Archive for June, 2014

World Cup 2014: Rivers PDP Chairman, Prince Felix Obuah Congratulates Sports Minister, Urges Super Eagles to Bring Honour to Nigeria

Posted on June 26, 2014. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: , , |

World Cup 2014: Rivers PDP Chairman, Prince Felix Obuah Congratulates Sports Minister, Urges Super Eagles to Bring Honour to Nigeria

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Rivers State chapter has congratulated the Minister of Sports, Dr Tammy Danagogo and the Super Eagles for advancing to the Round of 16 knock-out stage of the ongoing World Cup in Brazil.

The State Chairman, Prince Felix Obuah who is also thumps-up for the teeming Nigerian fans for spurring the Super Eagles for their excellent performance so far in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Jerry Needam urges Super Eagles to do the country proud.

With the experience, tactics and confidence acquired at the group stage which is always the most tasking, the PDP chairman believes the Super Eagles are now in the killer mood to confront their subsequent opponents.

While assuring the Sports Minister and the Stephen Keshi led Super Eagles squad of their prayers and unalloyed support, Prince Obuah who is the chairman of Go-Round Football Club, Omoku, urged the Nigerian players to fire on to the finals stages of the 2014 World Cup mundial.

Be focused and keep hitting the round leather and God willing, no side will stop you from lifting the trophy. It’s not impossible, he noted.

Signed:

Jerry Needam

Special Adviser, on Media to

State PDP Chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah

 

 

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Stopping Wike’s Macabre Dance in Rivers State

Posted on June 25, 2014. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

By Babatunde Oladipo

This has not been the best times for Rivers indigenes and residents due to the return of the war drums in the political arena of the state. The state has been on the front burner in recent times as political jobbers will leave no stone unturned in order to continue their siege on the treasury of the once called Garden City of Nigeria.

The state governor, Rotimi Amaechi who has barely a year to complete his eight year reign has hardly slept well since he parted ways with his former Chief of Staff, Nyeso Wike, who is currently the Supervising Minister of Education. Wike’s nomination as Minister by the governor has become like the biblical thorn in the flesh of Apostle Paul, who though could heal others of a similar pain but had to live with his own pain in the course of his Missionary work.

If there is anything Gov. Amaechi could wish for, it would be to turn the hand of the clock back and keep Wike under his close watch. Sadly, it may never come to be as Wike who has since become the Presidency’s hatchet man in the state is still moving like an uncontrollable locomotive, with inaccurate velocity to dismantle anything that would give the governor some credit.

In all the plots that have been hatched by the opposition against Amaechi’s government ranging from taking away the PDP structure, frustrating him out of the Party, forcing him to appoint A Chief Judge that would work in opposite direction with the state government, reducing his control of the security agencies, impeachment plot, withholding money due him as well as seizing some oil wells belonging to the state in order to reduce his monthly allocations; the worst is to accuse the governor of importing Boko Haram members in the state through Aba. The PDP in the state has taken the battle beyond borders by such unsubstantiated claims capable of inciting Rivers people against innocent traders from the North who reside and do business in the state.

Without any act of fear or favour without caring whose ox is gored, the Military should invite the PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah andd and his media aide, Jerry Needam to come with further proof on the matter or they should be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the region.
The President has kept mute over the excesses of the Minister who has abdicated his seat and responsibilities at the Education Ministry while he is preoccupied with the business of visiting ex-militant leaders in the state to solicit their support for his ‘immoral’ ambition to succeed his fellow kinsman as governor of a multi-ethnic state where the issue of injustice and inequity led some youths into arms struggle, as they claim.

But that entire struggle has fizzled out as one man who boasts of having the structure and the financial war chest to prosecute an all-out political battle against the incumbent governor who ‘must’ en throne his successor. The craze for dollars has further heightened the tension in the state as most of the politicians who were knocked out of job by Amaechi have thrown all principles to the wind and are queuing behind the new chip on the block, for their meal tickets. Some are said to have received contracts from the Ministry running into hundreds of millions as profit even without executing the jobs.

While it is said that Amaechi is being stingy with state funds, his arch rival is the direct opposite of him and that has further led some of the immediate past Local Government Chairmen sneaking into the night to hold meetings with Wike and his men.
The failed attempt to upstage Amaechi last year on the floor of the Assembly which resulted to casualties during the plot to unseat the Speaker, Otelemba Amachree was said to have been scuttled when some of those who wanted a change in the leadership realized that they had been shortchanged by the man who is the arrowhead after he had received the sum of N6bn for the project.

