Archive for August, 2015

Bayelsa Gubernatorial Poll: Tinubu moves against spoilers, urges Sylva to contest

Posted on August 30, 2015. Filed under: news |

Bayelsa Gubernatorial Poll: Tinubu moves against spoilers, urges Sylva to contest

The former governor of Lagos State and All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has called on Chief Timipre Sylva to contest the December 5, 2015 Governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Tinubu also charged Bayelsans to ensure that Sylva becomes the next governor of the state in view of placing the state on the right path.

“I want him to contest the governorship election because of his proven leadership qualities and our belief that he can bring change to the state” he said.

Tinubu who met Sylva at his Abuja home not only endorsed him as the party’s consensus candidate for the December 5, 2015 governorship election but commended him for his contributions to the development of the party in Nigeria, particularly Bayelsa State.

“It is time for Bayelsans to unite and support a person who can effectively enhance unity, provide opportunities for all and lead the people in a different direction”.

He expressed total and unreserved support for Sylva’s aspiration to clinch the party’s ticket and governorship seat.

He mandated APC leaders and members in Bayelsa State to support his choice.

“If you want change, if you’re unhappy with the direction of Bayelsa State, then you must join the governorship race and change the state for the people”.

Tinubu, who also described Sylva as an agent of change, is pushing for the former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, to occupy the governorship position.

Source: Henry Ebi

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Magnus Abe Writes President Buhari: Allegation of Politicization of Security Agencies (Nigerian Army and State Security Service) Against the All Progressives Congress (APC) Rivers State Candidates In The March 28, 2015 National Assembly Elections: Our Response

Posted on August 30, 2015. Filed under: Letter |

27th August, 201.

His Excellency,

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

President Muhammadu Buhari,

GCFR Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.

Your Excellency Sir,

ALLEGATION OF POLITICIZATION OF SECURITY AGENCIES (NIGERIAN ARMY AND STATE SECURITY SERVICE) AGAINST THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) RIVERS STATE CANDIDATES IN THE MARCH 28, 2015 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS: OUR RESPONSE

I respectfully write this letter as a response to the malicious and baseless petition written to you by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State in the National Assembly, alleging and pointedly accusing myself and some members of our party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State of politicizing the Nigerian Army and the Directorate of State Security by making them to testify in our favour before the Election Tribunal that is currently hearing the various petitions filed by myself and my colleagues against the National Assembly elections in Rivers State held on 28th of March, 2015.

The said petition written to you by the PDP was severally published in both print and online media. I therefore write this response for myself and on behalf of all the APC candidates that contested the election and who are also presently petitioners in their respective petitions against the elections, pending before the Election Tribunal, sitting in Abuja.

Sir, the purported petition written to you by the PDP was no doubt written in bad faith and same was a cheap attempt to mislead your good self and indeed the general public on what actually transpired at the Tribunal and the surrounding circumstances. Furthermore, the petition was calculated to ridicule and paint in bad light, the highly revered institution of the Nigerian Army and the office of the Director General of the Department of State Security. For the record, it is pertinent to clearly state that what transpired at the Tribunal was that the Honourable Tribunal, at the request of the Petitioners (myself and other petitioners) issued a subpoena directed at the Chief of Army Staff (or any of his designated officers) and the Director-General of the DSS (or any of his designated officers) to appear before the Tribunal and give evidence of what they witnessed during the conduct of the National Assembly election in Rivers State on 28th march, 2015, being some of the security agencies that provided security for the said elections. A subpoena is an instrument of law with which a court or tribunal compels any person, with useful information or document in respect of a case before it, to appear before the court/tribunal and give such evidence and/or tender relevant documents. It is an order of the court directed at the person named therein, which must be obeyed, lest the person so named in it becomes liable for contempt of court. It was under these circumstances that the Honourable Tribunal summoned the Chief of Army Staff or his officers and the Director-General of DSS to appear before it and give oral evidence of what they witnessed during the conduct of the elections in question.

It is therefore mischievous and indeed unreasonable for anybody, especially the PDP, Rivers State to cast baseless aspersion on these gallant officers of the Nigerian Army and the DSS. One can only wonder whether it would not have been foolhardy for the Chief of Army Staff and the D. G. of the DSS to refuse to comply with the sacrosanct order of the Tribunal. In fact, such an act would not only have been foolish, same is indeed a crime as refusal to comply with the tenor of a subpoena is out-rightly punishable with a criminal contempt proceeding against the culprit.

Interestingly, the writers of the said petition deliberately refused to disclose to you in their petition that apart from the Chief of Army Staff and D. G of the DSS, the same subpoena was also issued against the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Rivers State, Mrs. Gesila Khan. No doubt, this willful concealment is a manifestation of the unholy alliance existing between the Rivers State PDP and Mrs. Gesila Khan. It is on record that despite numerous applications and solicitation to the REC for release of electoral materials purportedly used by INEC (led by the REC in Rivers state), she has consistently refused to release the said documents to us, in order to frustrate and jeopardize our chances in the proof of our respective cases before the election Tribunal. This is inspite of the fact that we duly paid for all the assessed fees charged by INEC for the issuance of certified true copies of these electoral materials to us. Sir, in furtherance of her criminal stand to compromise our cases before the Tribunal, the REC, in a never-before-seen manner, instructed INEC’s team of lawyers to apply to set aside the subpoena issued by the Tribunal against her to present the electoral materials before the election tribunal. One cannot but wonder why a supposedly “neutral” and “unbiased” umpire would be afraid of presenting before the Tribunal, the electoral materials purportedly used for the conduct of the election, which she claimed was peaceful and properly conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations. Her actions so far confirm that she surely has a lot of skeletons in her cupboard, which the subpoena is about to blow open. No wonder, she would do anything to cover her wrongful and illegal communion with the PDP in Rivers State, including attempt at setting aside a lawful order of the Honourable Tribunal.

