Airport City Project is one big idea that finally took a definite shape in the outgoing fiscal year, Madam Speaker.

43. The Project is my administration’s biggest leap of the imagination and our strongest link to the future. It has all the potentials to unlock the economic growth of the South East region and position Anambra State as the leading hub in the aviation industry in Africa.

44. Already, the Chinese investors behind this project have secured a $600m guarantee from HSBC to ensure that the project is executed to the letter. The good news is that work has since commenced on the project location in Umueri. And as we all know, the state is not putting a kobo into the project. Madam Speaker, Anambra State is truly on the rise!

45. I also think that it is important to remember that my Team and I have kept our promise to Anambra workers. In the midst of extremities, we have continued to pay salaries and pensions as and when due.

46. We even took a step further when we cleared the arrears of pensions and gratuity that were owed the former staff of ABS and National Light since the creation of this state.

47. Indeed, we have continued to remind Ndi Anambra in more ways than one that this administration is all about the people. That is why we have committed to increasing the salary of workers in the coming year. And by the grace of God, we shall keep that promise.

THE 2018 BUDGET

Madam Speaker and Honourable Lawmakers, over the last four years, working closely with you all in this hallowed chamber, we have been able to jointly address key socio-economic challenges impacting our dear state.

Under my watch, our State has experienced sustained growth and development in spite of a challenging macroeconomic environment.

Our performance was further re-emphasized during the recently concluded election when Ndi Anambra reaffirmed their confidence in my administration by voting landslide in favour of our Great Party, APGA.

Madam Speaker, this massive endorsement by Ndi Anambra conveys an underlying message to our government; which is…

“We Have Done Well but WE EXPECT MORE”.

This message is also synonymous with our campaign slogan, which states “Better today. Greater tomorrow”.

Therefore, in line with my promise to build a greater tomorrow, I present to this great Assembly the Draft 2018 budget estimate titled “the Budget for Value-for-Money, Economic Diversification and Job Creation”. The proposed budget size is N166.9bn, representing a 43% increase on the current year’s budget. Madam Speaker, this expansionary budget illustrates my administration’s resolve to continue to deliver the dividends of good governance to the people of Anambra.

The FY2018 Budget Policy Thrusts

Madam Speaker and Honourable Members, the 2018 draft budget estimate was created in line with the following policy thrusts:

a. Value-for-Money: To succeed during the 2018 fiscal year, we must carefully assess all activities and make difficult trade-offs to ensure we focus solely on implementing projects and programs that provide commensurate value to Ndi Anambra. The underlying principle going forward shall be… “Doing Even More with Less”. There will be a ZERO tolerance for corruption and corrupt practices as any government official found to be engaged in such will face the brunt of the law.

b. Economic Diversification: Secondly, the objective is to ensure that Anambra attains fiscal independence over the next four years i.e. our internally generated revenues should be able cover our recurrent expenditure with the balance to support capital interventions. We hope to aggressively embark on public finance reforms to optimize and strengthen our tax administration processes.

c. Job Creation: Thirdly, the primary outcome of all our interventions will be to create as many jobs as possible to ensure that we tackle unemployment, underemployment and more importantly, provide a means of livelihood for the poor and vulnerable in our dear state.

d. Strategic Collaborations: Fourthly, we hope to develop stronger ties with the Federal Government MDAs and key Development Partners (such as the World Bank, European Union, United Nations System, etc.) to jointly intervene in Social Investments, Works & Infrastructure, Education, Healthcare and Environment sectors of our economy. To achieve this, we have aligned this budget to the National Economic Recovery & Growth Plan and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

e. Public-Private-Partnerships: And finally,our fifth target outcome will be to strengthen and refocus our Public-Private-Partnership Strategy. Significant resources will be channelled towards targeted promotional processes to attract large scale export-driven investments across our key economic pillars in the State.

Basis and Assumptions for the Draft FY2018 Budget Estimate:
As we plan for the FY2018, our budget estimates are predicated on the following assumptions:

1. We projected a Crude oil price benchmark of US$43/bbl and an average daily production of 2.1m barrels, this implies a projected monthly FAAC of N2.52bn/month compared with 2017 YTD average of N2.15bn. This is slightly conservative compared to Federal Government’s crude oil benchmark price of US$45/bbl and 2.3m bbl/d;

2. Value Added Tax revenues is projected at N1.0bn monthly, representing a ~9% growth on 2017 YTD average of N920m;

3. Internally Generated Revenues are projected at N2.5bn monthly compared with the current run rate of N1.35bn monthly. To achieve this, we expect to aggressively focus on growing our tax database, optimizing our IGR windows while eliminating leakages through the deployment of technology. Madam Speaker, it is important to note that there will be no increases in taxes & levies.