The impeachment failed when late Hon. Tonye Harry who had been the choice of replacement for Otele Amachree learnt that the coordinating Minister had short-changed him by putting up Hon. Evans Bipi, a former domestic aide of the First Lady, as the man to replace the current Speaker. Thus, the fifteen lawmakers who initially backed Tonye made a u-turn, leaving only the six of them who are loyalists of the Minister. As such, the plot failed. The billions of Naira meant for removing Amaechi found its way inside the pockets of their leader while peanuts were given to the renegade lawmakers. Amaechi again had a dose of the good luck.

The presence of C.P. Mbu, did not also help matters for Amaechi as the Police Commissioner visibly took sides with the opposition. The governor who is supposed to be the Chief Security Officer of the State was without security. He could not call the shots any more as Wike’s men had a field day. Mbu had on several occasions stopped the governor’s convoy not until the shooting of Senator Magnus Abe during a rally of the Save Rivers Movement in Abuja. It took the intervention of the National Assembly to get the Inspector General of Police to remove Mbu from Rivers State. There was a sigh of relief amongst Amaechi’s supporters and sympathizers.

But the restive Minister and his men would not rest as new spanners were put in the works. His greatest challenge came when cracks emerged within the PDP in the state led by Hon.Elemchukwu Ogbowu, a two-time Commissioner and a former lawmaker. Ogbowu was irked by the governorship ambition of Wike using the Grass root Democratic Movement, GDI, to actualize his dream of succeeding his fellow kinsman, Amaechi.

Though Elemchukwu’s challenge incurred him the wrath of Wike and his toy Party Exco led by Obuah, he was not deterred by the expulsion forced down his throat by his best friend, Felix Obuah. The fiery former lawmaker in the state is bent on ensuring fair play, justice and equity amongst the different ethnic groups in the state.
On an alleged plot by Ogbowu and his group to ensure the removal of Obuah and co through the NWC of the Party, Wike and his group quickly went to Court to obtain an injunction restraining the PDP NWC from dropping Obuah and co as well as an Order asking INEC to recognize the Obuah-led Exco. This move has now pitched Wike against the Party at the Headquarters. The President is said to have ordered Muazu to appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court. It was said that a member of the NWC had received the sum of $150,000 in order to aid the scandalous Court Order.
While the Amaechi- led APC in the state prepares to checkmate Wike, it seems the PDP as well is also poised for a showdown with the Minister.

Meanwhile, if Wike succeeds to pick up the flag of the Party for the governorship election, that may also mean that the APC under Amaechi may opt for a candidate from the Riverine area particularly the Rivers East Senatorial zone as the flag bearer while picking an Ikwerre candidate as running mate. The Ikwerres have about 1.1million oout of the 2million votes of the state. Allowing Wike as candidate may spell doom for the APC. As such many are of the opinion that for Gov. Amaechi, the best thing to do is to go for a Tele Ikuru/ Tony Okocha ticket. Ikuru is his deputy and a nephew to Uche Secondus, the National Deputy Chaiman of PDP and Ikuru’s political godfather and mentor. They hail from Andoni, a riverine Community in the Rivers South East Senatorial Zone. Tony Okocha, Wike’s kinsman, is Amaechi’s Chief of Staff and point’s man. He was Wike’s anchor man in his days as Chairman of Obio/Akpor LGA. Okocha will divide the votes of the Ikwerres and that would give Ikuru a further lead. The emergence of the deputy governor could further reduce the role of Seconndus in the PDP as he would naturally support his ‘son’ more than any other person. If Amaechi throws up this ace, that may finally put the nail on the coffin for Wike and the PDP.

Babatunde Oladipo is a Political Anayalist

babaoladipo2040@gmail.com

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PDP Can Never Win Rivers State —APC •Says loss of Ekiti will make party stronger

Posted on June 25, 2014. Filed under: news | Tags: |

PDP Can Never Win Rivers State —APC

•Says loss of Ekiti will make party stronger

The All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers State Chapter, has dismissed as a fluke, last Saturday’s dislodgement of the party by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the governorship election in Ekiti State.

