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FG Flags Off 2024/25 Commonwealth Scholarship Nomination

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The federal government has flagged off the nomination process for the 2024/2025 Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) interview.

Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mammam who spoke at the opening ceremony of the programme in Abuja on Monday, noted that the nomination process is for the most qualified Nigerians to compete globally with candidates from other Commonwealth Countries.

Represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Andrew David Adejo, the minister said the award which is being managed by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, London remains one of the most prestigious Scholarship schemes for international studies.

“It is also worth mentioning that since its inception in 1959, more than 30,000 Individuals have benefited from the awards and majority of the awardees from Nigeria have returned to make significant contributions to the development of the nation, particularly in our tertiary institutions.

“The Commonwealth Alumni in Nigeria have been instrumental in making laudable contributions to governance over time. This, of course, is in line with one of the key objectives of the scheme and that is to ensure that the returnee scholars make impact in their various disciplines for the betterment of the country,” he said.

Earlier, the director/secretary federal scholarship board, Mrs. Asta Ndajiwo urged the erudite and credible Panelists to continue to adhere to the set criteria of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) with a view to presenting the usual high-quality candidates for the Minister’s endorsement.

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Count Niger Youths Out Of Planned Nationwide Protest – Bago

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Niger State Governor Mohammed Bago has assured Nigerians that Niger youths will not be part of the planned nationwide strike set for August 1 to 10 2024.

A widely publicised youth protest has been planned to drive home the current hunger and economic hardship facing the country.

Bago made this known on Thursday during a town hall meeting in Minna where he averred that the youths in the State were peaceful and would not be drawn into any national protest.

He called on the youths planning the protest to bury the thought saying, “We, as youths of Niger state, have distanced ourselves from the nationwide protest because we are peaceful and want peace and tranquillity.

“You can start demonstrations but you cannot end demonstrations. To youths who are agitating for this protest, let us end these agitations, let us communicate and dialogue on the best way forward.”

The governor announced the release of 50,000 metric tonnes of grains which, he said, would be sold at 50 per cent of its present price and called on security agencies to be on their toes in monitoring and ensuring that the directive is followed to the letter.

“We have over 100, 000 metric tonnes of food in our reserves out of which we will be releasing 50,000 metric tonnes to be sold at 50 per cent of its present price. Before the end of the year, we will slash food prices by 90 per cent,” he assured.

Bago who also announced his support for the autonomy of local governments urged the Chairmen to sit up saying that several of them could not pay salaries for a year. He also boasted that the state government did not depend on FAAC to finance its projects or move the state forward.

“I do not need FAAC in Niger state. The roads I am building and the projects I have undertaken are not being done by FAAC. We are producing and that is the secret behind what we are doing. There are people who have invested in Niger State in the next five years.

“The food I am giving out at a 50 per cent subsidy was originally meant for export but due to the hardship faced by the people, we have opened our warehouses to feed Nigerlites.”

In his remark on the planned protest, the Emir of Bida and the Chairman of the council of traditional rulers of Niger state, Abubakar Yahaya urged the youths not to be tempted to embark on the planned nationwide protest, saying that the protest is not a way to go.

The Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji in his address, also urged the youths of the state not to be part of the protest, stressing that the state would organize programmes for the youths to engage in.

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NELFUND to Begin Disbursing Loans to Tertiary Students Next Week

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By Gabriella Ogbu

Akintunde Sawyerr, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), announced on Wednesday’s Politics Today on Channels Television that students who have qualified for the Federal Government’s loan plan will start receiving credit notifications next week as they commence new academic sessions.

“The people who are going to first receive alerts as early as next week are the people who are about to start a new session in the institution they are in,” Sawyerr disclosed.

He emphasized that other successful applicants will receive credit notices once academic sessions begin at their respective universities and institutions.

Sawyerr’s remarks followed the recent launch of NELFUND by President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja. The initiative aims to support students across universities, polytechnics, and schools of education.

According to Sawyerr, there are currently 170,000 applicants with NELFUND accounts, out of which 110,000 have completed the application process successfully.

“There are two categories of beneficiaries: institutions that will receive payments on behalf of students, and students who will receive a monthly stipend,” Sawyerr clarified.

The formal disbursement circle was launched at the State House, underscoring NELFUND’s objective to foster future leadership and enhance Nigeria’s socioeconomic landscape.

“We have verified over 110,000 eligible applicants who will begin receiving payments as early as next week,” Sawyerr confirmed.

He stressed the importance of meeting specific prerequisites such as JAMB numbers, matriculation numbers, Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), and National Identification Numbers (NIN) for each applicant.

“The current exposure to students amounts to approximately N35 billion, with additional funding expected soon,” Sawyerr added. “We receive 1% of Federal Inland Revenue Service taxes, which supplements our resources.”

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Former Presidential Spokesperson Reveals Soyinka’s Counsel to Tinubu During NADECO Era

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Former Presidential Spokesperson, Laolu Akande, shared a captivating story on Twitter regarding Nigeria’s literary icon, Professor Wole Soyinka, and his encounters with current Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu during their involvement in the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). This tweet, coinciding with Soyinka’s 90th birthday celebrations, offers insights into Tinubu’s enduring presidential ambitions and Soyinka’s efforts to influence his path.

Akande, who formerly taught Communication and African Political History at two New York universities and served as editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, recalled a conversation where Soyinka disclosed Tinubu’s steadfast aspiration to become Nigeria’s President. “I remember WS once told me that to be fair to ‘Bola’ (referring to the incumbent president), he had always made it clear he had ambition to become Nigeria’s President,” Akande wrote.

Known for his frankness and sagacity, Soyinka attempted to dissuade Tinubu from his presidential aspirations, advocating for younger leadership instead. “Much, much later, WS said he tried to dissuade him not to run, in favor of younger people,” Akande continued. Despite Soyinka’s advice, Tinubu, characterized by Soyinka as “olori kunkun”—a term meaning obstinate or unyielding in Yoruba—remained resolute in his pursuit of the presidency. “He did not accept his counsel & was determined to run for the office,” Akande noted.

Akande concluded his tweet with a reflective message to the President, urging him to utilize his tenure to fulfill the long-held aspirations of many Nigerians. “The rest is history as they say. My Take: Mr. President, please use the office to actualize some of those things we all clamored for. There is still enough time to do it,” he implored.

The tweet also featured a nostalgic photograph from the NADECO era, capturing Soyinka, Tinubu, the late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, and Professor Bolaji Aluko among others. The photo, taken in the United States, was humorously captioned, adding a touch of wit to this historic moment.

NADECO, a pro-democracy movement formed in the 1990s to oppose the military regime of General Sani Abacha, marked a period of intense political activism and repression. Figures like Soyinka and Tinubu played pivotal roles in advocating for democratic governance in Nigeria amidst challenging circumstances.

As Soyinka’s 90th birthday sparks reflections on his profound contributions to literature, human rights, and political activism, his interactions with Tinubu underscore the intricate dynamics of Nigerian politics, where principles and ambitions often collide in the pursuit of national progress.

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