4. Grants and Counterpart funds are estimated at N20bn;

5. Other Capital Receipts comprising of concessionary debt financing for our social sectors is estimated at N18.4bn;

6. We also expect to receive Reimbursements and Refunds from Federal Government for works done on Federal roads and Paris Club payments, this figure is estimated at N28bn of the 43.8bn owed to the State;

7. While, we have provided N15bn fordomestic debt financing comprising of single digit concessionary program lending for interventions in Agriculture, Youth Empowerment and the MSME space;

8. Personnel costs are estimated at N21.6bn vs. 2017E of N20.4bn. This figure will accommodate new hires into the civil service, replacement of retired teachers, promotions and appointments.

9. Social Benefits and Contributions including (Pensions, Gratuities and group life insurance) are projected at N13.2bn.

10. While total Overheads are estimated at N21.2bn to accommodate increased subventions to Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu University, its teaching hospital and the newly accredited Polytechnic in Mbakwu, Awka North, among others.

FY2018 Budget Envelope

Once more, Madam Speaker and Honourable members, we are proposing a budget size of N166.9bn, of which the state expects to spend N63.9bn on Recurrent Expenditure and N103.1bn on Capital Expenditure to drive our policy thrusts of “Value-for-Money, Economic Diversification and Job Creation”.

It also highlights the significant infrastructural development expected in 2018, leveraging on the successful stability in our domestic economy during the challenging periods in 2016/2017.

This budget is the first meaningful step towards consolidation of our previous performance to transform Anambra into a hub for business and investments as well as the poster-boy for inclusiveness and sustainable development in Nigeria.

Here are a few highlights of our Sectoral Capital Plans:

Roads & Infrastructure

.​Our continued intervention in Roads and Bridges, which will always be a key strategic focus of my administration, is estimated at N27.93bn of which Road construction and rehabilitation will gulp N25.7bn, completing approximately 150km of roads across the State. We have also budgeted N1.2bn for Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA) to procure earthmoving equipment and support on-going reconstruction and rehabilitation of rural/community roads. We have also taken the unique step of constructing our own Asphalt Plant which, once operational, would significantly reduce the cost of road construction in the State by at least 20%. Consequently, we have made provision for the installation of Traffic Lights on strategic roads to reduce traffic congestion significantly in the State.

Agriculture and related Sectors

.​In agriculture, we are aiming to sustain the current successes achieved in the last four (4) years by implementing a two (2) pronged strategy of (i) facilitating private sector and export-driven large scale agro-allied investments; and (ii) empowerment of small scale farmers in the State, consequently alleviating poverty as well as creating jobs. To achieve this, we have developed the Community Agriculture Land Development Project where we expect to develop over 1,500 hectares of land across the three (3) senatorial zones of the State. We shall augment this by allocating over N700m to the procurement of agro inputs, including seedlings and fertilizers, to support our farmers.

Being the largest creator of jobs, we intend to harness this by implementing a number of youth orientated empowerment schemes such as the Youth Empowerment Scheme for fish farming, animal husbandry and crop production as well as the development of a world-class Fingerling Production Facility, enabling the State to leverage on its competitive advantage in fish production. Finally, we shall continue to implement a number of developmental programs in conjunction with our development partners (Central Bank of Nigeria, FADAMA and IFAD) to ensure our programs and policies in Agriculture are implemented. To achieve this we have allocated the sum of N3.8bn to the Agricultural Sector.

Education
.​To ensure that we continue to deliver on credible and globally competitive education, we must ensure that this sector is properly funded and catered for. Hence, we are projecting a total capital expenditure spend of N9.5bn in Education spread across some of the following areas:
• N1.1bn counterpart fund for UBEC,
• creation of a N1bn Education Development Fund; and
• N1.2 World Bank Assisted State Education Program & Intervention Project (SEPIP); among a few others.
There shall also be significant funds expended on the improvement of infrastructure and institutionalization of accreditation program in strategic universities/colleges and polytechnics in the State.

