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Opon Imo And SCARF Debates

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When Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was inaugurated as the seventh Governor of the State of Osun, many would have expected that his administration would just be a change in name and personnel; that in deeds and operations, it would not be different radically from what people had known about Governments in Nigeria; corruption, nepotism, cosmetic treatment of the needs and welfare of the people and largely noise without action. Of course this expectation was not because the Governor harbours any of this traits in person but because over the years, Nigerians irrespective of State or tribe have become forlorn and despondent due to gross raping of the commonwealth by the elected leaders without making any visible efforts to attend to the crucial needs of the people.

Perhaps, Ogbeni Aregbesola read the minds of the people right or he was favoured by the Supreme Being with a supernatural compass to show the way to go. Steps taking by him as Governor after inauguration, so far, underscore the latter. He seems to be working under some carefully designed divine program like the biblical Moses, who was closely and carefully guided by God to take his people out of the land of Egypt. Right from the onset, he assured a crowd of previously oppressed people but jubilantly present at his inauguration that he will run a government unusual as a leader.

He acknowledged the myriads of troubles and challenges being faced by the people and promised to make the people the centre of his administration. “We are face with many challenges and problems in this state but they are not insurmountable. Together and with the support of everybody we will get a good result that will advance the interest of the generality of the people of the state,” he added. He promised to create a new vision for the people and make leadership accountable to the people.

More than two years down the line, pundits have come to a common position on him; that he has been faithful on his campaign promises. Badly as they would like to hate him, the critics, the loyalists of the opposition administration have not taken on Aregbesola’s government on failure to meet the promises made to the people but rather on their perceived quantum of the degree of promise fulfilment. Immediately after being inaugurated, Governor Aregbesola unveiled the direction of his administration by putting in place various programs and policies all of which have become the defining paradigm of the State as a State on the crest of development. His programs, though fancifully tagged as six integral plan of actions, covered every aspect of life and living. Education, Physical Infrastructure, Security, Agriculture and Economic regeneration, Jobs creation, Human Capital Development and of course Culture and Entertainment are all adequately integrated into the plan of actions which themselves are being implemented within the global plan of the leaders in the South West to integrate the political and economic activities in the region into an organic whole.

Among his packs of revolutionary programs on which a lot have been written and much acknowledgement had been made however, one stands out as life-changing and generational shift. This is the introduction of computerised learning system into the public secondary schools in the state as part of the educational reform regime necessitated by the extreme rots in the educational sector in the state. The computerised learning system comprises of various sub-programs which are aimed at changing the way students and teachers in the state access instructional material henceforth.

The philosophy behind the computerised school learning system is that our children and the youth should be properly and effectively impacted with knowledge to make them function well and create a society that can stand at par with others in the developed world. According to Ogbeni at a press conference in Osogbo recently, “the distinction between a purposeful governance and others is not the road, the electricity you build only. In an underdeveloped economy such as we have, physical infrastructure is very important.

However, If we have to do things in a more purposeful way, the human capital is the most important thing to affect. Infrastructure cannot be the basis of success of any administration. It forms part of it but not the basis for it. If we look at what greatness entails and purposefulness entails, the human being is the most important element.” This is why Ogbeni Aregbesola is committing unprecedented resources to radically improve the education sector in the state and provide our country an inspiring reform model.

The reform in the education has witnessed the introduction of new uniform in line with brand colours of the State, building of world-standard 100 schools in the State, introduction of nutritious and constant regular free meals for all students in public schools in the state and the computerised of access to books and educational materials through the introduction of “Opon Imo,” tablet of knowledge in the public secondary schools in the state. The Opon Imo, though a component of the education reform, is a game changer which many students and parents in the state have been scrambling to get especially those in private schools as the device is provided free for all students in public senior secondary schools just as tuition and uniform are free for all pupils and students in the State.

