News Article | December 13, 2016
It's a rare glimpse of marine life in its natural habitat, in a kingdom overrun with mass tourist attractions such as aquariums and dolphin shows. Once a dream for scuba divers, many of Thailand's coral reefs have been dulled by pollution, over-fishing and increased boat traffic, as well as over-enthusiastic swimmers. But going out to spot Bryde's whales is a relatively new concept. The 15-metre (50-foot) long mammals flock to the northern Gulf waters to feed on an abundance of anchovies during the September to December rainy season. Many tourists come out to catch a glimpse of their unique feeding habits—observing the way they keep their mouths agape for seconds at a time. "The way they eat is the greatest biomechanical event" in the world, said Jirayu Ekkul, who takes groups out on his converted fishing boat to spot the whales just a few hours from the bustling capital Bangkok. The devoted diver and wildlife photographer's company Wild Encounter Thailand is among only a handful offering whale watching excursions in the Gulf of Thailand. Heading out on the waters in search of Bryde's whales is a ritual he relishes, and one he hopes won't be lost if whale-watching goes the way of so many other mass tourism attractions in Thailand. "Commercial whale-watching is new in Thailand, there are no regulations yet," he tells AFP on his boat, which can carry about 40 people. Ekkul insists he is careful: Last year he took out fewer than 1,000 tourists, he says, and his operation adheres to strict international guidelines for this kind of venture. Boats are expected to slow down near the whales, keep a good distance, and to make sure they do not block their paths. "This boat has the right way to approach them, by slowing down the engine, slowing down the boat speed," said Surasak Thongsukdee, a whale specialist at the Marine and Coastal Research Center (MCRC). Surasak and other researchers often join the tourist expeditions, a key opportunity to observe the 50 or so Bryde's whales in the Gulf—all of which he knows by name. Whale-watching has become a significant global industry. The number of people taking such trips grew from 4 million in the 1990s to 13 million by 2008, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. But there are concerns about the impact it has. In 2014 conservationists at the International Marine Conservation Congress warned tourist boats may be causing stress and driving whales from their natural feeding grounds. There is also the risk of death from collision with the vessels. In the Gulf of Thailand, six whales were found dead this year, which is a sharp spike from the average one death per annum. Surasak blames this increase on the toxic waters, though local media also reported illegal fishing trawlers in the area. "These whales might be affected by pollution flowing into the water" he said, adding that many different rivers flow into the Gulf of Thailand. In October, dozens of sting ray and razor clam beds died off due to pollution from one tributary. The junta-ruled kingdom, whose sputtering economy remains hugely reliant on tourists to keep afloat, has come under fire for letting visitors spoil its natural attractions. Precious coral are routinely damaged by throngs of scuba-diving tourists, who scrape reefs with their fins or hands in their hunt to spot tropical fish. Some even pose on the coral to take underwater selfies. "The government is struggling to enforce best practice in terms of tourism," said British marine biologist James Harvey. He would like to see Thailand embrace green tourism, an increasingly attractive industry among eco-minded travellers. In collaboration with the UN, he founded Green Fins, a programme that promotes sustainable diving and snorkelling in Asia to protect coral reefs, and would like to see a more eco-friendly ethos applied in Thailand. "It makes economic sense to be green now," he said.
