… unveils plan for entertainment hub

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has reiterated his administration’s commitment to repositioning the state-owned newspaper, the Nigerian Observer to meet national and international standards.

Obaseki disclosed this on Thursday after inspecting the newly acquired printing press machine at the newspaper’s head office in Benin City.

According to the governor, “You can see that the press machine has now been installed and we are awaiting another one. What we are hoping is to revitalize the state-owned Nigeria Observer Newspaper.

“But more importantly, the plan is to make this place a printing hub for the state. We will ensure that we are able to get constant electricity in this place in the next few days. The State Government Press and the House of Assembly Press will be efficiently run from this place.

“We are also looking at the possibility of setting up another production center here, but in this case, that will support entertainment.”

Obaseki further noted: “Entertainment is a related industry, so this is essentially part of trying to get more young people employed particularly as it relates to the entertainment industry with the cooperation that we are having with the German Government, through GIZ.

“We are hoping that by the first quarter of next year the entertainment hub here would have started, which will be supported by the printing and publishing business.

“This center is going to be more of a production facility because of the constant electricity in the place, but the entertainment village will still have amenities for the entertainers and other participants in the entertainment business.”

“The entertainment village occupies more hectares of land but they will be doing their mixing and post-production work at the Observer printing center,” he added.

The governor assured that all staff of the media outfit would be trained on technology and the use of the modern facilities, adding: “That is why we are having the training center to train people to cope with the new world but those who can’t cope, we will look for alternative engagements for them.”

The engineer in charge of the building work, Pekuric Limited, Mr. Cyril Okpeahior, noted: “We are rebuilding The Observer. We have built some houses where the main Printing Press will be housed. About two of the buildings are ready. The governor has asked us to take on some more buildings.”

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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday said that the era of buying government contracts is over in the state, noting that his administration would create a transparent and open contracting system to ensure those who can add value participate in project execution.

Obaseki disclosed this while addressing a group of contractors under the aegis of Edo State Indigenous Contractors Forum, who were on a courtesy visit to the governor at the Government House, Benin City.

According to him, “We guarantee you continuity for you so you can build your businesses. I want to thank you for your kind words and for identifying with what we stand for.

“Clearly, we were not aware of the criticisms that followed our choice of giving work to those who have the capacity to work; you bid for contracts directly with the state and you will get your contracts.

“You don’t have to buy contracts from anybody unlike what obtained in the past. I am glad that you could identify that the phenomenon of godfatherism in politics is what created an impediment for people like you to prosper in your businesses.

“Before now, you had to go through godfathers to get contracts, even if you had competences to do the job.

“That way, you are not able to optimize the value of your investments. I saw the challenge and I resolved that we must break that pattern. I want to thank you for your support in changing the political paradigm.

“That system cannot continue in Edo; we will advertise jobs, as we have always done and those who are qualified will be given the work and contracts directly. We will be going through a verification process of all our indigenous contractors to make sure that they are real contractors and that they have invested in their real businesses.”

He continued: “We will not give contracts to those business names anymore. If you are contractor, you must have your offices and you must have made some real investment in your business. We want to verify all of you to know that you have the capacity to carry out the work and not that you will go and sell it to another person.

“The reason why we are doing this is not farfetched; we want to build a class of local contractors who have the capacity to grow our contracting businesses in Edo.

“There is nothing foreign contractors are doing that you cannot do; the only difference is that they have more investment in their businesses. They are able to buy more equipment and hire more qualified professionals. That is the advantage they have over us.”

Earlier, Acting Chairman of the group, Mr. Henry Okpamen, said that they are proud to be associated with the governor’s rare quality of governance and promised to join his dynamic team in ensuring that his second term is successful.

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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has assured that no worker in the state will be sacked as a result of ongoing reforms to reposition the civil service for optimal performance and efficient service delivery.

Obaseki gave the assurance during an interactive session with civil servants who are undergoing training at the John Odigie Oyegun Civil Service Training Academy in Benin City, Edo State capital.

The governor noted that the ongoing reform is aimed at strengthening and retooling the civil service, bestowing the workers with tools and skills that stand them out so as to ensure efficiency, productivity and drive sustainable development.

He reassured that no civil servant will lose their job but rather they will be trained and introduced to technology to enable them deliver efficient services to Edo people and contribute their quota to the development of the state.

According to him, “The priority of my administration is re-tooling the Civil Service with the aim of strengthening it to deliver efficient services. If you want government policies to succeed, you must strengthen the people and institutions that have the constitutional responsibility to ensure the delivery of those services.