In terms of configuration, the Opon Imo, “Tablet of Knowledge”, is an e-learning tablet that provides the senior secondary students with the contents required to prepare for school examinations. It provides three major content categories; Text Books, Tutorials and Practice Questions. These tablets are being distributed to all senior secondary students across state schools in a move that is expected to radically scale up ‘access’ to learning, regardless of means, location or status of the families from where the students come from. Opon Imo delivers compelling self- paced courses in a highly interactive manner.

The courses are syncronized to a library of relevant e-books and a computer- based testing environment. Opon Imo is a first of its kind initiative in Nigeria, which tackles the learning problem using contemporary ICTs, indigenous content and taking into account socially embedded factors accordingly. The tablet is a portable electronic device, which is controlled through its touchscreen interface, and is available across the open source android operating system. The tablet is already preloaded with 54 e-Textbooks covering 17 Subjects. 54 Tutorials covering 17 Subjects and over 40,000 practice questions and answers as well as 6 extra curricular books among others.

Just as the technical, content and physical infrastructure of the education sector in the state are being tackled in the mainstream policy and program of the State administration, wife of the Governor, Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola has also rolled out educational programs, under her development Foundation, known as the Sheri Care Foundation (SCARF) to directly complement the efforts of the State administration. The programs include schools debate, quizzes, cooking competition, Aptitude Game among others.

Penultimate week, SCARF debuted with its School Debate series. The maiden edition tagged “Osun Debaters.” Not less than 180 public schools participated in the maiden editition with excitement and indescribable zeal. Speaking at the finals of the debate program, the Founder and President of the Foundation, Mrs Aregbesola said, “the debate program is one of the elements of our educational programs designed to compliment the educational curricula in our secondary schools in the State. The objective of the “Osun Debaters” is to activate the spirit of competitiveness among our young ones in a way that would prepare them for the leadership roles in all facets of life in future.

“SCARF’s conviction is that debate is a challenging and highly rewarding educational activity for our students. We have no doubt that Osun Debaters program would enhance the analytical skills of our students and develop their problem solving ability both while in schools and thereafter. We are convinced that exposing our students to activities such as debates and quizzes would also develop proficiency in thoughts and public speaking ability of the students as they would be motivated to do I depth researches. This will increase the ability of the students to do well in life either in businesses, professions or government.”

Participants at the debate, which was won by students of Osogbo Grammar demonstrated so much enthusiasm and excitement at being allowed to take part. They were so active in both the qualification and finals stages. They commended the program and requested for constant hosting of such programs.

With the provision of Opon Imo, students in the State will now certainly be well positioned to build their research ability and now that the Foundation and other stakeholders are complimenting the government efforts in terms of out-of-class academic activities, Osun will soon become the place to send one’s children for education. In the words of one of the top rate media men in Osogbo, “the efforts of the Governor together with the support programs being unveiled by the Sheri Care Foundation have given students in Osun great unfair advantage over their peers in other States”. Parents should now be mobilised to ensure usage of these platforms effectively.

Nigeria beat Kenya, top Group F

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Nigeria maintain leadership in Group F of the African qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup after beating hosts Kenya 1-0 in their second leg tie in Kasarani on Wednesday. Nigeria now have eight points from four matches, while Kenya are bottom of the log with two points.

All Nigeria needed was an 81st minute strike from CSKA Moscow’s Ahmed Musa to give Nigeria the needed victory.

The former Kano Pillars winger capitalised on goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng’s miscalculation to rush for the ball as the Nigerian chipped it into the net to send the small band of Nigerian supporters at the stadium into wild jubilation.

The other Group F match between Malawi and Namibia ended goalless in Blantyre, leaving the hosts with six points in four matches.

The Flames of Malawi could not find a way past the Brave Warriors of Namibia at Kamuzu Stadium, giving them their third draw in four games in the qualifying series.

Both Nigeria and Kenya were without some key players in the encounter with Nations Cup hero Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses missing out on the game for the Eagles, while Dennis Oliech and Arnold Origi were absent from the Harambee Stars.

The African champions had a tough day with their hosts as the Kenyans tried all they could to exploit their home advantage in front of a capacity crowd at the Moi International Sports Centre.

