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Okpala Uku Dike Rallies Onuaboh Flood Victims, to Donate N5m

Chief Joseph Dike

Chief Joseph Dike who doubles as the Okpala Uku and Iyasele Onowu of his Onuaboh community was very proud of his modest home at Onuaboh. He had personally supervised the architectural drawings to reflect his love for Brazilian style edifice, building a 10-room bungalow with its prized courtyard where he holds community conferences and meetings. Thus, when the building was among the over 1000 homes affected in the recent flooding of the entire Onuaboh town and all the neighboring communities in Ndokwa East local government area of Delta State, one had thought he would be crushed. But that was not the case. When his children rallied to respond to his distress, he dismissed them in his typical great humor. “I am 92 years old, if I die nobody can say I have not lived. So don’t worry about a roof over my head when young families with innocent children have nowhere to call home. Please direct your efforts to where it really matters, the farmers who can’t farm nor feed their families, the many in my community now displaced and in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps across Delta State”. Thus began the “Okpala Uku Joseph Dike flood relief project for Onuaboh community”. Chief Dike urged both the Federal and State government to solve the perennial flood disasters in not only Onuaboh but the Ndosimili areas of Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State arguing that this is the time to use the Ecology funds to rescue the riverine communities from the untold hardship from this year’s floods.
According to Barrister Harrison Dike, coordinator for the flood relief effort, the short-term goal is to raise about Five million naira (#5 million about $10,000.00 dollars) to assist the over 10,000 families in Onuaboh displaced from their homes by the floods with food items such as rice, beans, yam, noodles, garri and personal hygiene supplies. The effort in the long run would encourage displaced Onuaboh farmers to come back to their community as the flood recedes and start preparing for the next planting season. To this extent, arrangements are in top gear to secure cassava stems, improved yam seedlings, okra, egusi and corn seeds indigenous to the area for those farmers able to return home. “We are mobilizing and pulling resources together first as a family to honor our father’s wish to help our community and leveraging our contacts, friends, and professional colleagues to help our community recover quickly from this terrible flood disaster. Thus, we are appealing to all men and women of goodwill to assist by donating to the “Chief Joseph Dike Flood Relief Project for Onuaboh GoFundMe account:” ”or pay to Nigerian local account FCMB:1904900011, Barrister Dike said.
The fund-raising effort is already gathering steam. Mr. Festus Dike, an accountant and graduate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) is using his alumni network both in UNILAG and Federal Government College (FGC), Warri to canvass support for the Onuaboh flood relief project and made a personal donation of One Hundred thousand naira (#100,000.00). His classmate at FGC, Warri, Mrs. Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan doled out One hundred thousand naira (#100,000.00) to support the effort. Chick’nCone, Emory Point, Atlanta, a fast-food restaurant owned and operated by one of Chief Dike’s sons Kingsley Dike is supporting the effort with one thousand dollars ($1000.00) as part of its community support program. “My Uncle Chief Joseph Dike’s life of community service is very inspiring. He is my hero and if at over 90 years old he still bears not his personal or family burdens but that of the entire Onuaboh and Ndosimili area then who am I to stand on the fence? “Festus Dike said. He argues that why it is fashionable to begin to assail the government for the plight of the people, the Dike family ethos teaches that we do something no matter how little to attempt to salvage the situation and bring a little cheer to people who otherwise have nothing to cheer about during the yuletide season. Christmas is a period of goodwill, and I am asking all men and women of goodwill to help us reach our goal by supporting the effort.
Chief Joseph Dike had always considered himself a humble servant of his community Onuaboh in Ndokwa East Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State and not their royal father. That is why he used the occasion of his ascension to the throne as the Okpala Uku of Onuaboh community four years ago to advocate for better living conditions for the people. He had called on the Government to look closely to the living conditions of riverine communities and change the current trajectory of their difficult living conditions of no passable roads, bridges, and electricity.
From a very early age, he had served as an English interpreter and translator for the elders in their interactions with visiting colonial officials in the 1940s. Then he was a brilliant primary school pupil at the Native Authority (NA) Primary School in Onuaboh. He was to emerge a fierce defender and protagonist for the Onuaboh community and the Ndosimili people as a war affected area during the Nigerian Civil War in the 70s. It would be recalled that the Ndokwa area was the scene of intense fighting between the Biafran rebel forces and the Nigerian Army causing widespread devastation, destruction, and displacement of entire communities. At the height of the conflict with the killing of AGIP foreign oil workers in Okpai and the Biafran invasion of the Midwest region, plans were made to relocate and settle displaced communities from the Ndokwa area in faraway places in Urhobo and Benin division.
Chief Dike led a one-man protest campaigning that the displaced families should not be taken away too far from their ancestral homeland. Through the contribution of opinion articles in the lead newspapers of that era, his point of view got the attention of the General Gowon led Federal Military Government and families already taken as far as Ughelli, Benin, Auchi, Uzere etc. were brought back and resettled in Ndokwa town of Obiarukwu. This victory energized the then young schoolteacher who was the Headmaster of Iyiatu LA Primary School in Kwale and led to his appointment as the Chief Refugee Relief Officer for war affected areas. He mobilized public opinion to call for the provision of relief materials particularly food and water for the displaced communities. He contributed to the then ongoing dialogue to prevent starvation that was ravaging the Eastern region from permeating the war affected areas in the Midwestern region, particularly the Ndokwa area.
That is why the present plight of his people rankles, it’s like history repeating itself in a way, albeit in a different way. But it is the same issues he confronted and dealt with as a refugee relief officer for war affected areas almost 50 years ago (hunger, displace persons, relief supplies, community devastation and refugee crisis and camps) that are still dominating the headlines today. There is a haunting, eerie, sad, and disappointing feelings about this, Chief Dike said. But he is quick to add, “I am grateful that this time we are not waiting on the government, I am proud of my own children coming together with their friends and colleagues to rescue a whole community. That they are doing this is a testament that my own life has not been in vain and for this I thank God”.

