Obaseki counts gains of NAFEST as culture executives conclude meeting in Benin City

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Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki says the annual National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) has lived up to the noble objectives for which it was created, including deepening unity among Nigerians.

Obaseki said this last week at a reception organised for the director-general of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Segun Runsewe and the directors of culture of over 30 states of Nigeria.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Philip Shaibu, noted, “NAFEST has continued to foster greater unity among Nigerians through its numerous artistic and cultural offerings.”
He explained that with unity, Nigeria as a country can attain any heights, and assured that Edo State was upbeat about hosting a colourful NAFEST come October this year.

Earlier at the Oba Palace, the Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, pledged the support of the palace for the festival and extolled the NCAC director-general, Runsewe.

Nigeria needs great minds like Runsewe who are passionate about the promotion of the country’s rich and diverse cultures and expressed his delight at the choice of Benin as host of the next edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture slated for October, the monarch said.

In his address, Runsewe hailed the Oba whose impressive antecedents as Nigeria’s ambassador ensured the restoration of peace to Angola among other noble achievements.

The NCAC boss intimated that at least three million people from around the world would be in Benin City for NAFEST, including exhibitors, art collectors, culture enthusiasts and other stakeholders.

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Obaseki inaugurates 7-man agric produce committee

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Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has inaugurated a seven-man Edo Agricultural Produce Development Strategy Implementation Committee to drive the state government’s policies in repositioning the state as an agricultural produce hub.
Speaking at the inauguration of the committee in Government House, Benin City, the governor said setting up the committee is one of the first steps in diversifying the state’s economy to agriculture, noting that his administration is committed to investing in the cultivation of value crops like oil palm, rubber and cocoa.
According to Obaseki, “We have to diversify our economy in Edo State because countries like Malaysia that came here for joint research on oil palm in 1963 are generating higher revenue and their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also higher than ours.
“As a government, we will create the enabling environment and support investors to give Edo State the competitiveness needed to excel globally.”
He said one of his administration’s cardinal objectives was to create the enabling environment and also provide the regulatory framework to grow the state’s economy, and that agriculture would play a key role in the new direction the state was headed.
Chairman of the committee, Peter Aikpokpodion, expressed appreciation to the governor for the privilege to serve in the committee, assuring that they would collectively work for the development of the state.
Meanwhile, in furtherance of the state government’s drive to create opportunities for promising talents to blossom, the state governor redeemed his promise to a music artiste, Inwanfero Stella, by providing support for the advancement of her career.
Addressing journalists after presenting a cheque of N1 million to Inwanfero, the Edo State Commissioner for Art, Culture and Diaspora Affairs, Osazee Osemwegie-Ero, said the artiste was spotted during her performance at the 2018 Edo Festival of Arts and

Poor funding,dearth of equipment militate against reducing medical tourism- UBTH CMD

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The authorities of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) on Monday attributed the inability of the hospital to stem the tide of medical tourism in the country to lack of financial resources and equipment.

Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the teaching hospital, Darlington Obaseki, said this at a press briefing to reel out activities lined up for the institution’s Inaugural Founders’ Day celebration with the theme, “Stymieing outward medical tourism in Nigeria: The responsibility and opportunity before teaching hospitals”.

The lecture is to be delivered by Peter Ozua, a UK-based consultant in pathology, and the first president of the UK alumni association of University of Benin graduates.

Obaseki, who said the occasion would be used to launch an endowment for the hospital, noted that the institution was blessed with world-class medical professionals that could compete favourably with their colleagues in the developed world.

“The main objective of the founding fathers of the hospital was to attract other people to come from other countries and regions to seek medical care. But to that extent we are not ashamed to say we have not been able to do that. We have not been able to attract patients from other country to seek medical attention in the hospital.

“Most people go outside the country to access healthcare that we should ordinary be providing. The reason was not because of lack of manpower. We have personnel that have been trained outside the country to do open-heart surgery.

We also have neurologists to do renal transplant, among others. We have the skilled manpower that we need but the challenge is the lack of fund and equipment. That is what is resulting to this endowment.

“As we speak, we don’t have Computed Tomography (SCAN) machine. The only CT scan … Read More...

Efficient Health Insurance Scheme will attract investment to sector – Obaseki

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Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has made a case for an effective and viable Health Insurance Scheme in Nigeria to improve quality of life for Nigerians and attract investment to the healthcare sector.
The governor made the submission during a courtesy visit by the National Executive of the Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), at the Government House, in Benin City, Edo State.
The governor noted that priority must be placed on health insurance, noting, “We should ensure and emphasise on having a viable, effective and formidable health insurance system in Nigeria. It is only when we have this in place that we can begin to attract the requisite investment to the healthcare system.”
Obaseki said an important aspect of the healthcare system is prevention, noting that his administration is focusing on delivering quality healthcare at the primary level to ensure serious ailments are nipped in the bud.
He noted, “We are deploying resources to ensure we have a robust healthcare system at the primary healthcare level.”
The governor added that government could provide quality healthcare services for the people, when it explores innovative arrangements with the private sector to provide these services.
President of NARD, Olusegun Olaope, said members of the association were in Benin City for the ordinary meeting of NARD, adding that the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) had played a vital role in sustaining the group’s ideals since its establishment in 1978.
Olaope also commended Governor Obaseki for his developmental strides in the areas of infrastructure such as roads, schools, and healthcare, among others.
Meanwhile, the state government says the Obaseki-led administration will never sacrifice the state’s collective patrimony to gratify the insatiable greed of a handful of individuals who have constituted themselves into mischief makers in the state chapter of the

Edo Start-up Fund will spur entrepreneurship – governor’s aide

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Entrepreneurs in Edo State are in for exciting opportunities as the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration is putting structures in place, such as the Edo Startup Fund, to enhance access to funding for small businesses to scale up their operations.
The state focal person for Social Investment Programme (SIP), Aladeshelu Abieyuwa, disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
According to the governor’s aide, the Obaseki-led administration wants to empower young people with ideas to start businesses or scale operations of existing Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), noting, “The governor has given them a platform to express themselves. He has provided seed capital for start-ups and to enable existing businesses to scale their operations so they can employ more people. He provided seed money for each registered company in November when he launched the Fund.”
Under the Edo Start-up Fund, entrepreneurs are provided with early stage advisory and support to enable them survive the challenges of starting businesses in Nigeria, she said, noting, “We know that start-ups often die within one or two years. What we have done is to take them through a two-week incubation period, during which we bring in coaches to train them on business best practices.
“They are trained on how to develop business plans and models as well as profitability studies. We also train them on how to do an elevator pitch. This is to prepare them to engage confidently with potential investors and sell their business ideas successfully. We also ensure that they go through enterprise development training so they can develop new products from their businesses. We do this every quarter in a year.”
The Fund also provides networking opportunities for start-ups and links them to other institutional investors, she said. “We are