Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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The African Nations Cup will be moved to June and July and the size of the competition will grow from 16 to 24 finalists from the next edition in 2019.

These decisions were made by the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) executive committee on Thursday.

Radical changes to Africa’s leading competitions were formalised as CAF’s executive committee met in Rabat .

The committee adopted recommendations made at a wide-ranging symposium in Morocco earlier in the week.

Other decisions taken at the meeting included the awarding of the 2021 and 2023 Nations Cups to the Ivory Coast and Guinea respectively.

Major changes have also been introduced to Africa’s Champions League and Confederation Cup tournaments, which will now run from August to May, like the UEFA Champions League, rather than over the course of a calendar year.

This week’s symposium was called by new CAF president Ahmad and was aimed at overhauling the game in Africa.

CAF hold a congress in Rabat on Friday to pass changes to the body’s statutes in order to bring it in line with recent FIFA changes.

The expansion of the Nations Cup puts pressure on 2019 hosts Cameroon, who have denied claims that they are behind in their preparations.

“I would like to reassure the national and international opinion that the government is fully committed to fulfilling the CAF’s specifications and to date, no CAF mission has reported any delay in preparations,” said Cameroon sports minister Ismael Bidoung.

African football chiefs are due to inspect Cameroon’s tournament preparation in September, with Morocco on stand-by as a potential back-up host if needed.

“Morocco will not hesitate for a second to respond favourably to any invitation to host this Nations Cup,” said their football association president Faouzi Lekjaa when asked. (Reuters/NAN)

For a better society.


A 24-year-old final year Business Administration student of the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Mr.. Diete Rufus, has been murdered in Bayelsa State.

Late Rufus was reportedly killed in crossfire during a deadly armed clash involving two rival cult groups on Sunday.

It was learnt that three other persons also sustained serious injuries in the incident which occurred in Okpotuwari and Ondewari communities, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Community sources said the incident caused panic and forced many residents to run into the creeks and forest for safety.

Rufus was first rushed to Korokorosei hospital where he was later referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, but later died on the way to the Federal Government health facility.

It was also learnt that the gun duel might not be unconnected with the alleged disagreement over the control of security of oil wells in the area, which had generated bitterness among the youths in recent times.

Meanwhile, one Ebikeseye Abiri, a younger brother of the detained publisher of a local newspaper in Bayelsa, Jones Abiri, from Okpotuwari and Ondewari communities, has been reported dead.

Jones, believed to be the breadwinner of their family, was arrested on July 21, 2016 in his Yenagoa office and has since been in the custody of the Department of the State Services (DSS) without trial yet.

Ebikeseye, a 30-year-old father of three children, was said to have died on Saturday in a medical facility at Akaba, following a fire incident which occurred while he was moving a container of locally-refined petroleum product from one location to another in a community in Rivers State.

Concerned members of the communities said the late Ebikeseye, whose wife gave birth to a baby on Saturday night, was forced to go into the trade to make ends meet for the family following the long absence of Jones.

A community source, who wished not to be named, said: “If Jones were around, this unfortunate incident wouldn’t have happened. Jones used to assist his deceased brother in the area of children’s education and other things.

“Since Jones has been denied his (Ebikeseye’s) family, things became tough and Ebikeseye had to make extra efforts in an attempt to bridge the gaps.”

He, therefore, appealed for the unconditional release of Jones on humanitarian grounds to enable him to take care of their aged mother and the family.

Calls to the spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, to get confirmation to the two incidents proved abortive as his mobile phone failed to connect.

For a better  society



Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust fund, TETFUND, Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa,  has commended the Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Dr. Margaret Kudirat Ladipo, for  what he observed as  her very prudent and purposeful management of meager resources into the execution of mega projects in the college.

Baffa made the commendation while commissioning the College’s Central Research Laboratory, the Technology Building Science Building which make up the three key projects recently built by Tetfund for the college.

The TETFUND Executive Secretary explained that one of the key mandates of the agency is supporting institution’s essential infrastructure for teaching and learning, adding that the agecy would not rest until all our tertiary institutions had been equipped with the required quality and quantity capacity of the essential infrastructure.

He noted that a minimum of 60% of the structures in most public-owned tertiary institutions in Nigeria are bankrolled by TETFUND.

Dr Baffa commended YABATECH and promised that TETFUND would continue to support the College with facilities and equipment needed to make the central laboratory, a world class. “Providing this equipment will help Yabatech train students to have practical skill to be able to compete and function globally in their profession. We are happy that they have used the fund judiciously”; Baffa  said..

He added that TETFUND would always be there to support beneficiary institutions in order to deliver on quality physical infrastructure for conducive and effective teaching and learning.

“We have a number of intervention lines; physical projects are only one intervention line out of about twelve intervention lines with which we support institutions.