“We are undertaking reforms to make the public and civil service of the state to be one of the strongest, if not in the sub-continent but in Nigeria.

“We are training our civil servants to enable them to do their job well. We need to bring in more people into the civil service and make sure that they are clear on what they will be doing when hired.”

Obaseki continued: “Government can’t deliver services to its people if the civil servants who are supposed to help the government are not properly trained. These facilities have been built and people brought in to train our workers, making them understand what their challenges are and redesign the system to make it work better”.

“The training will be a continuous one, exposing civil servants to technology and bringing in more people into the service.

“The average age in our civil service is about 45 years. We need to bring in younger people to reduce that because in the next five to seven years, 50 per cent of the people in the service will be retiring and we don’t want to wait till then to bring in these people. Let’s bring in younger people now, who the older workers will pass on some of the experience to”.

On her part, Chairman, Edo State Civil Service Commission, Princess Ekiuwa Inneh, thanked the governor for institutional reforms in the civil service as well as the prompt payment of salaries, which she said, “has become a motivating factor for Edo State Government workers.”

She said the state’s civil service is aging, with many of the workers cropped in the middle and at the top levels, noting, “this is as a result of people exiting through natural processes like death, retirement and upward mobility with no corresponding recruitment over the years.”

“Even if we recruit 1,000 persons to level 8, it will take some time before they mature and grow. We are robbing minds with the governor on how to fill some of these positions.”

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Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Second Leg
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

The Reds look likely to be playing their final match of Group D at the Signal Iduna Park.

Nobody wants to talk about the Champions League right now, Jürgen Klopp least of all, but in all probability, yesterdays anemic loss to Atalanta will have done little to stop Liverpool from advancing to the knockout stages of the competition, requiring just one more win from their final two matches — or a draw in their next game — to wrap things up.

Despite facing Danish opposition in the final game of the group stage, though, the Reds will not be traveling to Denmark two weeks from now. Concerns regarding the mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in the UK from Denmark have seen the two clubs co-operate with UEFA to find an alternative venue, and although nothing is official quite yet, it appears that Signal Iduna Park will be hosting Midtjylland and Liverpool on December ninth.

Reds fans will largely remember the stadium for hosting the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund back in 2016, the appetiser to Liverpool’s famous 4-3 comeback win at Anfield in the Europa League quarter finals, while the Reds manager will have all sorts of wild and wonderful memories from his seven years as Dortmund manager, including two Bundesliga title wins.

Changes may still take place, but Dortmund’s official site have announced the news so it would appear things are quite settled. In the end, it will matter little for the Reds where the match take place — no supporters will be allowed in the ground — as long as they get the result they require. And, if they can get the job done against Ajax next Tuesday, the result won’t even make a difference.

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Liverpool FC v Atalanta BC: Group D - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Martin Rickett – Pool/Getty Images

James Milner knows how poorly Liverpool played on Wednesday. And that they need to move on from it quickly.

Liverpool’s match against Atalanta in the Champions League wasn’t a must win game and with manager Jürgen Klopp sending out a heavily changed side, in the end the players put in a performance that seemed to suggest they knew as much.

Having just come off a demolition of title aspirants Leicester City over the weekend, the Reds were painfully flat against Atalanta in a game that would have been nice to win but wasn’t necessary. Now, though, they will need to show a reaction.

“We know it was a poor performance, pretty flat,” veteran James Milner said following Wednesday evening’s 2-0 defeat in the Champions League. “Obviously lot of changes again and we just never got going tonight, which is disappointing.

“I think there were a lot of players who haven’t played together and the schedule is busy, we keep saying it. Sometimes you just have to try to get a win without being at your best and maybe not having the level that we would like to have.

“We couldn’t do that tonight. We didn’t create enough, didn’t keep the ball enough, we just didn’t have that sharpness really so it’s disappointing. But we’re still top of the group so we have to recover and go again at the weekend, another big game.”

In Europe, the Reds need three points from their final two games to clinch a place in the knockout rounds. Four points would clinch first. Things are a lot tighter in the league, though, where they now turn their attention ahead of Saturday.

Roughly a quarter of the way in, the top of the table is as congested as the fixture list—while opponents Brighton will see the Reds’ short turnaround from Wednesday and dream of a famous victory to claw themselves away from relegation places.

“We just need to get over this pretty quickly,” Milner added. “Look where we can improve and go again.”

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