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Three persons of the same family lost their lives on Sunday when the car they were travelling in plunged into a river following the sudden collapse of a bridge during a downpour in Ilorin.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday on Oko-erin road, off lbrahim Taiwo road, in the llorin metropolis.

An eye witness account said the incident occurred during heavy rain which lasted for more than four hours.

It was gathered that there were five people in the Toyota car with registration number LRN-978FE when the accident occurred.

The bridge which had been in existence for over two decades suddenly collapsed during the rain and the car plunged into the flowing river under the bridge.

Two out of the five occupants of the vehicle were said to have escaped without any injury.

The car was still trapped in the river at the time of filing this report.

The State Director of Fire Service, Abdulwaheed lyanda-Yakub, who spoke with reporters at the scene of the incident, confirmed that three persons of the same family’ lost their lives in the accident.

He disclosed that the state fire service was able to recover only one dead body and had yet to recover the bodies of the other two victims.

“We are still searching for the remaining two bodies since the river is a flowing one, we are making effort to secure the other two dead bodies,” the fire director said.

The state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Rotimi Iliasu, who visited the collapsed bridge described the incident as unfortunate and commiserated with the family of the dead.

Mr Iliasu attributed the bridge’s collapse to constant dumping of refuse under the bridge which he said impeded the free flow of water.

He called on residents of the state to desist from dumping refuse under bridges and waterways to avert disasters.

The commissioner, who emphasised the importance of the road, said the ministry had begun repair works on the bridge.

”Consequently, the Oko-erin road has been blocked while some personnel from the state traffic management authority are at the scene of the collapsed bridge to monitor diversion of traffic,” he said.

 

Kwara State has recorded the death of another COVID-19 patient, the second casualty since the pandemic broke out in the state.  The death occurred on Tuesday, it was announced.

A statement issued by the Technical Committee on COVID-19 early Wednesday, said the patient was a 50-year-old female with serious underlying medical conditions.

“We regret to announce that the patient did not make it despite the efforts of the medical personnel to save her,” the statement added. “Our heartfelt condolences go to her family. We stand by them at this trying time, and restate the need for everyone to keep safe by adhering to all COVID-19 safety protocols.”

The statement also announced the discharge of 18 patients who have twice tested negative.

“Despite the sad occurrence on Tuesday, the government is consoled by the recovery and discharge of 18 other patients. The government commends all the frontline workers who are making so much sacrifice to ensure we win this war,” it added.

 From the committee’s record, the state has confirmed a total of 142 cases, two deaths and 45 recovered victims.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has directed candidates in the just-concluded 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to begin to print their result notification slips. This comes as the Board has scheduled the 2020 policy meeting of all tertiary institutions for June 16.

The 2020 policy meeting which will hold virtually, will be chaired by the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, with all heads of tertiary institutions in attendance.

In a weekly bulletin made available by the spokesperson of the board, Fabian Benjamin, said the meeting will chart policy directions for the nation’s tertiary institutions, set admission guidelines, and make a holistic review of application statistics, performance as well as evaluate the 2019 admissions exercise.

“The meeting, in addition to other deliberations, would take a stand on concessional and acceptable minimum admissions standards to be applied in all admissions to be undertaken by all tertiary institutions in Nigeria,” he said.

Since the coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, part of the protocols put in place by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19 is to limit the gatherings of people.

“Compliance with this directive has become imperative as no fewer than 4000 Heads of Tertiary Institutions comprising degree, diploma, NCE and NID-awarding institutions and other stakeholders would normally be expected to congregate at a location but because of extant protocols, would now be expected to participate in the virtual meeting,” Mr Benjamin said.

He said the modalities for the meeting would entail the board issuing only one access code to each participating institution to join the meeting.

“This access code is not to be shared or given to unauthorized persons. However, other critical stakeholders within the institutions like the Registrars, Admissions Officers can cluster around a big screen in a location to attend the meeting using the unique access code,” he said.

He said the meeting will discuss critical issues bordering on the advances made in the educational sector in the last one year in addition to setting the tone for the 2020/2021 admission exercise.

“The meeting would be streamed live on the Board’s website; www.jamb.gov.ng, its Facebook, JAMBulletin and other social media platforms,” he said.