“There are those content-based intervention lines, of which the scholars are the direct beneficiary, but some institutions are not doing well in such intervention lines. Assessing institution-based research grants, Assessing academic research journal intervention,

“Assessing equipment-fabrication-intervention, assessing academic manuscript-intervention are interventions that are going directly to scholars, while YABATECH has been doing well in assessing the institution based research, academic manuscript, and equipment fabrication, we believe that more needs to be done”; he enjoined.

Concluding, the commissioning assignment, Baffa wondered: “Madam, how do manage to get these gigantic projects executed so effectively and beautifully with so little fund at your disposal?”

In her remarks, the host Rector, Dr Margaret Kudirat Ladipo, stated that the administration always placed very high premium on human capital development, noting that during the last year intervention, the polytechnic was allocated N200million to support training of scholars to do masters and PhD. from all over the world as against the N70million that was allocated in 2015.

“We want our scholars to go to the best universities in the world to get the best of training and so as to provide the best of training to our students”; she said.

Champion Scholar recalls that a sitting Minister in 2013 had observed with pleasant surprise that the Rector,Ladipo had distinguished herself as a very prudent financial manager who had executed so many big projects with very fragile funds made available to her administration.

Subsequently, he caused the federal government to write a letter of commendation to Ladipo in spite of a barrage of accusations of embezzlement and financial impropriety levied against her by a former bursar of the institution while the rector has now been cleared of all the accusations by a White Paper.

For a better society

Candidates' performance drops by 10% in 2018 WASSCE

Some 214,952 candidates cheated in the May-June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and their results have been seized by the authorities.

Mr. Olu Adenipekun, Head of National Office of the West African Examination Council, WAEC, announced this in Lagos as he also announced the cheering news of a seven percent improvement in the number of candidates that passed the examination with five credits.

Last year, 52.9 percent of the candidates recorded the feat. The number jumped to 59.22 percent this year, out of the 1,559,662 candidates that sat for the examination.

Adenipekun said WAEC was still investigating the exam cheats and that the schools of the students would be duly informed soon.

“The cases are being investigated and reports of the investigations will be presented to the appropriate committee of the council in due course for consideration. The committee’s decisions will be communicated to the affected candidates through their schools,’’ he said.

He said that 923,486 of the 1,559,162 candidates that sat for the examination, obtained a minimum of credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics.

The official said the percentage of candidates in this category in the WASSCE for school candidates was an improvement on what was obtained in the same examination in both 2015 and 2016, with 38.68 and 52.97 respectively.

Giving a further breakdown of the results, the WAEC boss said that 1,084,214 candidates, representing 69.94 per cent, obtained credits and above in six subjects.

He said that 1,243,772 candidates, representing 87.05 per cent, obtained credits and above in four subjects.

Adenipekun added that 1,436,024 candidates, representing 92.44 per cent, obtained credits and above in three subjects, while 1,490,356, representing 95.59 per cent, obtained credits and above in two subjects.

He added that of the 1,559,162 candidates that sat for the examination, 1,471,151, representing 94.36 per cent, had their results fully processed and released.

The official said that 95,734 others, representing 5.64 per cent, had a few of their subjects still being processed due to errors traceable to the candidates in the course of registration or writing the examination.

“Such errors are being corrected by the council to enable the affected candidates get their results fully processed and released subsequently,’’ Adenipekun said.

The head of national office commended the supervisors, examiners, and other persons for their immense contributions in ensuring a smooth conduct of the examination.

“The coordination and marking of candidates’ scripts for the 2017 WASSCE for schools was successfully held between May 24 and June 11 at 83 marking venues spread across the country.

“Having said this, we will like to state also that the Nigeria National Office of the council has concluded arrangements to commence the conduct of the WASSCE for private candidates from January/ February 2018.

“This is part of our commitment in ensuring quality service delivery to the Nigerian public.

“I also want to seize this opportunity to inform you that with the upgrade of the council’s ICT facilities, particularly the recently commissioned HP Converged System – a private cloud, the compability of the council’s ICT has now been enhanced,’’ he said.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that WAEC official called on candidates who sat for the examination to check the details of their performance on the council’s result website within the next few hours.

For a better society

The National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS) says it has distributed 15, 000 exercise books and writing materials to public primary schools in Gombe State in commemoration of 2017 Children’s Day.

A statement by NANS’s President, Mr. Chinonso Obasi, on Saturday in Abuja, said that books and other materials were meant to encourage the pupils and the Gombe State government.

Obasi called on governments at all levels to reform public schools which were in sorry state.

“ In line with NANS’ resolve to encourage state governments that are doing well in the area of education and social welfare of young Nigerians, we have distributed over 15, 000 exercise books and writing materials to primary school pupils in Gombe State.