Youth Empowerment & Development
.​Considering that the current labour market nationally is currently in a dire state, my administration shall ensure that Youth Empowerment is a Key Covenant between us and the people we govern in the 2018 Fiscal Year. Providing meaningful employment opportunities to our teeming youths is vital toensuring the continued socio-economic growth of the State as well as sustaining the current security narrative in the State. The main driver in achieving this would be through the Youth Entrepreneurship & Empowerment Program where we have allocated N5bn to empower up to 10,000 youths through vocational, agricultural and artisan training programs as well as the provision of interest-free start-up capital to commence their businesses.

Health
.​In the health sector, my administration will continue to embark on numerous strategic developmental initiatives aimed at improving the quality of healthcare services for NdiAnambra. Will shall boost the Anambra State Universal Health Insurance Scheme with an additional N2bn, to ensure adequate implementation of the program state-wide, specifically providing cover for the downtrodden and most vulnerable. We shall also utilize over N1bn in Constructing & Equippingthe Anambra State University Teaching Hospital and the Specialist Diagnostic Centerrespectively. To achieve this and other strategic interventions in Health, we have budgeted N7.8bn.

Small & Medium Enterprises Development
.​Considering that MSMEs are the engine room of any economy, we have allotted over N1bn for Micro Small & Medium Enterprise Funding Programs to be implemented through the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) for 2018, consolidating on the funding success of 2017 where over 50,000 jobs were created through this funding program. We shall also commence the development of a modern all-inclusive SME Industrial Park in the State.

Water Resources and Public Utilities
.​In the area of Water resources and Public utilities, we will complete the Onitsha Water Scheme, ensuring that over 5,000 households have access to pipe-borne water. We shall also invest heavily in the development of the greater Awka Water Development Scheme as well as the Nnewi Water Development Scheme. Nonetheless, we shall continue to invest heavily in Rural Water Rehabilitation Scheme across the State. We shall also sustain our considerable achievements in our “Light-Up AnambraProgram” and other Rural Electrification Schemes, which has been effective in tackling insecurity as well as creating a “Night-Life Economy” hitherto not seen in the State. To achieve this and more we are allocating N5.1bn.

Community Social Development Program
.​The far reaching benefits of the “N20 Million Community-Choose-Your-Own-Project” initiative cannot be over emphasised. Through the novel project, my administration has been able to give Ndi Anambra a sense of belonging as it has positively impacted all 181 communities in the State, increasing economic activity across the nooks and crannies in the State as well as creating jobs for the youth and unemployed. This unique program has had such a tremendous effect within the State that other States have begun to replicate it. We shall take this Program to the next level in the coming year. We have budgeted N7.5bn for the second phase of this initiative.

Conclusion
Madam Speaker and Honourable Lawmakers, if you cast your minds back a little, you may recall that our 2017 Budget was titled – “Budget for Economic Recovery and Inclusive Growth.” This year, we have tabled before you a budget titled – “Value-for-Money, Economic Diversification and Job Creation.” Madam Speaker, with the tremendous achievement we recorded in our GDP in the outgoing year, it is only logical that this budget should focus on “Economic diversification and Job Creation.” Therefore, this is a budget of hope. It looks beyond the overcast of recession in the horizon at the moment to a brighter future which we can all collectively bring about with our creativity, quickness of thought and audacity to surmount challenges.

Madam Speaker, this budget is in every sense, a-call-to-arms. It places our future in our own hands. It urges us to stand tall and take charge of our lives. It encourages us to look behind the present clouds of economic difficulties to see the silver lining in the skies.

I have no doubt whatsoever that this budget will serve as an important instrument, guiding the activities of the government and steering conversations in the areas that will lead to growth and productivity in our sub-national economy.
I therefore appeal for accelerated consideration and eventual passage of the budget to ensure a timely take off of implementation.

God Bless Anambra State
God Bless Nigeria
Willie Obiano
Governor

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2019: Buhari Launches Unity Band, Preaches Peace

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President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the “Unity Band” which is aimed at keeping Nigerians united ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The President made the launching on Thursday at an event organised by the Good Governance Ambassadors of Nigeria (GOGAN), in Abuja.
He wants Nigerians to wear the wristband as a sign of resolve to stop the violence that occurred in previous elections.
He said, “By the grace of God, we shall remain strong and united, our country has passed through difficult times, on occasions threatening the foundations of our unity, but with the help of God, we have always emerged from each crisis stronger.