News Article | March 3, 2017
The man who would " dismantle net neutrality with a smile" has another target in his cross hair for March. On Thursday, newly minted Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released the agency's agenda for the month, with six items it will discuss and vote on March 23. At the top of the list is killing robocalls -- those automated phone calls that annoy the entire nation. Pai has been working fast to kill regulation and policies like net neutrality -- the concept that all internet traffic must be treated as equal -- that the previous administration enforced. So far, in a little more than a month, he's stopped rules to protect data privacy, blocked internet privacy regulations and chipped away at net neutrality. In March's agenda, Pai looks to get rid of even more regulations his predecessors put in place. But first, he's looking to kill off an old enemy. Robocalls have become a national scourge, as the No. 1 complaint from consumers to the FCC. Americans receive 2.4 billion robocalls a month, about seven calls per person. The issue has plagued past FCC administrations, with former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler forming the " Robocall Strike Force" with AT&T, Apple, Google and other companies. In Pai's proposal for March, the FCC would give telecommunications companies more power to block spoofed robocalls, when people disguise their phone numbers as another number. Under the FCC's current rules, phone carriers can't do much to block spoofed calls. A majority of robocalls spoof unused numbers that aren't assigned to people, to avoid being detected and blocked. "There is no reason why any legitimate caller should be spoofing an unassigned or invalid phone number," Pai wrote in a Medium post on Thursday. "It's just a way for scammers to evade the law." Ending cellphones in prisons is second on the FCC's agenda for March. Pai already opposed cheap prison phone calls, in a push to reverse his predecessor's actions to put a cap on prison call rates. But cellphones behind bars are even worse, Pai said. In most prisons, cellphones are regarded as contraband, but inmates have been able to sneak in devices, using them to run drug operations, phone scams and order attacks from their cells, Pai said. In Georgia, prison officials took more than 8,300 illegal cellphones in just one year. The FCC will vote on using radio technology to find and block contraband phones in prisons and jails, along with using geo-fencing to disable devices behind bars. Third on the agenda is improving Video Relay Service, the FCC's communications tool for the deaf. The VRS allows deaf people to call others and communicate using sign language, and have it interpreted and translated to voice and back. Pai is looking to improve the service by introducing specialized interpreters that can help with medical or technical cases. Pai also wants to reform cellular service, giving telecommunications providers more flexibility on providing broadband to customers. The vote could pave the way for faster data by letting wireless providers shift traffic from the original radio spectrum to more modern spectrums. Cutting regulations was a big part of Pai's speech this week at Mobile World Congress. He's also looking to get rid of requirements for international telecommunications providers, as the fifth item on the FCC's March agenda. The final item on the FCC's March agenda is a vote on channel sharing. If it passes, it expands the rules on what stations could share the same channel, according to the proposal. The new rules would give "low power TV... more options to stay in business and continue broadcasting essential news and information to the public," Pai wrote in his post. It's Complicated: This is dating in the age of apps. Having fun yet? These stories get to the heart of the matter. Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.
Neurochemical Research | Year: 2010
The maintaining of homeostasis in the organism in response to a variable environment is provided by the highly hierarchic neuroendocrine-immune system. The crucial component of this system is the hypothalamus providing the endocrine regulation of key peripheral organs, and the adenohypophysis. In this case, neuron-derived signaling molecules (SM) are delivered to the blood vessels in hypothalamic "neurohaemal organs" lacking the blood-brain barrier (BBB), the posterior lobe of the pituitary and the median eminence. The release of SM to the blood vessels in most other brain regions is prohibited by BBB. According to the conventional concept, the development of the neuroendocrine system in ontogenesis begins with the "maturation" of peripheral endocrine glands which first are self-governed and then operate under the adenohypophysial control. Meantime, the brain maturation is under the control of SM secreted by endocrine glands of the developing organism and coming from the placenta and maternal organism. The hypothalamus is involved in the neuroendocrine regulation only after its full maturation that is followed by the conversion of the opened-looped neuroendocrine system to the closed-looped system as in adulthood. Neurons of the developing brain begin to secrete SM shortly after their origin and long before the establishment of specific interneuronal relations providing initially autocrine and paracrine morphogenetic