Printing of Jamb Result notification slip

The board also directs candidates in the just-concluded 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to print their result notification slips.

“The results which had earlier been made available through text to candidates on request by them sending RESULT to “55019” but are now requesting a printed version can now be printed free from the Board website: www.jamb.gov.ng,” the board said.

According to JAMB, all a candidate needs to do after visiting the site is to click on QUICK LINKS, then on “E-Facility” where the candidate would be required to provide his/her registration details and the result notification slip would be displayed for printing.

“The printing of the result notification slip is free as it is different from the original result slip that comes with the candidate’s picture. Candidates can print their result notification slip anywhere in the country even from the comfort of their homes once there is internet access,” he said.

Mr Benjamin said, until now, the board restricted the printing of result notification slips and had made it available to candidates only through SMS to avoid anxiety on the part of the candidates as well as prevent clustering at cybercafes with the attendant risk of COVID-19 contagion all in a bid to print result notifications.

“This new development, however, is predicated on the gradual easing of the lockdown and resumption of economic activities in most parts of the country,” he said.

He advised candidates to be wary of fraudulent elements masquerading as JAMB agents stating that it has not mandated any person or group to do the printing on behalf of the Board.

Mr Benjamin said candidates are advised to note that any attempt to forge the slip would attract stiff sanctions.

“The decentralization of printing of result notification slips was done mainly to comply with the directives of the NCDC and other relevant agencies on social distancing,” he said.

The objective of JAMB is to conduct entrance Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for prospective undergraduates into Nigerian universities.

The board is also charged with the responsibility to administer similar examinations for applicants to Nigerian public and private monotechnics, polytechnics, and colleges of educations.

“Candidates are to note also that delegating this responsibility to third parties could result in wilful manipulation of their results. Recall that last year some candidates who abused this privilege by attempting to manipulate their scores were caught and are currently saving various jail terms,” he said.

Attempt to forge the JAMB slip would attract stiff sanctions.

Mr Benjamin said candidates are advised to note that any attempt to forge the slip would attract stiff sanctions.

“The decentralization of printing of result notification slips was done mainly to comply with the directives of the NCDC and other relevant agencies on social distancing,” he said.

The objective of JAMB is to conduct entrance Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for prospective undergraduates into Nigerian universities.

The board is also charged with the responsibility to administer similar examinations for applicants to Nigerian public and private monotechnics, polytechnics, and colleges of educations.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has alleged that the Federal government has added some of its members to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), through their Bank Verification Number without their consent.

ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview described the Federal Government’s action as an illegal act, adding that newly recruited staff were threatened with termination of appointment while the older members were told that their pension could not be guaranteed.

He said, “The strike is still on, we are not accepting the IPPIS, and our rejection still subsists. It is not suitable for the university system. We are working on an alternative which we will unveil soon.  We have told the government that we are ready to discuss with them but they need time to sort themselves.”

Ogunyemi also said despite the presidential directive stating that their salaries should be paid, many of their members were still not paid.

“Before the IPPIS, the issues we were tracking have all remained the same so this strike will continue until when the government is sincere to come to the negotiation table with an open mind,” the ASUU President said.

Ogunyemi also condemned the reduction in the education budget due to the coronavirus pandemic, stating that an emergency should be declared on the sector.

“It is a disaster because no rational person can justify the reduction of the education budget. It is the most unreasonable thing any government can do. It is embarrassing at a time we are addressing a global emergency.

“Due to the pandemic, the government has taken steps to tackle health emergency so there is the need to also assess the situation of education. The government of the day in 2017, said the time was right to declare a state of emergency on education and this declaration is now more imperative in the face of COVID-19 especially in the higher education system,” he said.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, last week insisted that IPPIS has come to stay and called on ASUU leaders to stop misleading their members. He also accused the Union of owning up to 800Billion in taxes and refusing to honor all invitations from the government for negotiation during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Minister disclosed this while giving insight into the ongoing trade dispute between the Federal Government ASUU to some journalists in his Alor country home in Anambra State after he distributed palliatives to the people in his constituency.

 

By Supo Atobatele

From O to ge (enough is enough) to O tun ya (let's start again), the theme of Kwara's contemporary political oddessy has remained an allegory of thespian proportions.

