To avert a major crisis, leaders must urgently roll out poverty alleviation plans – Prophet Ogundipe – Newstrends
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To avert a major crisis, leaders must urgently roll out poverty alleviation plans – Prophet Ogundipe

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Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe is the founder and presiding pastor at the Genesis Global Church. In this interview with DADA JACKSON, he bares his mind on a number of topical issues including poverty in the land and the recent #EndSARS protest

What is your take on the recent #EndSARS protest against police brutality embarked upon by some Nigerian youths?

Thank you very much for this question. The decision of the youths to take to the streets to condemn the act of brutality by the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) was based on several years of pain and frustration. Many youths have experienced this act of brutality either directly or indirectly. I totally support the decision of the youth to engage the government with this peaceful protest. Our leaders owe us accountability and we should hold them responsible when they fail to deliver on their promises.

So it was a protest that you aligned with?

Absolutely

Would you say it succeeded largely because they had no arrowhead?

Yes, it really worked for them. I supported the fact that the protesters didn’t have a leader. We have seen different protests and strikes in this country that didn’t make any headway just because their leaders were allegedly compromised and bribed with huge amounts of money. But in the case of the #EndSARS protest, everybody was assumed to be the leader.

What is your reaction to the alleged shooting of the unarmed protesters in Lekki?

It’s really painful when the people meant to protect lives and properties are now the ones who take lives. I feel very pained seeing this happening in a democratic government. I strongly condemn the act, and I appeal to the leadership of our nation not to run our country like a military government but rather to run a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

How would you rate the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration?

I want to be very careful with my choice of words. But sincerely speaking, I will say that many Nigerians are not happy. People put in so much into making sure that this current government got elected into power with the expectation of a promised CHANGE. Unfortunately, things have refused to change and rather things are becoming very hard for the common man. To whom much is given, much is expected, and that’s why it’s looking like people are disappointed in this current government.

Would you say the administration has failed the people?

This administration has really failed the youth continually. Young Nigerians take their time to go to school, study hard just to make sure they graduate with good grades so as to be able to get a good job. But unfortunately, they roam around the streets without any job. As a young Nigerian, I feel pained seeing the level of unemployment and insecurity in our nation.

Did you at anytime foresee this happening?

The recent happenings have confirmed one of the prophecies I gave this year in one of our services. I said that if our leaders were not careful, the masses would start invading their premises to pack food items and other valuables. This goes a long way to show that the poverty situation in our country is alarming. Hardly will you find a family in Nigeria who can afford a good meal when it is needed. My major worry is that if something urgently is not done about the level of hunger and poverty in the land, people may turn violent and they could do much more than what we saw during the #EndSARS protest. I strongly agree with the school of thought who believes that if nothing is done quickly to ameliorate the suffering of the people, there will be a situation where the poor will be attacking the rich. A hungry man, they say, is an angry man. It may get to a level where some hungry/poor people will start to see the rich people within their environment as thieves who steal government money and then see them as the reason why they are poor and underprivileged. This could also make them see rich people as their enemies.

What do you make of the looting of warehouses where alleged COVID-19 palliatives were kept?

How on earth will the government deprive hungry people of palliatives that were supposed to help them suppress the effect of the hunger during the lockdown? I have heard several excuses given by governors and I feel quite disappointed hearing some of these excuses. The real time that people needed these items, they were kept away from them and so many people lived in terrible hunger and even some died during the lockdown due to the inability to get food; only to discover later that thousands of bags of palliatives were being kept in various warehouses across the nation. Our political elites need to address the people they govern; they should show empathy. They need to immediately start rolling out plans on poverty alleviation.

There is this controversy surrounding the visit of Ayinde Wasiu (Kwam1) to your church sometime ago. Could you shed some light on what actually transpired?

Two major things prompted that visit of Kwam1. I am a prophet who doesn’t discriminate against any religion and I say that all the time. Apart from the fact that I was born a Muslim, I have always learnt to see everyone as my brother. K1 visited our church to thank God in submission for what God is doing in the ministry.

I didn’t invite kwam1 to our church; he was the one who said publicly at a function that he would love to pay a visit to the Genesis Global Church to appreciate God for the great things He is doing in the church. And when he reached out to me on this intention, I obliged.

Secondly, I remember that when I was a little boy, each time my mum saw Wasiu Ayinde on the TV, she would lay her hands on the TV to pray for him and she would also lay her hands on me to say my own Wasiu too (because my Muslim name is Wasiu) would be great. So, when Kwam1 offered to come, I saw it as an opportunity to tell our mothers in the church that their prayers over their children would always come to pass.

In our church, we believe in transition and not tradition. The world is evolving and we should be flexible enough to accommodate new practices that are different from the old doctrines.

People say you’re generous to a fault. What do you want to achieve with this?