influence on differentiating target neurons. Taking into account that the brain lacks BBB over this ontogenetic period, we hypothesized that it operates as the multipotent endocrine gland secreting SM to the general circulation and thereby providing the endocrine regulation of peripheral organs and the brain. The term "multipotent" means that the spectrum of the brain-derived circulating SM and their occupancy at the periphery in the developing organism should greatly exceed those in adulthood. In order to test this hypothesis, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), dopamine (DA), and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) were chosen as the markers of the presumptive endocrine function of the brain in ontogenesis. According to our data, the concentrations of GnRH, DA, and 5-HT in the rat general circulation during the perinatal period, i.e. before the establishment of BBB, was as high as those in the portal circulation in adulthood. The concentrations of circulating GnRH and DA dropped to almost undetectable level after the development of BBB suggesting their brain origin. This suggestion has been proven by showing an essential decrease of GnRH, DA, and 5-HT concentrations in general circulation of perinatal rats after microsurgical elimination of synthesizing neurons or the inhibition of specific syntheses in the brain before the establishment of BBB. GnRH, DA, and 5-HT apparently as dozens of other brain-derived SM appear to be capable of providing the endocrine influence on their peripheral targets like the adenohypophysis, gonads, kidney, heart, blood vessels, and the brain (endocrine autoregulation). Although the ontogenetic period of the brain operation as the multipotent endocrine gland is relatively short, the brain-derived SM are thought to be capable of providing long-lasting morphogenetic effects on peripheral targets and the brain. Thus, the developing brain operates as the multipotent endocrine gland from the onset of neurogenesis to the establishment of BBB providing the endocrine regulation of the developing organism. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Barbarin A.,Regulations |
Biochemical Journal | Year: 2011
The switch of human melanoma cell phenotype from non to highly tumorigenic and metastatic is triggered by the increase of procathepsin L secretion, which modifies the tumour microenvironment. The aim of the present study was to identify components involved in the regulation of procathepsin L secretion in melanoma cells. We focused on Rab family members, i.e. Rab3A, Rab4A, Rab4B, Rab5A, Rab8A, Rab11A, Rab27A and Rab33A, which are involved in distinct regulatory pathways. From analysis of mRNA and protein expression of these Rab components and their knockdown by specific siRNAs (small interfering RNAs) it emerged that Rab4A protein is involved in the regulation of procathepsin L secretion. This result was strengthened as procathepsin L secretion was either inhibited by expression of a Rab4A dominant-negative mutant or increased by overexpression of the wild-type Rab4A. Rab4A regulation: (i) discriminates between procathepsin L secretion and expression of intracellular cathepsin L forms; (ii) did not modify other Rab proteins and GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3- phosphate dehydrogenase) expression, or IL-8 (interleukin-8) and MMP-2 (matrix metalloproteinase-2) secretion; and (iii) was still efficient during unglycosylated procathepsin L secretion. Thus down- or up-regulation of Rab4A expression or Rab4A function triggered inhibition or increase of procathepsin L secretion respectively. Furthermore, Rab4A regulation, by modifying procathepsin L secretion, switches the tumorigenic phenotype of human melanoma cells in nude mice. ©The Authors Journal compilation ©2011 Biochemical Society.
Martinez M.C.,Regulations |
Circulation Research | Year: 2011
Considered during the past decades as cell dust, microparticles are now deemed true biomarkers and vectors of biological information between cells. Depending on their origin, the composition of microparticles varies and the subsequent message transported by them, such as proteins, mRNA, or miRNA, can differ. Recent studies have described microparticles as "cargos" of deleterious information in blood vessel wall under pathological situations such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, and metabolic syndrome. In addition, it has been reported that depending on their origin, microparticles also possess a therapeutic potential regarding angiogenesis. Microparticles can act directly through the interaction ligand/receptor or indirectly on angiogenesis by modulating soluble factor production involved in endothelial cell differentiation, proliferation, migration, and adhesion; by reprogramming endothelial mature cells; and by inducing changes in levels, phenotype, and function of endothelial progenitor cells. This results in an increase in formation of in vitro capillary-like tubes and the generation of new vessels in vivo under ischemic conditions, for instance. Taking into consideration these properties of microparticles, recent evidence provides new basis to expand the possibility that microparticles might be used as therapeutic tools in pathologies associated with an alteration of angiogenesis. © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.