“There is no doubt that we still have pockets of issues that question our unity, but we are convinced that, with the determination of all Nigerians, we shall remain strong and united.
“The Buhari Unity Band is a visual and token symbol of our resolve to live in unity as one and to preach the message of unity wherever we live”.
The launch of the wristbands comes three days to the kick off of the campaigns of the 2019 elections which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fixed for November 18, 2018.

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Goodluck Jonathan to release autobiography on his final moments as president

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By Oludolapo Adelana

Former president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will release his autobiography, My Transition Hours, on November 20, 2018.
The book which will focus on Jonathan’s time as Nigeria’s president will be launched on his 61st birthday.
The official book launch which will hold at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, will have President Muhammadu Buhari as the Special Guest of Honour and former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the Chairman of the Occasion.

Other persons expected at the event include John Mahama, former President of Ghana; former Nigerian Head of States; General Yakubu Gowon, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalam Abubakar; former Nigerian Vice Presidents; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo.
The book will be reviewed by Justice Salihu Alfa-Belgore, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, former Chief of Defence Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma as the Chief Book Presenter and Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson as the Chief Host.
Other special guests include Alassane Ouattara, President of Cote D’Ivoire; Alpha Conde, President of Guinea; Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Faure Gnassingbe, President of Togo; Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya; Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe; Adama Barrow, President of Gambia; Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger; Ibrahim Keita, President of Mali. The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and the United Nations Secretary-General Representative for West Africa and the Shel, Ambassador Ibn Chambers are also expected to be in attendance.

Jonathan was Nigeria’s president from 2010 to 2015. He was defeated at the 2015 polls by Muhammadu Buhari.


Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.

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Winner’s Chapel church Dartford, London Denies ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ After Report

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An ITV investigation claims the Winner’s Chapel in Dartford has offered gay conversion therapy

REVEALED: Pastor Gbenga Samuel (Photo credit: ITV)

A LONDON-based church has denied engaging in so-called gay conversion therapy after an undercover reporter claimed leaders said God could “fix” him.
The news was revealed in a report from ITV, where a journalist went undercover at Winner’s Chapel in Dartford.
The unnamed reporter who featured in a the television broadcast on Monday night, said: “I went through hours of counselling and prayer sessions, all directed at ridding me of my homosexuality.

“Sometimes the prayers in themselves seemed harmless, such as for God to direct me and guide me.
“I felt it changed from something that could have been comforting to something sinister and potentially traumatising.”
The journalist claims that Winner’s Chapel pastor Gbenga Samuel began praying ‘heavily’, shouting, and spinning him around on the floor within an hour or so of first meeting him.
The reporter, who attended the church for two months, was reportedly told he needed a “complete mind reorientation”.
Despite the damning footage, the church has said the church takes “inclusion and diversity very seriously,” and their activities are lawful and follow the “biblical teachings of love for everyone regardless of their belief, gender, background or sexual orientation”.
The church said it would carry out an internal investigation in to ITV’s findings, but denied engaging in any form of gay conversion therapy.

 

 

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RE: APGA A CATHOLIC PARTY OR A PARTY FOR THE CATHOLICS!-RESPONSE TO THE SPONSORED ARTICLE WITH THE CAPTION ABOVE MEANT TO DIVIDE ANAMBRA ALONG RELIGIOUS LINES.

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Anambra State the light of our Nation Nigeria is too complex and stable for a few extremists to toy with along religious lines. After reading the Sun Newspaper advert of October 20, 2018, we were convinced that some felons are out to tarnish the good work of democracy that has kept Anambra State ahead of other states in the country.

We read with disgust, the above titled advert which appeared in the Sun Newspaper of October 30, 2014. A thorough perusal of the advert shows that it is the continuation of the war against Anambra state now hiding under the cloak of religion.

In the said advert, they tried to portray Anambra state as an unstable state whose cabinet and other positions in the government were occupied by 80% Catholics.

The accusation is totally false and was calculated to diminish Anambra State and dredge us in religious crises.

We shall take the points they wickedly raised serially.

A. POLITICAL APPOINTMENT

It is not in doubt that the current Deputy Governor of Anambra state is a proud Anglican. We can take it further to still confirm that the Chief Protocol to His Excellency, Uzuegbunam Okagbue who also double as the Deputy Chief of Staff is a proud Anglican. So numerous to mention are Commissioners, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, SAs and other appointees in this government are proudly Anglican.