Kingsley Dike who is the son of Chief Dike is a retired United States Army Military Intelligence Analyst. He wrote from Atlanta, GA USA


Ogun Set To Sign MoU With OPS On Olokola Deep Seaport

The Ogun State Government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have concluded plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the construction of the Olokola Deep Seaport located in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Dapo Abiodun made this known during a breakfast meeting with Chief Executive Officers of the OPS in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Wednesday.

Governor Abiodun noted that the construction of the Olokola seaport would provide another opportunity for companies in the state to move their goods and equipment in addition to the Gateway Agro-Cargo International Airport, which is almost on completion stage, and the planned Dry port to be located at Kajola, an outskirt of the state capital.

Prince Abiodun said: “I want to share with you the fact that whilst we are talking about our road, rail and air transport, we will be signing very soon a Memorandum of Understanding with the private sector players for the construction of our seaport in Olokola.

“This is another giant step to ensure that we enable businesses to continue to thrive in our state.”

The governor said that his administration is working towards putting an end to the multiplicity of taxes in the state, adding that the reforms already put in place by the Ogun State Inland Revenue Service would definitely put pay to the issue.

He also urged businesses to patronize government whenever they are in need of land, saying that all land belonged to the government.

“On the harmonization of taxes, we have put in a lot of reforms on our Inland Revenue Service.

“Be rest assured, be patient with me, slowly and surely, we will remove all these multiplicities of taxes.

“We are also concerned about our physical planning as well. The lands department and physical planning are now working collaboratively to ensure that all the problems we have had in the past are resolved.

“All lands belong to the government. My advice to you is that if you want to buy land, come to the state. We have ensured that any land to be sold to you is properly enumerated and compensated.

“So, please, I want to discourage all of us to desist from buying land from land speculators,” he said.

Abiodun said that his administration would be distributing 5,000 Certificates of Occupancy (CofO) this Friday.

According to him, the state is now at a vantage position to continue to issue out Certificate of Occupancy to subscribers with a newly acquired equipment that can sign 1000 CofOs daily.

Abiodun called on the OPS in the state to give back to their various host communities by either taking advantage of the state government adopt a school or primary health care center project.