Let me say it without mincing words. I had a very humble background and this has informed my high passion to give. Each time I remember how we struggled to survive, I always try to make sure I put smile on the faces of people struggling. My philosophy is that giving is living. I am only privileged and everything that God has given to me is for me to be a blessing to others.

What do you make of pastors who preach only prosperity at the detriment if salvation?

Prosperity Gospel is part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and it’s a major part of our existence. Where I have a problem with it is when people deemphasize other parts of the Bible just because they want to manipulate members to give or they want to attract members to their church. I must say that prosperity is good and I preach prosperity too but it should not be used as a means for manipulation.

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Lagos-Calabar coastal highway flag-off: It’s my bragging (rights) day, says Tinubu, highlights project benefits

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Lagos-Calabar coastal highway flag-off: It’s my bragging (rights) day, says Tinubu, highlights project benefits

President Bola Tinubu on Sunday inaugurated the construction of a 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway, saying it gave him maximum joy and some bragging rights.

Specifically, the President said it would give about 30 million people improved access to production and marketing centres, among other economic benefits.

The ceremony was held in Lekki, Lagos as part of events marking his first year in office.

Tinubu said, “I commend the Honourable Minister of Works once again, like I said, it’s my bragging (rights) day. Don’t be afraid, we will do this road; 700 kilometres. It will be a success for Nigeria, and we will do more of this. You and I together, the whole Nigeria, a very bold endeavour. Please share with me, share in the joy. I am a very happy man today.”

He also said, “On the next 10 benefits of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway; during the period of construction, the road will provide direct employment for thousands of people, and indirect employment for tens of thousands of politicians and more. Economic opportunity for millions is being opened.

“It will fast-track the community’s development, It will bring development closer to the people, and give 30 million people improved access to production and marketing centres. You can easily predict a journey, vertically and go along the horizontal line and do the definition of free movement of people.”

The Federal Government said the highway was designed to extend through nine states with two spurs leading to the northern states.

The project starting in March was criticised by some Nigerians over due process and following the demolition of some buildings on its path in the Lekki area.

Minister Umahi had said 750 houses on the path of the coast highway had been marked for demolition.

He also announced the payment of N2.75bn in compensation to property owners affected by the project covering 0 to channel 3 on the mega highway.

President Tinubu on Sunday further appealed for the understanding of the general public, particularly those whose properties and means of livelihood would be affected by the project.

He said, “I further crave the understanding of the general public, especially those whose properties and sources of livelihood will be impacted by this iconic project. We all make some sacrifices to enable our country to grow.

“However, be rest assured that this government is a compassionate government that cares for you and will do the utmost to offer succour, by way of compensation.”

He said the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway was a symbol of hope, unity, and prosperity for Nigerians.

“This project is more than just a road – it is a symbol of hope, unity, and prosperity. It will connect our communities in nine states, foster trade and commerce, boost tourism, and create new opportunities for generations to come.

“A similar road in Ireland, called the Wild Atlantic Way, 2,600km long is expected to fetch three billion euros a year in tourism revenues.

“I want to express my gratitude to the team of engineers, workers, and stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to bring us to this point. Your dedication and expertise are the driving force behind the take-off of this project.”

Tinubu stressed the significance of safety, sustainability, and social responsibility of the project.

He urged stakeholders to collaborate to ensure the benefits for all, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

He said, “This is not only a legacy project of this administration but a dream come true that will connect some neglected towns and cities along the coastal route.

“Over time, it has been noticed that both Tin Can Island and Apapa ports are becoming shallower, thereby limiting the size of ships that can berth at those strategic ports.

“It is pertinent to note that the Lagos State Government in partnership with private investors developed Lekki Deep Sea Port which does not have a link road.

“It is however obvious that this development will open up businesses and investment along the project corridor.

“The potential of this road is enormous because it will have two spurs which will link up with Sokoto-Badagry Expressway which is under procurement and African Trade Route which connects South-East to Cameroon, thereby connecting every region of the country.”

He said the 10-lane road project represented a crucial step in the government’s efforts to enhance connectivity, facilitate economic growth, and improve the quality of life for our people.

He added, “The project is more than a mere road; it is a symbol of hope, unity, and prosperity. It will connect our communities in nine states, foster trade and commerce, boost tourism, and create new opportunities for generations to come.

“To the glory of God and benefit of our people, it is my greatest pleasure to flag off this project and also virtually flag off the spurs about to be procured.

“I also flag off the massive rehabilitation of 330 roads and bridges across the nation. Let the construction begin.”

While commending the dignitaries, Tinubu said everyone wanted a good highway, but no one wanted the government to go through their backyard.

He said, “Everybody, they say, wants a good highway, but nobody wants you to go through their backyard.