Going back memory lane, we have the capacity to open up the lies from the pit of hell of some disgruntled elements who do not wish Anambra state well.

Prof. Stella Chinyere Okunna, who tripled to the irritation of many, as the Chief of Staff to the former Governor; Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning; as well as the Chairman, Good Governance Group. Prof. Okunna is an Anglican.

Mrs. Vivian Nwandu was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Budget and Economic PlanningPlanning and also a member of the Good Governance Group and, in fact, the de facto Deputy Chief of Staff is an Anglican.

Kindly peruse through the list of former Anambra state appointees and the denomination they belonged to.

1. Mr. Oseloka Obaze, former Secretary to State Government Catholic
2. Stella Okunna, former Chief of Staff and Comm. for Economic Planning/Budget Anglican
3. Peter Afuba, former Comm. for Justice and Attorney General Catholic
4. Azuka Enemo, former Comm. for Local Government Anglican
5. Lawrence Ikeakor, former Comm. for Health, Anglican
6. Henrietta Agbata, former Comm for Women Affairs Anglican
7. Callistus Ilozumba, former Comm.for Works Catholic
8. Edozie Aroh, former Comm. for Youths and Sports, Anglican
9. Sebastian Okoye, former Comm. for Environment Catholic
10. Ohamobi Chike, former Comm for Transport, Catholic
11. Chibunna Okoli Akirika ,former Comm. for Lands Anglican
12. Engr. Patrick Obi, former Comm. for Housing, Catholic
13. Ngozi Okoye, former Comm. for Finance Anglican/Pent
14. Emeka Nwankwu, former Comm. for Utilities Catholic
15. Uju Okeke, former Comm. for Education, Catholic
16. Okoli Christopher, former Comm. for Science and Tech, Anglican
17. Ndubisi Menakaya , former Comm. for Agriculture, Anglican
18. Vivian Nwandu, former Special Adviser on MDG, Anglican
19. Godfrey Muotolu, former Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Matters, Catholic
20. Emenike, Obi, former Principal Secretary to the Governor Catholic
21. Oby Nwankwo, Perm. Sec. Govt. House, Anglican
22. Ferdinand Obi Permanent Secretary/closest aide Anglican

23 Mr George Asuegbu Ijezi (Secretary) Anglican
24. Barr Gabriel Onyeozili Anglican
25. Dr (Mrs) Kate Obioji Catholic
26. Mrs Pauline Ndibe Catholic
27. Mr. Shedrach Onuigbo Anglican

C. 1 JUDICIARY

Those that placed the advert also said that over 80% of Judges in Anambra State were Catholics, here are the statistics:

Chief Judges in Anambra state in the last dispensation.

1. Justice Chuka Okoli Anglican
2. Justice Nri Ezedi (appointed by Obi) Anglican
3. Justice Emeka Nzegwu (appointed by Obi) Anglican
4. Justice Paul Obidigwe (appointed by Obi) Anglican
5. Justice Peter Umeadi (appointed by Obi) Catholic
Anambra State Judiciary has 18 Judges. The under listed, 10 in number, belong to Anglican faith, while the rest belong to Catholic and other faiths:

1. Justice Ijeoma Onwuamaegbu Anglican
2. Justice O.M Anyachebelu Anglican
3. Justice J.I Nweze Anglican
4. Justice O.C. Amaechina Anglican
5. Justice P.C Obiora Anglican
6. Justice V. N Agbata Anglican
7. Justice G.C Anulude Anglican
8. Justice Ike Ogu Anglican
9. Justice C.C Okaa Anglican
10. Justice Otti Anglican

C.2 JUDICIARY

The Customary Court of Appeal became functional in Anambra State during the last dispensation. The two Presidents of the court appointed then were Anglican!

1. Justice Chinwe Amaechi Anglican.
2. Justice Samuel Okoye Anglican

C.3 JUDICIARY

The Magistrates Cadre has far more Anglicans than Catholics and other denominations put together..

D. PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CHURCH ON HEALTH

Anambra state supports Anglican hospitals that did not fall under the original hospitals slated for assistance, namely, Faith Hospital and Maternity owned by the Anglican Diocese of Awka. Another one is the Amichi Diocesan Hospital. Anambra state also assisted hospitals owned by the Pentecostal fellowship, an example being Jesus the Physician Hospital at Awka.