In spite of the lacklustre performance in the first half, Nigeria came close to taking the lead as early as the fifth minute when Dynamo Kyiv’s Brown Ideye got a chance at goal but he blasted the ball over.

Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was hardly tested for most of the first half waiting till the 39th minute to make his first save of the match, stopping Peter Opiyo’s long range effort.

In the 47th minute, Nnamdi Oduamadi missed a chance to put Nigeria forward after dribbling past Brian Mandela in the goal area, but Kenya goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng made a brilliant save to deny the Varese forward of his second goal in the qualifying series.

The introduction of Anthony Ujah to replace Ideye gave Nigeria more bite up front, forcing the Kenyans back, but the FC Koln striker wasted his chance to be on the scorers sheet when he headed wide a cross in the 72nd minute.

Nigeria’s next World Cup qualifier will be against Namibia in Windhoek on June 12. After that, the African champions travel to Brazil for the FIFA Confederations Cup which holds from June 15 to 30.

Countering cancer of the female reproductive system

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The word ‘cancer’ is a very dreadful terminology for the doctor and patient alike. It is so feared because of the amount of suffering, difficulty in being cured and high death rates inflicted on its victims.

What does the word cancer mean? It simply refers to the uncontrolled growth and spread of aberrant (abnormal) cells in the body. Cancer can affect various systems in the body including the female reproductive system.

The female reproductive system constitutes the organs and structures that are involved in the process of reproduction in women. These organs and structures include the cervix, uterus (womb), ovaries, vagina, vulva, fallopian tubes and also the mammary glands (breasts). Female reproductive cancers thus include cancers affecting the ovaries, cervix, uterus, and so on.

Female reproductive cancers (especially, cancer of the cervix and breast) constitute the commonest group of cancers in women, especially in this country and have been associated with high mortality (death) rates. So, the import of preventing cancers of the reproductive tract cannot be overemphasised.

What are toxins? Toxins are harmful substances which are capable of causing disease, especially when introduced into the body. Toxins can get into the human body by various routes like eating the wrong food, inhalation, skin contact, etc. It is interesting to note that toxins can stay in the human body without immediately causing symptoms and do linger on for a long time, which may be for years and even decades before the negative effects are noticed.

Numerous scientific studies have linked toxins in the development of cancer and these toxins are referred to as ‘carcinogens.’ The study of toxins and carcinogenesis (development of cancer) is a very complex and dynamic, as more and more toxins are discovered.

As noted earlier, toxins can be in the water you drink, your food, immediate environment (work, school, house and other places), pesticides, solvents and so on. How toxins are involved in carcinogenesis is a very complex and sometimes poorly understood topic. It is pertinent to note that cancer cells are usually normal cells at first that undergo certain changes that cause them to begin to divide in an uncontrollable manner and spread. These usually involve an alteration in the structure of a DNA (De-oxyribonucleic acid of a cell). In other words, the DNA is concerned with the regulation of the alterations in the genetic composition of the cell. These alterations are referred to as ‘mutations,’ while the toxins that lead to these changes are called ‘mutagens.’ However, not all mutagens are carcinogens and vice versa.

A number of toxins/carcinogens has been associated with female reproductive tract cancers. Toxins associated with cancer of the ovary include asbestos, talcum powder and pesticides; while those associated with cancer of the cervix include DES (Diethylstilbestrol, which is present in many contraceptives) and tobacco smoke. Carcinogens linked to breast cancer include ethyl alcohol, tobacco smoke, aromatic amines in plastics and DES in contraceptives.

Recently, the wearing of bras with metallic support has been linked to breast cancer. This has led to the production of bras with plastic support. Those carcinogens linked to uterine cancer include dichloroethane found in PVC plastics and other hydrocarbon products, arsenic (found in herbicides, wood preservatives and lead alloys in batteries), DES and acrylamide (found in cosmetics).