“This gesture by NANS is to challenge the pupils to devote themselves to education as key to a better future and reach out to these future leaders.

“As a nation’s greatness depends on the quality of its citizens, the Federal Government should focus on education as potent weapon in the fight against corruption and other social ills.

“NANS urges the Federal Government to look into the deplorable state of public schools in the country as  private schools have become the mainstay of moral and educational development young Nigerians which  is not a healthy development.’’

According to Obasi, despite the fact that Nigerians in leadership positions are products of public schools, the public school system has been pushed to the background through neglect and abandonment.

Obasi said that Nigeria public schools could reclaim its past glory if government took interest in provision of critical infrastructure, capacity building for teachers and expansion of facilities to accommodate the growing population.

He regretted that while private schools spread in most states, the number of public schools remained stagnant in spite of increasing population of children in need of access to education.

“ Public schools should not be the dumping grounds for children of the less privileged members of the society, but the mainstay of the nation’s well planned and developed educational policies.

“ This calls for a constant review of curricular to match modern trends, training and retraining of teachers and upgrade of educational facilities,’’ he said.


For a better society

Nigerian writer, Jowhor Ile, has been announced winner of the 2016 edition of Etisalat Prize for Literature, the most prestigious literature prize for first-time fiction writers of African origin.

For his novel And After Many Days, Ile was announced the winner at a prize presentation ceremony held on Saturday night, the 20th of May 2017, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. He received a prize of £15,000 and an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen among several other rewards.

Another Nigerian, Julie Iromuanya, author of the book, Mr & Mrs Doctor, and a South African, Jacqui L’Ange, author of The Seed Thief, emerged as the runners-up for the prize.

Ile’s announcement followed the unanimous selection of his book by the judging panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature chaired by multiple award-winning novelist and poet, Helon Habila.

Habila, while congratulating the winner and the runners-up, disclosed that the prize-winning book met the required standards of originality, creative excellence and African sensibility, in keeping with the objective of the Etisalat Prize, which is to promote literary excellence in Africa.

Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, congratulated the winner and the runners-up, and restated the company’s commitment to continuously offer Nigerians and other Africans the best platforms to express their passion and creativity.

“From the outset, our vision at Etisalat has been to support innovation, creativity and talent development. This is why we have stayed focused on creating platforms that enable people, not only to communicate and stay in touch with one another, but also to express their individual creative abilities in all forms of science and arts”, he said.

Born in 1980 and bred in the city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Ile took to writing early and has had his short stories published in McSweeney’s Quarterly and Litro Magazine.  His 256-page novel, And After Many Days, set in Port Harcourt in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, tells the story of a family whose 17-year old son and sibling, Paul Utu, goes missing during the rainy season of 1995. Burdened with the sudden loss, the family gets torn apart, as their search for answers uncovers several family secrets.

In addition to the prize money, other rewards for Ile include an Etisalat-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia where he will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland’.

He and the two runners-up will participate in a multi-city book tour of three African countries also sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria. Furthermore, Etisalat will purchase 1,000 copies of their books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across Africa.

Past winners of the Etisalat Prize for Literature include Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila, for his novel, Tram 83; South African writer, Songeziwe Mahlangu for his novel, Penumbra and Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for her novel, We Need New Names.


For a better society

History will be made on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, as high profile Nigerians including Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta are billed to witness the first matriculation ceremony of Digital Bridge Institute(DBI), Kano.

The Federal Ministry of Education and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) had last year, given the DBI the green light to operate as an Innovation Enterprise Institution.

A statement signed by Dr Okechukwu Adinde, the Administrator of the institute, said the license enables the DBI to run two-year programmes in the specialised areas of software engineering, computer hardware engineering, networking and systems security, telecommunications technology and multimedia technology.

 “The first set of students were admitted into the programme for the Kano and Lagos Learning Centers in the current 2016/2017 academic session. On completion, graduands will be awarded a National Innovation Diploma (NID) equivalent to Ordinary National Diploma (OND) with which they can pursue higher studies in related fields in the university via Direct Entry admission,” the statement noted.

 Established in 2004 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) DBI has, over the years, become the leading provider of capacity building in telecommunications and information technology in Nigeria and beyond.  

 The curriculum of the programme is uniquely designed with 30% classroom instructional work and 70% practical laboratory and workshop experience to offer students a rich blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Upon graduation, students can proceed to a degree programme of their choice via Direct Entry in related fields at any University in Nigeria.

 DBI now has regional centres in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, (Enugu State), Yola (Adamawa State), Asaba, (Delta State). The institution’s facilities include fully equipped training rooms, multimedia teaching aids, and video conference facilities among others.


For a better society

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