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JP Clark: Buhari, others console Edwin Clark for loss of poet brother

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a condolence message to a former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, for the demise of his younger brother, John Pepper Clark, an emeritus professor of literature and renowned writer.

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, are among other people that have paid tributes to the literary icon, who died on Tuesday at the age of 86, according to a statement signed by Prof. C. C. Clark and Mr Ilaye Clark, for the family.

The statement read, “The Clark-Fuludu Bekederemo family of Kiagbodo Town, Delta State, wishes to announce that emeritus professor of literature and renowned writer, Prof. John Pepper Clark, has finally dropped his pen in the early hours of today, Tuesday, 13 October, 2020.

“Prof. J. P. Clark has paddled on to the great beyond in comfort of his wife, children and sibling, around him.

“The family appreciates your prayers at this time. Other details will be announced later by the family.”

President Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said JP Clark’s death would leave a huge vacuum in the literary world.

It stated, “On behalf of the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari extends the deepest condolence to the Clark-Fuludu Bekederemo family on the passing of renowned writer and emeritus professor of literature, Prof. John Pepper Clark.

“President Buhari pays tribute to one of Nigeria’s finest poets, dramatist and recipient of the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award for literary excellence, whose repertoire of published works depicts the hard work of a great man, devoted to a lifetime of writing, knowledge and promotion of the indigenous culture of the Ijaw nation.

“Acknowledging that Prof. J.P. Clark’s exit has, indeed, left an indelible mark in the literary world, President Buhari takes solace that his body of literary works, which earned him recognition and respect both at home and abroad, would continue to inspire upcoming Nigerian writers to pursue literary excellence and flourish in their chosen vocation.

“The President’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of the departed patriot, the government and people of Delta State and the literary community in the country.

“He prays for the peaceful repose of the soul departed.”

Governor Obaseki described the late Clark as “a great academic, celebrated poet, adding, “His literary exploits brought honour and great respect to Nigeria and his contributions to literature and education, in general, will outlive many generations.”

Governor Okowa of Delta, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said the literary world had lost an enigma whose works would continue to dominate the contemporary Nigerian society.

He said, “The literary works of Professor J.P. Clark promoted Delta, Nigeria and Africa, hence his demise is being celebrated by lovers of literature all over the world.

“As a serial award-winner in poetry, the late Prof. Clark was a consummate patriot, a great literary icon and a teacher par excellence, whose literary publications inspired deep thoughts, especially on social-economic and political themes.

“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I commiserate with the Clark-Fuludu Bekederemo family over the passing of renowned poet, literary giant and playwright, Emeritus Professor John Pepper Clark.”

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who described him as a literary colossus, said, “As we all mourn the transition of this great African to eternal life, our heartfelt condolences go to his dear family and our dear Papa, Chief Edwin Clark.

“Forever, the world shall recall the intellectual stature and contributions of Prof Emeritus John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo.”

A famous playwright, Prof. Femi Osofisan, saw the late poet as a complex personality, noting, “He was an embodiment of contradictions in his personality, but what interests us is his talent as a poet and writer and conscience of society.

“He wasn’t a protest poet, but was very political in his writing. He was very concerned about the issues that pertain to society.

“We are going to miss him. I would personally miss him because he is my friend and mentor.”

Born on December 6, 1933, in Kiagbodo, to an Ijaw father and Urhobo mother, Clark received his early education at the Native Authority School, Okrika (Ofinibenya-Ama), in Burutu Local Government Area (then Western Ijaw) and the Government College in Ughelli.

He had his BA degree in English at the University of Ibadan, where he edited various magazines, including the Beacon and The Horn.

He had worked as an information officer in the Ministry of Information, in the old Western Region of Nigeria, after graduation from Ibadan in 1960, as features editor of the Daily Express, and as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.

He served for several years as a Professor of English at the University of Lagos and retired in 1980.

In 1982, along with his wife, Ebun Odutola (a professor and former director of the Centre for Cultural Studies at the University of Lagos), he founded the PEC Repertory Theatre in Lagos.

He held visiting professorial appointments at several institutions of higher learning, including Yale and Wesleyan University in the United States.

Clark was most noted for his poetry

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Some public servants earn more salary than the president – RMAFC boss

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Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)

Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says some political appointees earn more salary than President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shehu disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday.

The RMAFC boss, who spoke on the commission’s plan to review judicial and political holders’ salaries, said some officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) collect salaries higher than the president.