Birthed in the unlikely star character of Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, the poker-faced scion of the illustrious AGF Rasaq dynasty in Ilorin, this riveting soap may yet determine the tenor and direction of the movement which ensured the cataclysmic collapse of the 40-year-old Saraki political empire.

In a way, the Otoge movement on which Abdulrahman rode to Government House last year is a microcosm of the APC rainbow coalition which sacked the Goodluck Jonathan administration at the centre in 2015.

Made up of a coterie of strange bedfellows united by a common enemy in the urbane former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the groundswell of opinion within the opposition in those heady days preceding the 2019 general elections was to secure the seat of government first and later to share the spoils of office.

One year on, it does appear the fragile strands holding together the leading lights of the opposition movement are loose and floundering, bringing to the public domain the disquiet within the ruling party in the state.

How did a family disagreement within the party become the current public spat in the market place? The answer may well be in Abdulrahman 's decision to be his own man. To be sure, the governor's unorthodox style of governance may have served him well in fast tracking the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people.

Indeed, acolytes of the administration are quick to point to the many achievements of the governor in the last one year, signposting a new era in infrastructural and human capital development.

Understandably, Rafiu Ajakaye, the spokesman of the governor is ecstatic whenever he is highlighting the gains of the last 365 days.

He says: " Kwara, for the record, is not yet an eldorado. No such state exists. But the administration inherited and has rescued a state that once tottered on the brink of collapse — at least in the area of human capital development indices. Basic healthcare was comatose.

" Children were no longer getting vaccination to curb deadly diseases, including polio, because the state was not fulfilling its obligation in the national campaign.

" The state held the trophy in children malnutrition in the north central. Kwara had also been blacklisted from the universal basic education commission (UBEC) after funds meant for primary education were mismanaged, coming last in the UBEC ratings.

" The Colleges of Education (COEs) had been run aground, with their workers owed several months in salary arrears. The school of midwifery had lost its accreditation. Access to potable water was majorly through rickety tankers.

" The state-owned broadcast stations were off the air.  Kwara ticked all the wrong boxes in the World Bank ease of doing business ratings, while pensioners could hardly recall the last time they were paid.

" Another mark of its pitiable condition was the fact that no college graduate — having been told of the horrible state of its orientation camp — wanted to have their national youth service in Kwara. 

" Just 12 months down the road, the Otoge leader has successfully changed the Kwara narrative. From instant payment of relevant counterpart funds, which have brought back development partners, and taking the state off the UBEC blacklist, AbdulRazaq is taking steps to stabilise and reposition the state for growth."

Perhaps so and even more. In the health sector, the administration has sunk N232million into tackling malaria, maternal death, and malnutrition. It has also launched an insurance scheme for 10,000 indigent Kwarans while renovating 37 primary health centres.

This is in addition to the more than 70 new medical personnel, including doctors, that have just been recruited to strengthen the health sector that had all but collapsed under the rudderless Abdulfatah Ahmed administration.

On road infrastructure, the administration says its 68 township,  urban roads, or mini-bridges linking major communities have either been completed or are ongoing across the state.



It is also rehabilitating 31 schools across the state, seven of which are undergoing complete overhaul in an initiative expected to gulp a whopping N1.7 billion.

Not only has the administration removed the state from the UBEC blacklist, it is also set to access the over N7billion trapped there while students in tertiary institutions now have cause to smile with the transparent electronic windows put in place to ease the burden of bursary payment and check fraud.

While there had been considerable positive changes across other sectors such as agriculture, water and judiciary, civil servants and pensioners are perhaps the greatest beneficiaries under the present dispensation with the regular payments of salaries, pensions and gratuities.

But at a time the governor appears to be redefining the governance model in the state by interfacing with the ordinary people on the streets through personal engagements and interactions, it is ironic that his populism appears to be ostracising his foot soldiers in the Otoge movement.

Aggrieved members of the Otoge movement told this newspaper that the governor is running " a one-man administration."

They readily cite the December 2019 constitution of the governor's cabinet which they said did not have the input of party leaders, including Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and his Transportation counterpart, Gbemi Saraki. While many had commended the governor for giving the youths a shot at governance, his erstwhile political allies are seething in anger at being abandoned.