“This development, which was unexpected, does not portend anything any danger for the APC in 2015, especially in Rivers State. The Ekiti election has come and gone and we have learnt our lessons which will ensure better outings in other elections. That election will go a long way to unite and strengthen us the more to present a better APC to Nigerians for the battle to rescue and reposition Nigeria gets hot,” Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said.

Dr. Ikanya, who was responding to enquiries on the fate of APC in view of what happened in Ekiti, emphatically declared in a statement he issued today in Port Harcourt: “It is erroneous to think that what happened in Ekiti affects or will affect Rivers State politics come 2015. The factors that led us losing Ekiti are well known but totally different from the reality in Rivers State. No matter the challenges or odds, Rivers remains an APC State. I am supremely confident that the good people of Rivers State will renew their covenant with APC with a landslide in 2015.”

The Rivers APC Chairman gave an idea of how the party would run the 2015 elections and obliterate PDP in the state. “One thing going for us in River State is that we have a President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP whose hatred for our state and her people is legendary not minding that he is from our sister state Bayelsa and our in-law and we gave him the highest number of votes that made him the President. Our campaign strategy will be centered on this hatred, which has manifested in the hounding of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the ceding of our oil wells to Bayelsa and Abia states and refusal to direct Akwa Ibom to pay us the proceeds of our oil wells she kept for many years. Mr. President has also refused to site any meaningful project in Rivers State, so how can we support him or any PDP candidate in 2015?

“In any case, the feats of the Amaechi administration are enough to give us victory in future elections. These feats, which are well known, include making Port Harcourt the World Book Capital City, eradication of militancy, dogged fight for the oil wells and other rights of Rivers State and her people, as well as award-winning achievements in Education, Agriculture, Health, etc.”

Dr. Ikanya said that, in addition to all these, “we will ask the good people of Rivers State to make their choice of the characters and vision of those in PDP (insecurity, ungodly, etc) and the vision and characters in APC (godliness, security and concern for the future of our state). These are the issues for Rivers State to use to decide which of the parties governs River State come 2015.”

He concluded by advising APC faithful in the state not to panic or fear about the future of the party, as “Rivers people have since adopted APC as the party of their choice and there is nothing the doomed PDP or any other party can do about that.”

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UBEC: Dishonesty mars 2015 target for Universal Primary Education

Posted on June 25, 2014. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Primary education is seen as the fundamental right of every child. The United Nations, UN, identifies this under its Millennium Development Goals, MDG. It targets universal primary education for all children of school age by 2015. Against this backdrop, the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1999 established the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). The aim was to ensure quality of basic education throughout the country and provide access to 9-year formal education to every child of school-going age and, also, provide free and obligatory basic education.

Nevertheless pundits, dons, opinion leaders and stakeholders have bemoaned that education in the country has been fraught with corruption, strikes… A Professor of Educational Management at the University of Ilorin, Noha Bisi Oyedeji, while delivering the 140th Inaugural Lecture of the University on Thursday, December 5, 2013, reportedly said, “When strike or students riot occurs, school activities are disturbed, leading to some other distortions, such as lowered students’ academic performance, social menace by idle students…”

One of the manifests of the dishonesty in UBEC is that over 56 million Nigerians are illiterates, according to an account in a national broadsheet. Amongst others, it’s believed that if the UBEC has lived up to its expectation, the story would have been different. Owing to the revelations by investigation, it was certain that the UN was clairvoyance in forecasting that Nigeria would not keep to the MDG on education. Today, the education sector is loaded with dirt like lack of basic infrastructures, unfortunate funding, bad management, lack of learning materials in schools…

These are as a result of poor policies and faulty implementation of them, which are most times the handiwork of lack of genuine and transparent officials monitoring these policies. It was observed that even where the learning materials are available, they are not redistributed for the purposes they are created. This, Nigerians have clamoured about how teachers’ salaries and allowances in some states across the country, are seemingly being withheld for political reasons and many teachers face the avoidable issues of promotion and transfer as at when due them.

Scrutiny has proved that states and UBEC are in loggerhead over who has the right to the ostensible funds meant for UBEC that are in billions of naira haboured in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for project development. The cost of this is that some students have died in many decrepit schools across the country. The infirm schools are said were without roofs, walls, doors or windows. The issue of having desks, electricity and its appliances are said to be a tall dream.