Methods in Enzymology | Year: 2013
The earliest left-right asymmetry in mouse development arises in 7.5 days, at the ventral surface of the embryonic node. The node cells possess monocilia beating in rotatory fashion to generate fluid flow from the right to the left (nodal flow). The direction of nodal flow will determine the side of expression of nodal, the responsible gene for "leftness." Nodal flow is visualized by combination of DIC (differential interference contrast) and microbeads in culture medium. Node cilia movement is visualized by DIC, a high-speed camera, and image processing. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
News Article | May 5, 2015
If you're one of the nearly four in 10 millennials or one-third of Gen Xers that spend at least nine hours on a digital device each day, you could be putting the health of your eyes at serious risk. A recent study from the Vision Council suggests that 68% of millennials report suffering from the effects of what is known as "digital eye strain." For most of us, looking at screens throughout the day is utterly unavoidable. So what can we do to protect our eyes? A mix of factors lead to digital eye strain, but the crux is that staring at a glowing display (be it a computer monitor, laptop screen, television, tablet or phone) for long periods is unnatural. Worse, small print and blurry images may cause you to strain in order to focus. You blink less when looking at a screen, which can lead to dryness or irritation in eyes. The blue light emitted by digital displays (known as high-energy visible, or "HEV" light) increases eye strain. The Vision Council reports that emerging research suggests cumulative and constant exposure to blue light can even damage retinal cells. The symptoms of digital eye strain include uncomfortable eyes that are red, dry or irritated, eye fatigue, blurry vision, watery eyes and headaches. The simplest way to try and avoid digital eye strain is take breaks from staring at your computer screen as often as you can. However, guidelines differ on exactly how often you should take a break from your display. The Vision Council advocates a "20-20-20 break": Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. The Canadian Ministry of Labor suggests a five–minute break away from computer operation for every hour worked. The UK's Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations states that visual display unit users should be given "short, frequent breaks," as they are "more satisfactory" than occasional, longer breaks. The HSE suggests a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes continuous screen and/or keyboard work. If you struggle to remember to take breaks, to try and get into a routine of doing so, you could set a timer to remind you. Alternatively, there is software available, such as InchWest's SmartBreak package that monitors the way you spend time on a computer and prompts you to take time off. Adjust your display settings so that you don't have to strain to read or see anything. You could also consider an anti-glare screen for your computer monitor. The lighting of your surroundings and the brightness of the screen you're looking at make a difference. You should make sure the brightness is the same as the light levels in the room. Finally, glasses wearers can talk to their optician about special lens finishes and coatings that help to reduce digital eye strain. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
News Article | July 8, 2014
Telecom sector regulator Trai has notified that the minimum broadband speed has been raised to 512 kilo bytes per second (kbps) from the earlier 256 kbps. The amendment has been made to the Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations, 2012 and the regulations will be called the Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal (Third Amendment) Regulations, 2014, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in a notification. Accordingly, the new definition of broadband is “a data connection that is able to support interactive services including internet access and has the capability of minimum download speed of 512 kbps to an individual subscriber from the point of presence (POP) of the service provider intending to provide broadband service”. The regulations will come into force after publication in the official gazette, it added. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had revised the broadband speed in consonance of the National Telecom Policy 2012 and Trai recommendations, the regulator said. The earlier minimum broadband speed of 256 kbps was as per the Broadband Policy 2004. According to National Telecom Policy 2012, the government aims to raise the broadband download speed of to 512 kbps from 256 kbps and subsequently to 2 Mbps by 2015. According to Trai data, total broadband subscribers in the country rose by 5.82 per cent to 65.33 million at the end of May 2014 from 61.74 million at the end of April 2014. While wired broadband subscribers stood at 14.95 million as of May this year, mobile device users (phones and dongles) were 49.97 million and the fixed wireless (Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, Point-to-Point, Radio and VSAT) subscribers stood at 0.41 million for the same period.