“I thank you tremendously, the Chairman of HiTech, Gilbert Chagoury, and my partner, Engineer Roland. We walk together to take the Atlantic and turn a disaster into an asset of great value together.

“We lost weight, we took abuse, but we tamed the Atlantic, we achieved our goals. Here again, we are in it together, thank you, Roland, for being who you are.

‘A particular stakeholder, responsible corporate leader, Aliko Dangote, thank you for understanding your field and investment in Africa, and your incapacity to navigate the stormy water business.

“Yes, Nigeria is going through a patch, but we depend on you to continue doing this, so that other people will emulate and copy your example, thank you, Aliko.”

Also speaking, Minister Umahi said the government was waiting for private investors to bring their funds.

He said, “It is worthy to state that the model of EPC+F( Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Plus Finance) which the ministry is adopting is commendable.

“This sees the Federal Government investing while waiting for private investors to bring on board their counterpart funds.

“I commend the Honourable Minister of Works and the staff of the Ministry who are ensuring that the contractor delivers good quality work.”

The 10-lane coastal road is intended to link Lagos to Cross River, passing through Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom states before ending in Cross River.

Umahi revealed that the road would be built using concrete pavement.

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Sanusi: Kano Dep Gov apologises to NSA Ribadu over allegations

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National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu

Sanusi: Kano Dep Gov apologises to NSA Ribadu over allegations

Amidst crisis engulfing  Kano State over the reinstatement of deposed Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Deputy Governor Aminu Gwarzo has apologized to the National Security Adviser to President Bola Tinubu, Nuhu Ribadu.

NPO Reports that Gwarzo had alleged that Ribadu aided the return of the deposed Emir Aminu Ado Bayero to  Kano on Friday after Sanusi had been reappointed as the new Emir.

The situation has caused a stalemate in the ancient city with two Emirs holding court.
Ribadu had threatened to drag Gwarzo to court over his allegations that he facilitated the the return of Bayero to Kano.

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Gwarzo made the apology while addressing newsmen at the Government House in  Kano on Monday morning.
The deputy governor acknowledged that he was misled into making the allegation and expressed regrets for any embarrassment or inconvenience caused the NSA and his office.

”We were shocked to hear the NSA’s name mentioned in the plot to impose a deposed Emir in  Kano, knowing his integrity and pedigree.
“We are human and can err at any time,” the deputy governor said.

“On behalf of myself and the Governor of Kano State, I assure the NSA of our continued support and cooperation in discharging his duties.”

Sanusi: Kano Dep Gov apologises to NSA Ribadu over allegations

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Obasanjo knocks Tinubu over handling of economic reform

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President Bola Ahmed tinubu, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Obasanjo knocks Tinubu over handling of economic reform

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, says Nigeria must embark on aggressive and swift implementation of policies and development plans that will hasten the total eradication of illiteracy in couple of decades.

He warned the refusal to prioritise education for all citizens portends danger for the country.

Obasanjo opined that Nigeria will produce more drug abusers, terrorists, bandits, and other social misfits if the disturbing number of out-of-school children is not addressed.

Obasanjo, lamenting that the country has over 20 million out-of-school children, asserted that the children if not educated, empowered, or given necessary skills, would become nuisance in the society.

The former president assertions are contained in a statement by his special assistant on media, Kehinde Akinyemi on Sunday.

He explained that to prevent such, a 25-year socio-economic development agenda is needed to prioritize education, and technology among others.

According to him, the development agenda will make it compulsory for be educated up to secondary school level.

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” A 25-year socio-economic development agenda that will be generally agreed to, by the nation of all political parties and passed into law by the National Assembly with State Assembly aspects also passed into law by the State Houses of Assembly. We take up the implementation on a five-year basis. In reality, that plan will have the effect of almost a constitution. The first priority in the implementation will be education for all.

“ There should be no Nigerian without being in school compulsorily for eleven years – secondary education level.

“ Five years must be set out to ensure that every Nigerian child that is not in school is in school and no one is left out of popular education. Adult education should be embarked upon to give every Nigerian basic education equivalent to six years of formal education.

“ We should give ourselves ten years to rid Nigeria of illiteracy. No matter what we do, if we do not find a way of educating, giving skills, and empowerment, over 20 million Nigerian children that are out of school today will end up being rich recruitment centers for drug addicts, Boko Haram, bandits, and other social misfits”

He also urged the Federal Government to provide a conducive environment where businesses can thrive.

“ The second should be food and nutrition security through agribusiness. The third should be energy for all. The fourth should be industrialization and manufacturing. And the fifth should be science, technology, innovation, and Artificial Intelligence, AI.

“ In all these, the government should provide a conducive environment for the private sector to operate and thrive. And where the government will be involved at all, other than as policymaker and enabler, it should be based on private-public partnership with government as a junior partner,” the statement added.

Obasanjo knocks Tinubu over handling of economic reform

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