Investigation by Midland Post indicated that the governor may be building his own political structure ahead of an imminent faceoff with his former political benefactors. It was learnt that the governor has created his AA Group, a supposed grassroots-based political outfit with presence in the 16 local governments, much to the chargrin of party leaders in the state.

Only recently, a group, Kwara State APC Integrity Vanguard, apparently ventilating the position of the aggrieved in the party, had petitioned the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, over its grouse with the governor.

The group, in its petition signed by Alhaji Abdullahi Yinka Onimasa, National Coordinator, and Comrade Kayode Aliyu Bamidele, Secretary-General, accused the governor of usurping the party’s structures.

The angry petitioners, who had copied President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, lamented what it termed “the disgusting development in Kwara State APC."

The frustration of the aggrieved members may have reached a crescendo with the latest arrest of Musbau Esinrogunjo, one of the most visible foot soldiers of the Otoge revolution, who was alleged to have been caught in a viral audio recording threatening to " kill" the governor for abandonment.

Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, another prominent foot soldier of the revolution and one of the quartet that launched a blistering campaign on the radio against the Ahmed administration and the Saraki dynasty, offered an insight into the deep divisions within the ruling party.

" Several calls have been put to me on Comrade Esinrogunjo’s audio recording. The last time I saw Esinrogunjo was 31 January, 2020.

" That was the day I unveiled my Nations Leadership Institute. The Speaker of Kwara State House of Assrmbly, Rt. Honorable Danlad Yakubu, did the unveiling. Esinrogunjo was one of the invitees.

“When the young man complained about his frustrations about the government, I told him about the brewing intra-party crisis which I said could be worse than inter-party crisis.

“This has been my view about unreasonable intra-party crisis that has engulfed APC Kwara chapter, shortly after our party and our government assumed office.

" This same view I had aired before the Governor of Kwara State when I, along with six elders of our party, were before him before the close (of) 2019.

“This same view I aired before the brother of the governor, Dr Alimi Abdulrazaq and five others sometime in the month of January, this year. I stand by my view that intra-party crisis should not be our main programme after our landslide victory of 2019.

“I am not a politician of violence as I do not have that record. Killing a governor for whatever reason should not be contemplated by anybody. I am not in the habit of any outburst against this government, despite the opposition’s provocation to do so.

“I am of the view that the governor should be left to run his government as he pleases. Future is the acid test of values; it is time that will tell whether the governor had been right or not. I did not participate in liberation politics for personal benefits.

 

“I am already fulfilled now that we have redefined Kwara politics. Generations to come, I am sure, will hail my stand and contributions in Kwara politics.

" That is bigger and greater than holding an office. I really do not want anybody to intrude into this my dignified silence. Whatever is between the governor and Comrade Esinrogunjo is really not my concern.”

But Chief Wole Oke, another veteran of the liberation movement and Third Republic leader in the State House of Assembly, believes the current crisis was created by the void in political leadership after the exit of the Saraki dynasty.

“We were simply members of the same political ideology. We believed that our common political enemy was Saraki’s dynasty.

" We had no leader as it were. We were just fighting the common ‘foe’ according to our capabilities.

“So when the victory was won, we lacked direction. Each member saw himself as a victor, having fought from his own angle. For instance, how would I call the honourable Minister (Lai Mohammed) my political leader?

" I had been in the forays of political struggles for almost three decades now! I think, this is where the problem emanated from," he said in an interview.

With the simmering crisis in the party threatening to torpedo the gains of the last one year, many concerned party members are calling for external intervention to save the party from itself if it is to retain its hold on power amidst the closing of ranks by the rump of Saraki's disoriented followers.

Chief Rex Olawoye, a veteran grassroots politician who was among those who fought the battle of the airwaves against the previous administration, expressed worry over the new direction of the party.

“Definitely we need some intervention from our elders outside Kwara to bring the aggrieved groups together. They should be able to call a spade a spade,” he told a national daily.

This external intervention, some say, may readily come from Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the austere Chief of Staff to the President
not known to be linked to any of the contending forces in his home state of Kwara.

A brilliant diplomat and strategist who had interfaced successfully with some of the most despicable despots in his decades-old tour of duty as an ambassador of the United Nations, Gambari had brought peace to some of the tempestuous regions of the world.

Would he rise to the occasion and deploy his seminal intervention to save his home state from the hovering portents?

 

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