News Article | November 27, 2014
News Article | June 28, 2015
My mission today is principally to shed more light on our vision for Delta State predicated upon honest leadership and a responsible government. We have come into office at a very difficult and turbulent period in the history of our country. The spectre of broken promises and the profligate lifestyle of some of those entrusted with leadership have combined to erode public trust and confidence in government, and our people are beginning to lose hope. Our first responsibility as a Government is to rekindle that hope, and give our people the power to dream again. Our people are longing for good leadership; they want to see true role models. Indeed, they want more than a simple change of guard followed by cosmetic reforms. This is the first crucial test we face as a government. The starting point for us as elected leaders is to lead by example. It is a fact of life that people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. The followers will always do what they see the leader do, not what he says. So in our demands, attitudes and lifestyle choices, we must display the sacrifice, simplicity and discipline expected of every citizen in our current economic predicament. Now let me touch a bit on the state of our economy. Upon my assumption of office, I was formally briefed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the State on Tuesday June 2nd on the state of our finances. The highlight of that briefing is that the revenue receipts from Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has dipped significantly, dropping to just N8.03 billion in April,(as received in May 2015), from a high of overN20billion in previous years. Currently the State is grappling with a Revenue Bond and indebtedness to commercial banks totaling N98.62 billion (Principal sum), while outstanding contractual obligations is N538, 601,962,421.50. In 2011, the State Government took a N50 billion facility from the bond market, with a repayment period of seven years in 84 installments at N1.098 billion each month. This facility will terminate in September 2018 with 40 more installments (totalingN43.92 billion) to pay with effect from June 2015. In November 2014, Delta State also acted as guarantor to some select contractors supported by the issuance of an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) of N2.23 billion monthly, for which the contractors received the total sum of N40 billion. The State now having paid four installments, has 20 more monthly installments totaling N44.60 billion (including interest payments) extending through year 2017 to pay. We also have a N19 billion and another N715 million overdraft facility outstanding with Zenith Bank Plc. Some other smaller loan and overdraft facilities totaling about N2 billion with other banks have to be paid. As it stands today, a total monthly deduction of N4.60 billion will be made from our FAAC receipts with effect from this June through to March 2017, and thereafter N1.098 billion monthly until September 2018. This leaves us with a balance of N3.4billion assuming the FAAC allocation stays at N8.03 billion. Currently, the receipts from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is about N2.0 billion monthly, after deducting cost of collection. The implication of the above scenario is that the fund available to run the State is N5.40 billion monthly in the next two years, except there is a significant rise in oil receipts and therefore FAAC earnings, as well as our IGR. Unfortunately, the available fund of N5.4b is insufficient to offset our monthly wage bill, let alone fund overhead costs or for government to embark on capital projects. The State workforce as at May 28, 2015 stood at over 60,000 persons with a monthly personnel cost of N7,437,940,015.38 inclusive of the N678m State Government’s support to Local Government Councils for the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries. The 2015 budget of N409 billion as passed is no longer realistic in the wake of current realities, which clearly show that our expected revenue is now far below what was projected. This budget, therefore, has to be reviewed. It is obvious from available statistics that the State will run a monthly deficit of about N2 billion, and would need to borrow to pay salaries of its workers, and finance the running cost of government. This is the dilemma that we face as we strive to deliver on our campaign promise of prosperity for all Deltans. LET US THINK AND PLAN TOGETHER AND TIGHTEN OUR BELT I have gone into this much detail regarding the state of our finances to put the Legislature on the same page with the Executive, so that we can think together, plan together, and tighten our belts going forward. The severity of this crisis and our response to it will shape the future of our beloved Delta State. I am told that when written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters — one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. I see more opportunities in our current economic predicament than the threats it poses. Times of prosperity can easily breed complacency, dull our sensitivity and foster an indulgent lifestyle steeped in corruption. But because necessity is said to be the mother of invention, periods of adversity often task our creative abilities, engender discipline, and imbue us with the capacity to pull together as a family. We must muster the resolve and political will to boldly – and decisively – confront the challenges that we face, right the ship of our State and lay a solid foundation of prosperity both now and for future generation of Deltans. It won’t be easy. It is not supposed to be easy. But there is no gain without pain, no prize without