The governor spoke on the importance of businesses imbibing the culture of technology transfer, which would further assist the country to move forward technologically.

He reiterated the commitment of his administration to ensure steady and uninterrupted power supply soon through the Ogun Light Up Project.

The governor noted that his administration deliberately laid a lot of emphasis on reconstructing roads that connect the Ogun with other states of the country, especially Lagos, the economic capital of the country.

While commending the OPS for joining hands with his administration at repositioning its security architecture through the rejigging of the Ogun State Security Trust Fund, Governor Abiodun added that his administration would continue to do all it can to make the state the safest place to live, work or play.

Earlier in his address, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adebola Sofela assured that the state government would continue to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

He said the present administration would continue to partner with industries in the state with a view of propelling the common interest of both the government and industries to greater heights

Also speaking, Ogun State Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chief George Onafowokan, acknowledged the position of the state as the best place for industries to thrive.

He, however, called on the state government to continue to work towards ensuring that the enablers for businesses to thrive are readily made available in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the Agbara Cluster, the Director of African Industry Group, Chief Sohan Baghla disclosed that they have being able to provide over ten thousand jobs for the people of the state, adding that a greater percentage of their investments are in steel production and processing, aluminium production and processing, glass, chemicals, steel rolling mills, all situated in the Agbara business cluster.

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Ogun State Set to Distribute 5,000 Certificates of Occupancy

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State

Ogun State Government will, on Friday, December 1, distribute 5000 Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) to beneficiaries.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the office of the Director General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, said Governor Dapo Abiodun will present the certificates to beneficiaries, thus enhancing the value of their properties, as they can be used as collaterals, while house and landowners can also take advantage of the state’s proximity to Lagos to maximise value.

The beneficiaries are drawn from the Ogun State Land Administration and Revenue Management System (OLARMS) and the immediate pass administration’s Home Owners Charter (HOC).

The event will be held at the Arcade Ground, Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.

According to the statement, beneficiaries would be mandated to present valid means of identification.

They will also be accredited by the Bureau of Lands & Survey before the commencement of the distribution.

“The present administration in the state embarked on the exercise aimed at authenticating land documents of all house owners in the state with a view to adding value to the properties and getting the owners to formalize and benefit maximally from them.

“Additional 10,000 certificates of occupancy are in the pipeline for distribution within the next one year, urging interest application to take advantage of the opportunity,” the statement read.

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Ogun Launches Second Phase of Dapo Abiodun’s N1bn Grant for Micro and Small Enterprises

Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun

The Ogun State Government has commenced the second phase of the disbursement of the N1 billion grant to micro and small enterprises (MSEs).

The initiative aims to alleviate poverty and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in the state.

Commissioner for Industry, Trade, and Investment and a member of the Ogun State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (OGUN CARES) Steering Committee,
Mr. Adebola Sofela, in a statement on Monday,
announced that Governor Dapo Abiodun has directed the immediate commencement of the disbursement process for the second phase of the grants.

This phase will benefit entrepreneurs across the state.

He said that a stakeholder engagement session will be held for legitimate business owners in the Ogun Central Senatorial District at the Obas Complex Hall, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, to kick-start the second phase.

The objective of the sessions, according to the commissioner, is to provide participants with information about the application process and criteria for eligibility.

Sofela added that the date and time for the stakeholder engagement sessions in Ogun West and East Senatorial Districts will be communicated at a later date.

In the first batch, over N120 million was disbursed by the state government to more than 1,000 micro and small entrepreneurs across the twenty (20) local government areas of the state, with the beneficiaries expressing their gratitude in an appreciation letter addressed to the governor.

Trade associations, representing the beneficiaries, including the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON), Joint National Association of Persons Living With Disabilities (JONAPWD), Artisans Groups, and Market Men and Women, all commended the Governor for his support during the challenging time.

They highlighted the significant increase in operational expenses and the struggle to pay workers’ salaries, as well as the costs of operational gadgets, utilities, and renting shops.

“We believe that this grant will provide much-needed relief to businesses in our state. We appreciate your continued support and encourage you to stay informed about future updates regarding the disbursement process,” Sofela added.

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