He said the country needs to review allocations as some agencies remit less revenue. 

“The severance package of the president is just N10.5 million. This is after the president leaves office. You can imagine after spending four or eight years, that would be the only take-home. The salary of Mr President is not up to N1.3 million a month,” he said.

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“There are people in the private sector and others in other public sectors that earn twice, three times or four times. No public servant should earn a salary bigger than Mr President. But we do have public servants that earn salaries bigger than Mr President, such as in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), etc.

“My argument has always been that no public servant should earn allowances, severances, or salaries larger than the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, and I stand by it.”

Speaking further on how salaries would be reviewed, especially on current realities, Shehu said salary review would go through processes.

He, however, added that salaries may be reviewed upward after going through due processes.

“When you do a review, the takeoff point is not immediate. And this is a process that has to go to the president and then to the national assembly, and then it becomes a law,” he added.

“I can not tell you whether we can afford it or not, but what I can tell you is there are unremitted revenues out there, probably estimated from N6 trillion to N7 trillion that should be remitted to the federation account.

The Cable

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Buckingham Palace aide resigns over racist comments

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A Buckingham Palace aide has resigned and tendered an apology over racist comments reportedly made to a black British guest at a reception hosted by the Queen Consort.

Ngozi Fulani, the founder of a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse, alleged that she was repeatedly asked by a royal aide at a Palace function where she was “really from” in Africa.

The palace said it was taking the incident “extremely seriously”.

An eyewitness to the conversation, Mandu Reid, confirmed the account and told the BBC the questions put to Ms Fulani were “offensive, racist and unwelcoming”.

Reid said she had a “sense of incredulity” about the exchange with a member of the Royal Household, in which Ms Fulani was “interrogated” about where she was from – even though she had explained she was born and lived in the UK.

Ms Fulani is the founder of the London-based charity Sistah Space, which supports black women who have faced domestic and sexual abuse.

Along with 300 guests, she had been invited to a high-profile reception at the Palace on Tuesday, where the Queen Consort, Camilla, had warned of a “global pandemic of violence against women”.

But after the event, Ms Fulani described her conversation on Twitter, where she was challenged by a royal aide to explain where she was from.

She recounted how she said: “We’re based in Hackney,” and the aide replied: “No, what part of Africa are you from?”

She said, “I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records”, and the Palace member responded, “Well you must know where you’re from, I spent time in France. Where are you from? Here, UK.”

“No, but what nationality are you?”

“I am born here and am British.”

“No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?”

She said that members of the Royal Household were circulating at the reception and making “chit chat” – but she said it became a “really unpleasant interaction”, when despite Ms Fulani’s replies there was an insistent questioning about her background.

Ms Reid said they were “stunned into silence” afterwards and says that Ms Fulani should receive an apology and those working for the palace should receive training.

Both Ms Reid and Sistah Space have decided not to name the royal aide believed to be involved.

Palace reacts

In response, Buckingham Palace said, “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details.

“In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made.

“We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes.

“In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect.

“All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”

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Adeleke denies sacking workers, monarchs

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Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke

Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has denied making executive orders to sack traditional rulers and workers in the state.

He said he only set up a review panel and nobody has been sacked.

His Chief Press Secretary, Olawale Rasheed, who in spoke Rave FM in Osogbo, said executive order one to five shows the intentions of the administration to review, nullify, and set aside while the instrumentality to effect the orders was order six which is the composition of the panel.

He said: “There was never sack of any worker or traditional ruler. We only set up a review panel. It is impossible to sack and put a review panel in place.

“The review panel is to look at the numbers of the people that were employed, due processes of the employment, and qualification among other things.

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“Before our taking over, there were issues of backdating of employment, even till last year. So, order 1-5 will be operationalised by order 6 which are the panels.

“Those that were employed from July 17 till our takeover are still at work presently, they have not been sacked. The staff audit will review the employment.”

However, a statement by Rasheed said the governor has approved the dissolution of all non-statutory boards in the state with immediate effect.

“As a follow-up to the pronouncement of Governor Adeleke, on Sunday, November 27, 2022, all non-statutory boards, commissions and parastatals, including those of tertiary institutions (with exception of UNIOSUN) are hereby dissolved in the state, forthwith.

“Consequently, all accounting officers of such boards, parastatals and commissions are to take charge with immediate effect.”

Sun

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