Carcinogens can be divided into various classes, based on what stage of carcinogenesis they affect; thus, they can be grouped as initiator carcinogens, promoter carcinogens and progressor carcinogens.

Also, some carcinogens can influence all the stages of carcinogenesis. Examples of initiator carcinogens include nitrosamine (found in smoked fish and cured meat); and cadmium, which is found in batteries.

Examples of progressor carcinogens include asbestos, which is used in roofing and ceiling materials, as well as the arsenic present in herbicides. Because of the intricate association between various toxins and cancer development, the question of how to deal with these toxins becomes very important. The most important fact is based on the work of Prof. Otto Heinrich Warburg (1883-1970), who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1931. His main focus was that development of cancer is due to blockage of the energy producing cell in the body called mitochondria, leading to the switch-off of the cell control mechanisms.

In other words, the carcinogens take control of the cell and do not allow it to function properly. Therefore, any situation to address cancer must reactive the cell control mechanisms.

This brings us to the topic of detoxification, which can be carried out by various methods or techniques, but the overall goal is to treat or prevent various diseases in the body by removing the substances that could cause them.

The removal of toxic substances associated with a type of cancer from the body of an individual, for example, could help protect the individual from developing that cancer, especially when he/she is at high risk of developing it.

Detoxification could be used as a method of preventing the development of female reproductive cancers such as ovarian and breast cancer, by removing the associated carcinogens. In addition to other activities like cancer screening and early detection, vaccination and aggressive chemotherapy, detoxification could also be used as a tool in dealing with the scourge of female reproductive cancers that plague women.

A good detox centre will remove all the heavy metals and toxic food such as heavy carbohydrate, while regenerating the body with orthomolecular supplements and an alkaline diet.

When this is done long enough, the cancer cell should become silent in its activity.

Culled from Punch Newspaper  

First Bank shuts operations Thursday, reopens Monday

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MD/CEO Firstbank Plc,Mr. Bisi Onasanya
MD/CEO Firstbank Plc,Mr. Bisi Onasanya
Customers of First Bank Limited may find it difficult to carry out some banking transactions from Thursday to Monday due to the decision to shut down the bank’s branches nationwide during the period.
The shutdown, according to the bank, is to enable it upgrade its core banking application from Finacle 7 to Finacle 10, which will ensure easier and faster customer services and experience.
Our correspondent gathered that the decision to shut down operations in order to facilitate the migration to Finacle 10 would affect the bank’s over 700 branches nationwide.
Apart from all the branches being shut, Point of Sale transactions and transaction alerts by Short Message Service will not be possible during the period. In addition, all card services, except Visa prepaid card, will not be available via Quick Teller and the Web.
First Bank said in an explanatory note, “All transactions that will impact on the banking platform e.g. settlements, inter bank (RTGS, NEFT, FIP) inflows, will not be available.”
However, the bank said skeletal services would be available on its ATMs throughout the migration period until 5pm on Sunday, and would be restored at 6am on Monday.
Online banking services, according to the bank, will also be available until 5pm on Sunday and be restored at 6am on Monday, while its mobile money services will be available throughout the migration period.
The bank had notified its customers through SMS and email of the development and apologised for inconveniences that they might suffer as a result of the platform upgrade.
The Group Managing Director, First Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, said in an open letter to the customers, “I write to thank you for your continuous patronage and inform you of our plan to upgrade our core banking application as part of the ongoing transformation of the bank.
“I am particularly excited at the prospect of this milestone as it represents the opportunity to significantly transform our service delivery to you in many respects, while also supporting our plans for the introduction of new and innovative products as we anticipate your every banking need.
“This is a major project and on account of the technical requirements, we regret that there will be some disruptions to our services for about three days, while the upgrade is ongoing.”
Onasanya said only intra-bank transactions would be available on the alternative channels while the upgrade was going on, adding that the clearing of customers’ might also be slightly delayed but that all investments due on any transaction within the period would only be terminated when all services were restored without affecting the value dates or the value of accrued interests on such investments.
However, the decision is causing anxiety among the customers of the bank, who complained that the planned shutdown would further compound the problems they had been coping with lately in accessing the institution’s services.
For instance, customers have been complaining of not being able to draw cash from the bank’s Automated Teller Machines for sometime now, while money transfers to other banks from First Bank branches have been difficult in the last two weeks.
When contacted, the spokesman of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Ugo Okoroafor, said he was not aware of the plans by the bank to close its branches and urged our correspondent to call back to enable him make enquiries.
However, subsequent calls and SMS sent to his mobile telephone line were unanswered as of 9.30pm when this report was put together.
Culled from Punch newspaper.