In Anambra state partnership with the Churches to build and rebuild institutions, the state built 10 maternities and four of them were for the Anglican Church and are located in:

1. Umueje, Anyamelum L.G.A
2. Awba-Ofenmili, Akwa North L.G.A
3. Ihiala, Ihiala L.G.A
4. Umunze, Orumba South L.G.A

E. RETURN OF SCHOOLS

On the return of schools, there was no way any particular denomination was favoured. Schools taken over by Government in 1970 were all gazetted and it was those schools that were returned. Anglican Church benefitted more from some local Authority schools that were also returned to them. In few places there were disputes, Government set up a Committee to look into the challenges and resolve it.

Following the heroic return of schools, Anambra State Government gave to Catholic and Anglican Churches over 2 Billion Naira each to rehabilitate those schools and still dolling out millions every year to the curchrs in their partnership for a better Anambra. Anambra currently continued to pay the salaries of both tutorial and non-tutorial staff. This is now being adopted as a model across the globe.

Today, schools in Anambra come first in all external examinations. This is what Anambrarians should be celebrating rather than condone people who vilify the government who was the architect of it all.

F. CONTINUED SUPPORT TO THE CHURCH.

In line with the development agenda of the government, churches in Anambra State still benefits from the government. Below are the some of the financial assistance to some Anglican diocese in Anambra state.

1. Anglican Diocese of Aguata 5 Million for faith-based micro credit scheme/vehicle
2. Anglican Diocese of Ihiala 3 Million for faith-based micro credit/vehicle
3. Anglican Diocese of Amichi 3 Million for faith-based micro credit/vehicle
4. Anglican Diocese of Niger West 3 Million for faith-based micro credit/vehicle
5. Anglican Diocese of Mbamili a bus for their newly established secondary school
6. Other Anglican/ Methodist Dioceses and some other religious ​ ​denominations in the state benefitted

G. THOSE SENT TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR POLICY AND STRATEGIC STUDIES.

Among the Five persons sent to the Nigerian Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at Kuru, Plateau State by Anambra state government, only two were Catholic. They also insinuated that the state is paying catholic priests and bishops salaries. This is the worst blackmail any human can peddle again a peace living state as Anambra.

We know their plans which is to divide Anambra state along religious lines going into the general election. Their plans have failed because Anambra state in in the hand of the God Almighty. Support Anambra state. Support APGA, Support governances.

ALLIANCE FOR EQUITY AND JUSTICE.

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Governor Willie Obiano sends early Christmas Gift

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-Head of Service takes delivery of first Batch of Christmas Rice for Civil servants-

…distribution commence 19th November, 2018.

Anambra State Head of Service, *Barr. Harry Udu*, today at the State Secretariat Complex, received the first batch of Christmas Rice for onward distribution to Civil Servants across the state.

On ground to make the presentation was *Hon. Confidence Asodo,* The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Finance and Secretary (JAC) stated that this is one of the many ways His Excellency, *Governor Willie Obiano* is reaching out once again to the Civil Servants across the State.

Hon. Azodo who stated that the disbursement will commence on the 19th of November 2018, also disclosed that the Governor has further directed that the payment of leave allowances of Civil servants commence from the first week of December 2018 so as to ensure that all Civil servants receive all due packages before Christmas.

According to him, the state Government has procured over 100,000 bags of Anambra cultivated and processed rice for the civil servants.

*Barr. Harry Udu,* Thanked His Excellency for keeping to his promise of making the Christmas of the workers memorable despite the harsh economy and pledged the support and loyalty of the civil servants to the people’s Governor.

Addressing Journalists during the presentation, Anambra Billionaire businessman and Chairman CEO Anambra Rice Mills Limited /Stine Group, *Chief Akai Egwuonwu* (Ume-Ebube Agu Nigeria) emphasised that every grain of the rice to be presented were cultivated, harvested and processed here in Anambra State and appreciated the support the Willie Obiano administration has given to both the rice farmers and the processors. Promising to deliver the best quality as his company is known for.