Recently, there is an account that at a community primary school in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, a pupil died and four others wounded when the school’s wall fell down. At Idimu Community Primary School of Lagos State and, Ikeja, Oshodi, Agege and Iju respectively, it’s observed that the students were meant to endure leaking zincs and ceilings and many sat on windows and cement blocks to take lectures. These are infinitesimal evident that UBEC has not lived up to the reason it was formed, according to sources, because in some states in the South-East – like Anambra and Imo – pupils still take studies from their teachers under trees and on the bare ground.

Explanations accounted that in Kwara, Kano, Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo, Benue and Nasarawa States, the story is not different. “It is absurd that this is happening in a country where free primary education was initiated in Africa by one of its regions in 1955… It is rather tragic that all the 36 states and the FCT combined have failed to draw down up to N44 billion of the sums provided as federal subsidies for primary education since 2005 through the Universal Basic Education Commission,” said a source.

In May 2010, there was a conviction that there were deceitful awards of contracts somewhat in surplus of N161 million to six companies for the “procurement of instructional materials for children with special needs” that took place in the UBEC, which was aimed at improving the wellbeing of the physically challenged children. The items, according to a source, included wheelchairs, Braille, hearing aids and other audio-visual devices. The funds were said to have come from an Education Trust Funds, ETF, grant.

According to Sahara Reporters: “The ministerial tenders board at its meeting of Friday, 19th December, 2008, approved the award of the contract for the procurement of instructional materials for children with special needs in favour of the following contractors – Al-Mala Nig. Ltd – N29, 286,000 (North west), Triangular Communications Ltd. – N35, 453,000 (North east); Binwa Press Ltd. N36,721,300 (North central), Infinity Telecoms N24, 703, 000 (South east), Isani Ventures N31, 104, 000 (South-south) and Giniyike Ltd-N30,704 (South west),” concluding, “You are pleased (sic) requested to award the contract accordingly”.

The source continued: “The total contract sum came to N167 million. Our investigations revealed that not a single pin was supplied to the physically challenged children, in whose name the ETF grant was drawn. Besides, a certified copy of a search report of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) revealed that Binwa Press Ltd., RC816457, one of the six companies that benefited from the December 19th, 2008 contract awarded by UBEC, was not even incorporated until five months later.

“The company’s incorporation took place on 7th May 2009, with its registered address, as 17 Atiku Abubakar Road, Jimeta, Yola. According to the CAC records in the possession of Saharareporters, three persons were listed as directors. According to CAC records, the company has 1,600,001 in total share capital. Of these, Aishatu Dahiru (Modibbo’s wife) owns 1,600,000, her sister, Hauwa Dahiru, has one share, whilst the third director, Ali Biu Adams, has none. Even though Binwa Press Ltd. had not been registered as at December 19th, 2008, Dukku and Modibbo nonetheless awarded the ‘company’ a supply contract in the sum of N36, 721, 300…”

 The level of racket in the UBEC goes unscathed. Only in January this year, in a matter that commenced in 2009, N787m alleged case of fraud was discharged and acquitted and the legal team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was thrown into a muddled situation over the judgment. The accused persons were given as four directors of UBEC – Molkat Mutfwang, Michael Aule, Andrew Ekpunobi and Prof Bridget Sokan – who were given as “all members of the commission’s Bid Evaluation Committee”, as well as an American contractor, Alexander Cozma and two companies allegedly used to siphon the funds, Intermarkets USA LLC and Intermarkets Nigeria.

Spectators are of the view that the fingered sums meant for UBEC that have seemingly gone into the pocket of few individuals are alarming. One commentator exclaimed: “Nigeria is finished with this kind of financial recklessness! It is disheartening to note the level of decay in the system.” The sad side of the matter is that all those who are players in the UBEC’s purportedly scams have not been really made to cough out the money and face the wrath of the law of the country.

Gov. Jonah Jang of Plateau freshly decried in Jos, while receiving the Senate Committee on Education, the discrepancy in policies as what have been destroying the country’s education sector. He, however, admonished that the National Assembly must quickly rise to this challenge before it gets out of control and destroys the future of the younger generation.

Giving instances, he said: “Nations like Germany practise the 6-3-3-4 (system) like Nigeria, but they have gone far because they have been very consistent with it.’’ He avowed that each administration in Nigeria should stop discarding the old policies for the introduction of new ones.  Professor Pius Adesanmi, a Professor of English, French, and African Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada also warned in a discussion with a Gbenga Adeniji.

