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SUN Awards: Philanthropy not for attention seeking, says Ume, Unubiko Foundation chairman



Chief James Ume, founder and chairman of Unubiko Foundation

The founder and chairman of Unubiko Foundation, Chief James Ume, has said philanthropy was about serving humanity and not personal attention seeking.

Ume, who is a nominee for The Sun Newspapers Humanitarian Service Icon Award for 2022, made this known on Sunday in Abuja when he played host to a delegation of the newspaper’s management led by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh.

“I believe we are serving humanity, we are serving God, so, we don’t need any self-seeking attention. When you give to people, you are giving back to God,” Ume said.

According to him, as a media owner, it was easy to have taken the path of self-adulation, but that would have defeated the essence of setting up the foundation to impact meaningfully on the lives of others.

Ume expressed appreciation to The Sun Newspapers for the recognition and stated that, “it is a surprise that The Sun Newspapers has done its homework very well and have found us worthy of this esteemed recognition.

“On behalf of my late mother, my dear wife, my children and those who have donated to what we are doing, we have a lot more projects ongoing, to accept this award nomination and I wish to reiterate that this is a clarion call to do even more as a foundation in serving our people and humanity.”

*Chief James Ume (r) and SUN MD, Onuoha Ukeh (l)

Earlier, the MD of the newspaper, Mr. Ukeh, while presenting the letter of award, said Mr. Ume’s “selection for this award was based on merit because of your outstanding humanitarian service gestures, which have touched the lives of many people.”

He stressed that “the Humanitarian Service Icon Award is reserved for that man or woman who has done much to give succour to the indigent and the downtrodden.”

Part of the award letter reads, “We know that as a way of giving back to the society, you set up the Unubiko Foundation to reach out and give hope to the needy. Ever since, you have made giving a culture, which has been demonstrated without boundaries.

“Last month, you handed over a Customary Court rebuilt at the cost of over N150million. You also handed over the Presbyterian Church you rebuilt as well as a women development centre, and Ovukwu-Abam Secondary School, Atan-Abam, which you rebuilt at over N500 million.

“You have empowered hundreds of widows, awarded no fewer than 200 scholarships for students in Arochukwu Local Government Area, paid WAEC fees for all students in Atan-Abam in 2020, and donated 100 brand new laptops to trainees in digital economy.

“You have also provided transformers to aid rural electrification, financed 44 boreholes for the 27 villages that make up Abam, among other philanthropic projects.

“We are aware that in 2020, at the peak of COVID-19, you distributed PPEs to all the communities in Abam, Arochukwu LGA of Abia State, donated PPEs to Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, donated books worth over N6 million to the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) National Secretariat as well as the Abia and Abuja Councils, paid medical bills for the indigents running into hundreds, and sponsored several journalism capacity building trainings.”

The letter further stated that owing to the founder’s “immense contributions to Abia State and community development efforts,” he was “singled out for commendation by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in a personally signed letter. This was followed by your installation as “Ike Abam’’ by the 27 autonomous communities in early 2021.”

The presentation of the award will be held at the prestigious The Sun Awards ceremony scheduled for Lagos on January 28, 2023.

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Southeast governors shun Soludo as Anambra hosts regional conference



Southeast governors have shunned the zone’s regional conference on human capital development, hosted by Anambra State Governor Prof Chukwuma Soludo.

The region’s other four governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo sent representatives to the two-day conference held in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Soludo lamented the lack of unity among the region’s leaders, saying it was detrimental to the Southeast’s growth.

He advocated for a regional education board to fashion out a curriculum for the region.

The governor also said that the Southeast could come together and set up a teacher certification institute to certify teachers for schools in the region.

It was his reaction to recommendations and policy documents unveiled by technocrats during the conference.

In the area of education, labour and health, he said they could be adopted by the governors of the region to grow human capital.

He maintained that the Southeast could not afford to lag in the area of human capital development, adding that Anambra had the least land mass in the country, and also the least natural resources.

Soludo said: “Your recommendations are excellent. I will read them with keen interest and see which of them we can take.