“Governor Willie Obiano has always proven that the welfare of the workers comes first, hence his timely payment of Salaries and other welfare packages ”


-Ofoneme Daniel-Scott
Anambra State Secretariat Awka

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Obiano Commends Anambra Assembly for Overcoming Crisis

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The Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano has commended the members of the Anambra State House of Assembly for the mature and wise way they handled the minor misunderstanding that arose in the House on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
Speaking from Paris where he is on official tour with President Buhari, Governor Obiano commended the Speaker of the House, Hon Mrs Rita Maduagwu, the principal officers and other members of the House for rising to the acid test of true democracy and peacefully resolving the mild misunderstanding that erupted among them saying that the matter would have degenerated to something unpleasant if handled by a less competent crop of leaders.
The Governor expressed confidence in the ability of Anambra lawmakers to always resolve their differences in the truest tradition of representative democracy and forge stronger ties that would accelerate the development of the state.
He also expressed contentment with the assurances by the Speaker and the Principal Officers of the House that whatever grey areas that might be still lingering in the House would be amicably resolved in the next few days.
Speaking further, Governor Obiano assured that Anambra remains Nigeria’s most peaceful and safe state and that his administration would continue to work assiduously to ensure that the state maintains that status.

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BREAKING NEWS : Ikem Uzoezie In Failed Attempt To Impeach Hon. Rita Maduagwu, The Current Speaker House of Assembly.

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The attempt by some members of the Anambra state House of Assembly led by Hon. Ikem Uzoezie and Hon. Harford Oseke, Victor Okoye, etc to unlawfully impeach the current speaker of the state Assembly, Rtn Hon. Rita Mmaduawu proved abortive.

It was gathered that some aggrieved members of the state Assembly today initiated an impeachment process against the speaker of the House which they intend to extend against the executive governor of Anambra state ,Chief (Dr) Willie Obiano but the process became frustrated owing to its failure to get the required 2/3 majority as required by law.

Unfortunately for the aggrieved members of the House who felt that they didn’t make it for 3rd and 4th tenure because they didn’t get the support of their constituents , and therefore had resorted for an illegal impeachment process, failed to achieve their selfish interest when the symbol of authority was not on ground to authenticate their act.

Interestingly, good atmosphere shall soon return to the state Assembly with the status-quo in maintenance. With this, the attempt by political despradors to return Anambra state her dark anarchy state has failed.

The people of the state are requested to disregard the rumour from disgruntled elements who believe that they have succeeded in impeaching the speaker as it is both unfounded and abortive mission.

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Anambra innovation centre: Brainchild of Gov Obiano

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By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
It was a very arresting sight to behold as Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State paced about under the sweltering afternoon sun. The all-action Governor could not be held back by the scorching sun as he took personal charge of going from stand to stand inspecting creative craft works being exhibited by the students of the Government Technical Colleges in Anambra State. On display were prototype vehicles running on water, hydro-powered generators, red bricks, blocks, assorted robots, modern cooking utensils, sports gadgets, diverse confectioneries, ultra-modern furniture, building accessories etc.

The splendid event was the 2018 Anambra State Technical and Creativity Day organised by the Anambra State Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy in alliance with the Ministry of Basic Education.
The day marked the grand finale following a series of competitions in the fields of Technovation, script writing, acting, music and dancing.
The visibly satisfied Governor Obiano announced his plan to establish the Anambra Innovation Centre to be domiciled in any of the universities in Anambra State. The proposed centre will provide the much-cherished opportunity for smart tech-heads with bright ideas to explore their innate potentials.
The inspiration for Governor Obiano to initiate the Anambra Innovation Centre came from his recent visit to the United States where he undertook a working tour of the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Boston, Massachusetts. A real estate wonder, the Cambridge Innovation Centre (CIC)
is popularly hailed as the “community of entrepreneurs.” Founded in 1999 by the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the CIC houses such preeminent companies as Google, Maven Technologies that became a Yahoo subsidiary, Great Point Energy, HubSpot etc.
It is Governor Obiano’s plan that the Anambra Innovation Centre will replicate the feats of the CIC in this modern day that the service industries have overtaken the manufacturing sector.
The Anambra State government will, in the next fortnight, sponsor seven persons to the United States to embark on a study of the Cambridge Innovation Centre model. Among the seven persons designated for the study tour to America are the two youngest commissioners in the Anambra State cabinet, to wit, Mark Okoye, who is the 31-year-old Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget Development; and also, the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Bonaventure Enemali, who is equally aged 31. Government and non-government officials will make the trip to ensure a profound replication of the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Anambra State.
Governor Obiano had, from the very beginning, given pride of place to technical education in Anambra State by making it entirely tuition free. He added one technical school to the 11 he met when he came to power. He has ensured that all the courses of the 12 technical colleges were now accredited as opposed to the unaccredited status he met. The 7,500 technical students in Anambra State have been duly armed to conquer as was on display at the 2018 Technical and Creativity Day in Awka.
The youthful Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy, Bonaventure Enemali, stressed on the occasion: “The integration of the creative economy in my Ministry has opened up a new dimension in government’s efforts to effectively address the challenges facing the youths.” He revealed that the ministry was “collaborating with NGOs to fully realise the mandate of discovering, developing and deploying talents in youths.”
For the resourceful Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof Kate Omenugha, the collaboration between her ministry and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy “is in keeping with the state government’s vision of availing Anambra children education that is globally competitive.” She reiterated that through the governor’s intervention, 26 trade subjects have received full accreditation in the technical colleges in the State.
The creativity dimension of the day featured drama, dance and music. Governor Obiano made the crucial point that he was determined to put in place a creative economy not unlike California in the United States. It would entail marrying entertainment to technology, as in Hollywood matching up with Silicon Valley.
Unlike in the Caribbean where music is mostly seen merely entertainment sans management, Anambra State will embrace the Californian model by using astute management and technology to reap the many dividends inherent in the entertainment industry.
Governor Obiano presented cheques to the winners of the various categories of contests. Miss Christabelle Ezenekwe, aged 14, the winner in the Acting Category, received the sum of N500,000. She was full of thanks to Governor Obiano for the encouragement and support that will help her further her education and acting career.
The inauguration of the Anambra Young Innovators, a group of youths with ideas on how to provide solutions through technology, was a major highlight of the day. The Anambra Youths Art Group was equally unveiled.
Anambra State is, indeed, poised on a great drive toward leading the charge in technology and creativity with Governor Obiano on the driving seat.

