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Minister harps on tolerance as ingredient in nation building



Chief Edem Duke

Chief Edem Duke

A sensitization programme on peaceful co-existence among communities in Nigeria has ended in Owerri, the Imo State capital.  The programme which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to foster peaceful co-existence among various tribes and religions in Nigeria, held at Links Hotel, Owerri, Monday, July 22, 2013.

The event witnessed notable dignitaries from the Federal and State Ministries of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation.  Chief Edem Duke, the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation (TCNO), was ably represented by Daniel Tufato, Director, National Orientation, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation.

The event featured a keynote address delivered by the Hon. Minister, paper presentations and a short drama sketch by some youth corpers serving in Owerri.

Delivering his paper, titled:   Peace Education as a Panacea for Rising Ethno-Religious Conflict in Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Dr. Innocent M. Osuagwu, a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Owerri, described the programme as a National Summit.  He used the forum to advise every Nigerian to develop what he called a culture of peace.  This culture of peace, he said, will inspire and activate various Nigerian ethnic nationalities and religions to acquire the necessary knowledge and disposition of what to do and how to make peace in order to live well with others.

Fr. Osuagwu warned that to achieve the dreams of the heroes past, Nigerians must make the fundamental decision of eschewing violence.  He reminded leaders whom he said in their quest for selfish interest, continue to fan the embers of hatred and bigotry, that peace in society is not commiserate with peace they can guarantee among their mercenaries.  The clergyman therefore concluded like St. Francis of Assisi by praying that God would make every Nigerian become an instrument of peace, where hatred, rancor and acrimony would be dispelled.

Following up in the lecture series was Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, Dean, Post Graduate Studies, IMSU, who dwelt on the topic: The Importance of Building Harmony and Understanding in a Culturally Diverse Nation such as Nigeria.   He noted that the “present day Nigeria is resting on a deplorable foundation”.  This foundation, according to the academic guru was laid under tribalistic sentiments.  Just like Fr. Osuagwu, Prof. Nwajiuba also identified weak and poor quality leadership as factors militating against peace, unity and national development.  Yet, he did not shield the ordinary Nigerian from the national setbacks.  He opined that for a meaningful development to be achieved in any society, proactive measures especially from the common citizens are as paramount as they are irrefutable.  He stressed that these measures would act as a catalyst in checkmating the excesses of the ruling class.

Earlier in his keynote address, the Honourable Minister averred that tolerance and mutual understanding are veritable ingredients in nation building.  He maintained that building a society where every Nigerian would be identified and respected requires the co-operation of all.  He therefore admonished all, especially leaders and some other individuals and groups whom he said have taken some undue advantage of the ethno-religious differences in Nigeria to unleash violence and terror to sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue for peace to reign.

Others at the event included Vitus O. Ekeocha, Director, National Orientation Agency, Imo State, HRH Eze Sam Ihekwoaba of Ihitte Ogada Owerri North LGA, Dike Smart C. (SP), Nigeria Prisons Service Owerri and a host of other representatives from the secular society including traditional rulers and religious leaders.



USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas



USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital



Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council



Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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