LEKKI-IKOYI LINK BRIDGE OPENS, EXCITES MOTORISTS

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The new Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge was opened for use to motorists, as the clock ticked past midnight on Friday, many of whom welcomed the project and commended the Babatunde Fashola administration for the bridge which they were happy would shorten their travel time.

Some of the motorists who passed through the bridge in separate interviews with newsmen, urged motorists to use the bridge and pay the requisite toll because according to them, good infrastructure like the bridge can only be provided in quicker time through public private partnership investment.

Mr. Agore Aboh, one of those spoken to expressed happiness and excitement that such a feat is being recorded in Nigeria. “If similar things can be happening in our country, we would be happy. That was why I decided to ply the road, pay the toll and encourage others to pay because the most important thing is that ‘let good things be happening”.

Another respondent who also made use of the bridge after it was opened and spoke to newsmen; Chief Adolo Okotie Eboh described it as an evidence of good governance and hoped that other states would emulate the Lagos State Government as everything looks good because cars are moving, people are moving freely and it shows that the state is ready to go.

Mr. Bambo Ibidapo Obe in his testimony, said: “I love the new bridge. I think it is a new development. I have been waiting for them for a very long time to open it. I am glad it is open; I made efforts to make sure I pass it today on the first day it opened and I am very impressed. It is a very beautiful road. I look forward to Lagos State doing a lot more of this for us.

“I have paid N300 (for Jeep). I think it is the wave of the future. If we want good things we have to pay for it. Nigerians have shown that they are willing to pay for good services. In Lagos especially, it is clear that people are willing to pay for good services and the difference would be clear to anybody that passes it, you know you would get what you are paying for”, Mr Ibidapo-Obe added.

Another motorist who plied the Link Bridge after it was opened and spoke to newsmen is an entrepreneur, Mr Valentine Aboh who gave kudos to the Lagos State Governor and his team for their clear vision of infrastructural renewal and development in Lagos State.

He added that the project is a welcome development that is also people oriented, adding that its benefit is for the users of the roads not the government. “We the masses appreciate it and no matter how much they ask us to pay, we will pay the toll. Let the good things be replicated around the whole state so that people will have easy movement to go around unhindered for their businesses. We Nigerians are willing to struggle to make ends meet but let the government give us the enabling environment”.

Mr. Dare Ajayi, who also reacted to the commencement of operations of the Bridge, said he is encouraged by what the State Governor is doing in terms of building bridges because that is essentially what is needed in the country.

“This is good infrastructure. The quality of the road speaks for itself, well built and the aesthetic value as well is very visible. Once again, I congratulate Lagosians and congratulate the governor for such an initiative. I love the Governor. I was going to say I would keep this ticket as a souvenir and keep for future generations to see. If we have ten of Fasholas in this country, things would turn around for the better. I am not a member of any party but I like to recognize good things. For me it is a joyful moment like this”.

Another motorist, Mr. Tunde Olaleye who also spoke with newsmen after plying the Bridge said It is going to fasten the rate at which people move from lekki to ikoyi, explaining that he as a person lives in Lekki but goes to Banana Island to do his workout every Saturday and spends about an hour getting there o banana island but that with the new Link Bridge, it takes him a few minutes to get there.