a price. A good place to start is for us to reject the old ways of doing business. First, beginning with me and this honourable House, we must be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to reduce the cost of governance. Secondly, the endless turf battles and approach to legislative action would need to give way to civility and respect for each arm of government. Thirdly, the House must make laws that protect and promote the interest of the State and our people. Fourthly, we must act with the sense of urgency that our current situation demands, and navigate the ship of state aright. I have already directed the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General to restructure the Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) on contractors’ guarantee and overdraft facility over a period of 42 months as a first step to reduce our monthly exposure. We are frantically working at putting the necessary machinery in place to boost our IGR, and steps will be urgently taken to plug the loopholes in our revenue collection process. In our land resource management, action will be taken to re-certify Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) beginning with our urban settlements, while MDAs will be made more accountable in the generation of revenue. Without doubt, much progress has been made in infrastructural development of the State by preceding PDP Governments and it is our intention to further enhance the infrastructural facilities. As we prioritise the completion of ongoing projects, there is the need to engage on our urban-renewal plan in order to make our cities more habitable and environmentally friendly. The Asaba Airport, recently downgraded, requires urgent attention, and many on-going road projects including the Trans Warri – Ode Itsekiri Road need to be funded, while the menace of flooding in some of our key urban settlements such as Asaba and Warri need to be addressed as a matter of exigency. In the area of security, we certainly need to commend the efforts at containing youth restiveness and militancy which nearly ground our economy to a halt in the wake of our nascent democracy. It does appear, however, that we are now courting the more invidious phenomenon of kidnapping, cultism, sea piracy and crude oil theft with its attendant environmental challenges. We are also faced with intractable inter/intra communal land disputes, conflicts between oil companies and their host communities, post-amnesty agitations as well as clashes between Fulani herdsmen and local farmers. All these constitute serious security issues which we are obligated to tackle headlong. Security is a very weighty subject and, deliberately, it is one of the great objectives of our government that need to be funded. As part of the efforts at ensuring the security of life and property, successive governments have sought meaningful engagement of the youth and the unemployed through investments in agriculture and wealth creation. The engagements have come in the form of microcredit schemes and youth empowerment programmes. Unfortunately, most of these programmes have not created the desired effect as countless number of our people are still without meaningful employment. As I stated in my inaugural address, our goal is to “…to enthrone a legacy of wealth and prosperity for all our people and communities. We are committed to the building and consolidation of a State in which there shall be more employment opportunities, a flourishing agriculture and agribusiness sector….” Agriculture and creation of wealth will therefore receive significant attention of this administration. In the effort to drive social development in the State, I should commend the efforts of previous governments for the tremendous progress made especially in sports, and youth and women development programmes. To consolidate these efforts, we will provide further impetus for social development through effective management of information with regard to the rich cultural heritage and huge tourism potentials of the state. It is our firm conviction that if our tourism potentials are harnessed fully, the frequent recourse to government jobs will be drastically reduced. The State’s Human Development policies have over the years focused on the achievement of the Education and Health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which include: These goals culminated in the free education at the primary and secondary levels of education in addition to bursary and scholarship programmes. Government also provided free rural health scheme, free under-5 and maternal health programmes, free ambulance service and subsidised dialysis. These efforts are commendable. However, lack of learning and instructional materials as well as neglect of technical education have created a gap between government investment in education and the output. As a matter of fact, our educational system needs serious reawakening and overhaul. Although the health sector has performed well, the free health programme has limited coverage and with the current economic realities, the policy needs to be tampered with and replaced with a comprehensive health scheme through a Universal Health Coverage Scheme that encourages our people to embrace a health insurance policy with sustainable outcomes. The situation with the education sector informed the newly enacted law on Technical and Vocational Education in my first week in office as Governor of Delta State. The Bill on Comprehensive Health Coverage for Deltans has just been forwarded to this House through Mr. Speaker. As Honourable Members of the House, the Constitution requires you to make laws for the peace, order, and good governance of the State. My charge to you today and to all Deltans, is