 Adesanmi said that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, says any country that wishes to become part of the 21st Century should be devoting 30-40 per cent of her total annual budget to education. Authorities are, however, of the analysis that the disconnect between the education sector and the educated is enormous laced with the spiteful attributes of politicians and elites that have set the pace of improving on education in the country back for too long. Experts have deprecated such as not the way to run a country.

Adesanmi further revealed that these groups run the public education like they are rigging elections or stealing public funds on a “stratospheric scale that suggests mental illness”. He wept that these groups have seen using impunity of ignorance and poverty among the majority as the raw materials they think they need to manufacture a followership ready to defend their perversities to death on the basis of ethnicity or religion.

“You will weep for Nigeria if you knew how much Europe and America are currently devoting to education… Sadly, only the elite have the means and the resources to impose their own meaning of education on Nigeria. Hence, they underfund and destroy it while sending their kids abroad to acquire that which they deny the people at home,” Adesanmi lamented.

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348032552855

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

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“Start Writing Your Handover Note”, APC Tells Jonathan

Posted on June 15, 2014. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: , |

“Start Writing Your Handover Note”, APC Tells Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has been advised to start writing his handover note well ahead of next year’s election in view of the successful National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) concluded yesterday in Abuja.

In a statement congratulating the party’s leaders on the outcome of the Convention, the Rivers State Chapter of APC said: “We are proud of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, General Muhammadu Buhari, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Chief Bisi Akande, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governors Chibuike Amaechi and AliyuWammako, as well as other party leaders too numerous to mention, for organising a successful Convention to the chagrin of the PDP leadership and other enemies of democracy who had prayed for a failed Convention. For these great Nigerians to have buried their ambitions, differences and interests to unite to present this great salvation party for Nigerians is a great development in the efforts to retrieve our great country from the evil clutches of PDP and rebuild it in accordance with the wishes of all Nigerian patriots.

“The Convention that successfully produced a substantive leadership to steer the affairs of our great party without any rancour or division should be a thing of joy to all Nigerians. With the election of a great mind, a visionary, foresighted leader and fighter for true democracy like the former Governor of Edo State, Chief John Oyegun as our National Chairman, the need for President Jonathan to start writing his handover notes cannot be over-emphasised.

“With other great minds likeElder Pius Oluwole Akinyelure, Mr. Hillard E. Eta, Mr. Segun Oni, Alhaji Lawal Shuaibu, Alhaji Mai Mala Goni, Barrister Muiz Banire, Alhaji Lai Muhammed,Mr. Orji Ngofa, Mr. Timi Frank and Mrs. Racheal Akpabio
who also emerged among our substantive leadership during the Convention, APC shall surely take its rightful position as the emancipator of the masses and restorer of hope of Nigerians by bringing up a focused and visionary Presidency that will take us out of the mess into which the PDP-led administration has put our nation.”

Rivers APC in the statement signed by the Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, expressed confidence that “the new APC leadership would be able to mend the ideological, cultural and ethnic cleavages of the major blocs that gave birth to the party which are the binding forces of our great party.”

Continuing, Rivers APC said: “The new leadership should be assured of our common and united drive to send packing the present PDP leadership at all levels of our nation as we need to see an egalitarian Nigeria where the lives of Nigerians and their property will be secured, jobs created for our teeming youths and create the type of Nigeria devoid of corruption and respected by the international community.

“In line with the above, our vision is tied with what our Leader, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, stated during his remarks during the Convention that “APC promises CHANGE; and it has the pedigree to do so. As it is usually said, no nation can rise above the quality and capacity of its leaders. The aggregation of the individual qualities and capacities of the leaders that make up the APC is what APC boasts of. Our pedigree is in the performance of our states: Lagos; Rivers, Edo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, etc. But above all, our hope for change is in you: In your desire for a better Nigeria. A Nigeria where the stealing of public fund will be corruption and is punishable; where our unemployed youths with will not be reaped off and lured to their graves in the name of job interviews; where lives will worth much more to the Government than mere flowers that blossom and fade with time; where national growth will not be measured by the number of private aircraft but by the number of persons that can announce their next meal; where education for all shall be the responsibility of all; where health delivery shall be a priority to Government, a right of the people and not a privilege. APC states are doing these . . . APC Nigeria will do even more.”

 

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