“I am an entrepreneur and I am enjoying Lagos. This is a dream come true. These are things we use to see on television but Governor Fashola has made it possible here. I feel real good to be a Lagosian. My advice to those who ply the route is that they should just pay the toll because: “this is a miracle as far as I am concerned and this would shorten your trip. Look at the ambience and even the serenity and everything. It is worth paying for”, another motorist, Mr Oyibo Mohammed reiterated.

It would be recalled that the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Wednesday formally handed over the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, restating that the primary objective in its conception and delivery was to provide a transport infrastructure and strategic traffic management solution aimed at easing traffic congestion in the area.

HAKEEM BELLO

Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA)

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Mission: To identify and register all residents of Lagos State for efficient planning and allocation of resources
Vision: To establish an accurate, reliable and updateable database of all Lagos State Residents.
Intent: Enable the government’s e-Government Strategy and implementation by authenticating the users of Lagos State Government Service.
Enable Lagos State Government to allocate resources to meet the needs of the citizenry.
Simplify government service delivery and facilitate transactions by linking existing data sources with a unique person identifier.
Enable economic growth of Lagos State

Objectives: To establish a reliable and updateable database of all residents of Lagos State, to provide useful information for social, political, business and financial activities.
To create and document a unique means of identification of Lagos State residents
To provide a highly secured identification card for all residents of the state & remove the veil of anonymity from every citizen of the state.
Our Values
Customer Service: We are dedicated to satisfying customer needs and honoring Excellence commitments that we have made to them.

Teamwork: We effectively collaborate always looking for ways to achieve results through sharing ideas and talents to develop solutions.
Initiative: We participate in the initiative to shape the future of Lagos State by encouraging creativity, being discipline to manage risks with speedy action and decisiveness.
Integrity: we aim to be ethically unyielding and honest and inspiring trust and taking responsibility for our actions.
Innovation: We generate new ideas and creative approaches to problems, pursing new ideas, recognizing and reward innovation.
Our values guide the actions and integrity of the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency. They influence the way we work together as an Agency of the Lagos State Government to provide an efficient and effective service by the Lagos State Government for the citizenry of Lagos State.

Lagos State Residents Registration Begins

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Lagos State Government will on Monday begin the registration of residents living in the state in a move the government says will help to plan and efficiently allocate resources.
This was made known by the General Manager of the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency, Ms. Yinka Fashola, in an address to pressmen on Friday in Lagos.
She said, “The main purpose of the registration is for planning and the efficient allocation of resources. It is not a census. The issue here is that there is no point in planning for so many people when you don’t know who they are, where they live, what their road, water and electricity needs are. The only way to know is to go out there and register them.
“A live pilot begins on Monday with a manageable chunk of people so that in the event that there is the need to review, or fix anything we can easily do that without any serious damage.”
The card issued from the registration point is expected to give residents access to health, transportation and other government and non-governmental services in the state.
Stating that the project began four years ago, Fashola, added that the agency having consulted with stakeholders, had trained about 600 registration officers and 41,000 teachers for the exercise.
When questioned about the registration of beggars, destitute and street urchins, Fashola said no resident would be left out in the registration exercise which is expected to commence by mid-June.
She said, “The truth is that everybody is coming from somewhere. No matter where you are in the world, you have an address.
“Even for the prostitutes and purdahs, I have female officers who will camp them in a hall and register them. Anyone who has lived in Lagos state for a minimum of six months will be registered.”
Fashola also revealed that the agency had received applications from many Ph.D, M.sc holders and graduates in the course of recruiting registration officers.
“The position was initially planned
for only school certificate holders and people with OND who would be a paid N25, 000 monthly but 85 per cent of people that applied have degrees, masters, PhD or even some other higher levels.
“We have them coming from all walks of life; accountants, biochemists, micro-genetics, applying for a job that does not pay that much,” she said.
Fashola added that LASRRA had brought this to the notice of the Ministry of Establishment and Training to help find a way of helping them.
She said, “I do not believe that we should turn them back to the community without giving them some necessary skills that can move them forward in life. We haven’t come up with an exact plan, but we are on it. Candidates have been given an assessment test and only those who passed were allowed to go through the training.