“We have little land mass in the Southeast. We are actually the smallest with Lagos State, but while Lagos is reclaiming land from the sea, we are losing our land to gully erosion.

“Anambra is the world’s gully erosion capital. In the Southeast, we are landlocked, and we have the least mineral resources. Our only boost is human capital.

“Human capital naturally is our only dependable resource. It has been so yesterday and today and will remain so tomorrow.

He described the conference as “pivotal to who we are.

“And if we do not mind about human resources, then we are going nowhere. We must work on that

“I listened to your recommendations on education, but who said the Southeast cannot set up a regional education board to fashion out a curriculum for students in the region?

“Must we always use what others are using? Who knows, you may fashion out a curriculum that will attract the interest of other people, and the world at large.

“The various governments of the Southeast can come together and set up a teacher certification institute to certify teachers for schools in the region too.”

Soludo lamented that in the past some governments of the Southeast sent home some workers, on the ground that they were not from their state. He added that Anambra had reversed that policy.

“We just recruited 5,000 teachers in Anambra State, but I told the ministry not to accept if I recommend anybody to them. We employed people from every state.

“All I need is for the best teachers to be employed. Our children deserve the best teachers, and all they hope to get is the very best, no matter where the teachers come from.

“In my own eyes, I don’t see those boundaries and for the greatness of Nigeria, we must not see those boundaries,” he said.

The conference had the theme: changing the narrative – towards entrenching human capital development in the Southeast Nigeria. (The Nation)

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2023: INEC announces new deadline for collection of PVCs



The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced the extension of the deadline for collection of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, nationwide.

During its meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Friday, the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, indicated that the Commission will not hesitate to consider additional measures to ensure that all citizens have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the general election.

Having reviewed reports from all the states of the Federation, the Commission said it was encouraged by the progress made so far as more Nigerians troop out daily to collect their PVCs.

The Commission, therefore, announced the collection of PVCs in all its local government offices by one week.

“The ongoing collection of PVCs nationwide will therefore continue and end on 5th February 2023,” a statement signed by Festus Okoye
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said.

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2023: Obi of Onitsha storms Kaduna, says Nigeria’s unity sacrosanct



Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe
The Obi of Onitsha (AGBOGIDI),  His Royal Majesty (HRM), Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, has called on Nigerians to remain united and love one another irrespective of tribe or religious affiliation.
The royal father spoke to journalists in an interview on Thursday after commissioning the Digital Resource Centre named after him at the Green Field University (GFU), City Campus in Kudenda, Kaduna,saying Nigerians are brothers and sisters and they must live together.
Ahead of the February election, the royal father charged Nigerians to pick up  their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote massively during election.
“What matters most at this point of the nation’s history is a unifier.What Nigeria needs is a good president, but if you say South East today, South East tomorrow, it doesn’t matter. What we want is a Nigerian leader who will unite the country and lead it to greater heights,” he said.
The Founder/Pro-Chancellor, Greenfield University, Chief/Engr Simon Ifediora Nwakacha (Onwa of Umueri),  described the Obi’s visit to the university as a wonderful occurrence, adding that “this is the first First Class traditional ruler. His coming here is good for unity of Nigeria,” he said.
“The prospects for the university are very bright.We  look forward to the university being great. Already now the first set of accreditation was succesful. Greenfield scaled through  getting its permanent license to operate campuses from any part of the country,” he added.
In  his Keynote address, Engr.  Nwakacha  welcomed the Obi of Onitsha, whom he described as the first First Class Traditional Ruler to visit their city campus.
“During deliberation in one of our council meetings to choose who we would name the digital resource centre after, your name was suggested and widely accepted,” he said.
He recalled that when they were setting up the Imperial Academy, a  school owned by his wife in 1996 in Kudenda, they met the traditional ruler and begged him to name the road leading to the school after his village in the South East, Umueri, which he obliged and the name has remained till date.
He described the feat as an understanding that promotes unity among the diverse people of Nigeria.

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