to do right at all times and in all situations. Our primary focus as lawmakers should be the collective well-being of our people and the economic development of the State. This is the trust that our people have reposed in us as elected representatives, and I am confident that this Assembly will do us proud. The legislative arm of government will carry out its responsibility creditably well when it partners with the Executive and Judiciary. As the head of the Executive, I offer you my hands of brotherhood, fellowship, and partnership in the service of the people of Delta State. As someone with experience as a former member of the Nigerian Senate, I believe that I am sufficiently acquainted with legislative duties and procedures to lead by example in forging cordial relations between our two arms of government. With your understanding, I promise that the relationship between the Executive and Legislature in Delta State will be a model worthy of emulation throughout the nation. For the Executive and Legislature to work together effectively in the promotion of the well-being of the people of the State, we should share the same goals, appreciate the challenges involved in meeting those goals, and agree on the mechanisms to be adopted in the pursuit of the goals we have set for ourselves as a people, a government, and a State. I shall now expatiate on some issues that are of great concern to me, to members of this chamber, and to the general public. Shortly after I was sworn in, I caused to be issued the suspension of: i.Recruitments by the Civil Service Commission made after 31st December, 2013 to date; ii.Payment of 20% Cost of Collection (CoC) of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); iii.Consultancy contracts entered into by the Board of Internal Revenue and approvals for v.All contract approvals or commitments entered into for and on behalf of the State Government from 1st April, 2015 or any contract tied to the 2015 budget; Also, within the first week of taking oath of office, two bills were sponsored by this administration to the immediate past Assembly viz: The two bills were expeditiously passed, for which I must thank the Members. As you begin the process of legislation and your journey in the 6th Assembly, many more Executive Bills that will impact greatly on the lives of our people will be sponsored. We count on your support. I am mindful of the controversy that the suspension of the civil service recruitment has generated. Nothing is more difficult, more agonizing, and more painful than for a Government to take this unpleasant action. But we came to this inescapable decision because the entire recruitment exercise was riddled with fraud and corruption as it violated established Civil Service Rules and Regulations. More so, it was not logical that a State struggling to meet its payroll obligation should employ more persons. The immediate past administration underscored the failure of the recruitment process when it suspended the chairman and members of the Board of the State Civil Service Commission. In essence, if the process was faulty as they found out, the end result (the recruitment) could not have been otherwise. I did say in my inaugural address that we should be ready to make hard choices and take tough decisions that are imperative for our economic recovery and well-being. While I sympathise with those affected, you have my highest assurances that in the long term this decision is for the benefit of everybody. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. I, therefore, urge honourable members of this House to explain to their constituents who were affected by the suspension order to be patient and understand that we do not mean them any harm. We just want to ensure that the right thing is done. Finally, I seek the partnership of this House to join me in doing whatever is necessary to bring us out of the woods and deliver prosperity to all Deltans. The road ahead demands a new spirit of sacrifice and perseverance and, on our part, a willingness to run an open, honest government. It is true that the times are hard, but in the words of the Scripture, if you fail in the day of adversity then your strength is small. We must, therefore, stay strong, confident, and courageous. There is need for greater commitment, efficiency, and accountability in service delivery on the part of all, not least of which is the Civil Service, the Government’s main vehicle for policy implementation. In measuring outcomes, we must ensure that workers provide value for salaries earned and there must be zero tolerance for the “ghost-worker” syndrome. Mr. Speaker, honourable Members. I want to assure you of one thing; we shall overcome. And to achieve that, we must see our calling at this point in time as an invitation to write a new chapter in the history of our State and make our mark on the sands of time. We must rise to the occasion and prove to our people that we are ready – and able – to do the job we were sent here to do. The focus of responsible leadership is not always about the next election; it is about the next generation. We would have written our names in gold if in the next four years Delta State can boast of a functioning public school system that ensures that the children of the poor are provided quality education, accessible and affordable primary and secondary healthcare system, a flourishing agricultural and agri-business sector, and the proliferation of Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (that ensure our teeming youth population is productively engaged), well planned and environmentally friendly cities, and integrated rural development. These are our promises to Deltans, and by God’s grace and guidance, we shall make them good.