Uzoatu wrote in from Lagos

 

 

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Nigeria Names Fifth Commander in Under 2 Years To Lead Fight Against Boko Haram

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Nigeria has named its fifth commander in less than 2 years to lead the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, the army said on Saturday, a move military sources say was related to continued attacks by Islamists.

The attacks could hurt President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances of re-election in Feb. 2019. He campaigned in 2015 vowing to end the insurgency but the conflict is entering its 10th year with attacks by Boko Haram and a group that splintered from it, the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA).

Major General Abba Dikko, who in July took over command of Operation Lafiya Dole, has been replaced as the head of that operation by Major General Benson Akinroluyo, the army said in an emailed statement that outlined dozens of redeployments.

Dikko has been moved to the Department of Civil Military Affairs to fill the position of chief of civil military affairs.

“The Nigerian Army has redeployed some of its officers from Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Delta Safe, as well as over stayed officers from the theatre as part of routine posting,” the army said in the statement.

Two military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was redeployed because of attacks by Islamists since he took over.

Since July, when Dikko was appointed, dozens of Nigerian troops have been killed in battles with militants and ISWA killed two abducted aid workers.

Soldiers also staged a protest at an airport in September.

An army spokesman did not immediately respond to text messages and phone calls seeking further details on the decision to replace Dikko as the head of the fight against Islamists just months after he took the role.


Reuter

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Diezani Alison-Madueke to be extradited from UK—EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that the process for the extraditing former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke from the United Kingdom has begun.
Acting Spokesman of the commission, Mr Tony Orilade, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
There have been calls from different quarters for the extradition of the former minister over several allegations of impropriety against her.
According to Orilade, EFCC’s Operations Department has made presentation to the Legal Department to commence the process, and that process has commenced.
He, however, said that the action had to be processed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, explaining that it was not something the commission would commence and conclude on its own.
“It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks, the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public.
“It is not a fresh case; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into; the whole process is a total package.
“This extradition is just an aspect of Diezani’s investigation and commencement of trial,” he said.
In 2017, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6 billion alleged loot recovered from the former minister to the Federal Government.
Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of the money to the government.
Granting the application, the judge had said: “I have read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7.6 billion reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
“I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application.
“In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right of appeal.”
In October, 2017, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had said that Nigeria had no immediate plan to bring Alison -Madueke back home to face trial.
Alison -Madueke, who is being investigated in the UK, had urged the Federal Government to bring her back to the country to face corruption charges against her.
But, Malami said that bringing her back to the country would jeopardise the investigation being carried on her in the UK.
“Steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.
“If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs Diezani Alison -Madueke here to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that.
“As things stand now, there is no need for that since the UK Government is already investigating her,’’ he had said.
The EFCC spokesman could not, however, say the point at which it became necessary to seek extradition of the former minister.

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