That members of the Nigerian Army or the DSS gave evidence before the tribunal, on the order of the Honourable Tribunal itself, is not and can never constitute a politicization of the Army or any other security agency in similar situation. A court of law and/or tribunal, in the course of hearing all sides to a case and ultimately doing justice, is empowered to summon and compel relevant persons to give evidence before it. This is exactly what was done in this case. These gallant officers, in upholding their mantra of patriotism and nationalism, swore to say the truth and nothing but the truth before the Tribunal. The most important thing is that they gave evidence of what they witnessed on the election day, and nothing more. Only those who are afraid of the truth would prevent eye witnesses from recounting their experiences during the said elections.

The PDP members who wrote this petition are only crying foul when nothing is amiss. The military officers that gave evidence were ordered to do so by the Tribunal and not by APC members, who are the petitioners before the Tribunal. These military officers are not in the group of witnesses whose written depositions were filed by the APC’s lawyers. In fact, they testified before the Honourable Tribunal without any written deposition, unlike what is the case with conventional witnesses called by the petitioners (APC members) at the trial of their petition. What is more, the PDP members, who are Respondents to the petitions before the Tribunal and the writers of this baseless petition, are also at liberty under the law to apply for issuance of the same subpoena by the Honourable Tribunal to order any person/ authority, including the Chief of Army Staff and D-G, DSS, to come and give evidence before the Tribunal.

Application for the issuance of subpoena by the Tribunal is not a prerogative of the APC members in the various election petitions before the Tribunal. This is what is expected of these PDP petition writers, instead of whipping up unnecessary bias against a lawful and binding order of the Honorable Tribunal.

Sir, it is our position that if there is anyone to be called to order on this issue, it is nobody but the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Rivers State, Mrs. Gesila Khan, who may as well go down in history as the only INEC official in our country to have applied for the setting aside of a court subpoena, by filing an application in that regard. I make bold to say that the reputation which Prof. Attahiru Jega built for INEC in the recent past is constantly being eroded by the activities of people like the REC in Rivers State and it is only a matter of time for the institution to be reverted to the pre – Jega era, if the REC is not called to order now.

On the contrary, we are of the firm belief that the Chief of Army Staff, the DG, DSS and their men ought to be tremendously commended for upholding the rule of law and constitutionalism. It is only when institutions of government respect and obey the law, as done by the Nigerian Army and DSS in this case, that the general public too can follow suit. It is high time that we departed from the tradition of institutional impunity and embrace profound respect for the rule of law.

Your Excellency, this petition is just another one in the series of such letters/petitions geared towards whipping up unfavourable sentiment targeted against members of our party. Your administration’s fight against corruption and lawlessness cannot be tarnished by baseless and spurious insinuations of nepotism as depicted by this petition. We fully believe in your capacity to identify mischievous allegations such as this and we humbly urge you to disregard the said petition as same carries no weight. What ought to be done are as highlighted above and we are confident that your Excellency would, once again thread the path of truth and constitutionality on this matter since it is only by so doing that we can together build a Nigeria of our dream. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Yours faithfully,

Senator Magnus Ngei Abe

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Justice Omereji Commission Illegal —Rivers APC

Posted on August 28, 2015. Filed under: Press Release |

Justice Omereji Commission Illegal —Rivers APC

……Says it is a kangaroo court which cannot investigate Amaechi or his administration

image001The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared the Rivers Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the administration of former Governor Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi illegal, saying that it lacks constitutional powers to do the work for which it was set up by the State Care-Taker Governor, Chief Nyesom E. Wike.

“This is, at best, a kangaroo court which was set up for the sole purpose of rubber-stamping Chief Wike’s conviction, without trial, of his estranged benefactor and the immediate past governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. The Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry is illegal, ill-conceived and ill-motivated. It should be disbanded forthwith,” Rivers APC said in the statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, and issued Friday in Port Harcourt.

The party pointed out that the Commission of Inquiry Law which has been cited as the backbone of the Commission being chaired by Justice George Omereji did not in any of its 23 Sections authorize the establishing of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, but merely stated that the governor can set up an inquiry “because judicial powers are vested in courts of law (Section 6(6) (b) of the Nigerian Constitution).”

“As has been made quite clear by legal experts, in setting up the Omereji Commission, Chief Wike was exercising a power unknown to law. To add ‘Judicial’ to a mere administrative inquiry does not reflect a doing of right according to law as it gives the public the wrong impression that the Commission is a High Court by another name called,” Rivers APC said.

The party also faulted the Commission’s Terms of Reference, which includes, among others, “to investigate the illegal deduction from the State’s savings account without compliance with extant laws.” This, according to the party, means that Chief Wike has already judged Amaechi guilty even before the Commission started sitting in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, August 25. “This is a clear case of bias, which is not acceptable to us. It tantamount to conviction before trial, and this should be unreservedly condemned by all lovers of justice throughout Nigeria and beyond,” Rivers APC said.

It regretted that Justice Omereji for reasons best known to him decided to serve as Wike’s hangman, saying: “It is not yet too late for this otherwise respected jurist to throw in the towel and save his good name, which is being tarnished by his acceptance of Wike’s satanic assignment.”

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,

SSA on Media and Public Affairs to the State Chairman, APC Rivers State.

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MOSOP Condemns Police Extortion on Eleme-Bori Road

Posted on August 26, 2015. Filed under: Press Release |

MOSOP Condemns Police Extortion on Eleme-Bori Road

The Kingdom Coordinators and Chapters Leaders Forum of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) have condemned in strong terms the increasing rate of Police extortion on the Eleme-Bori axis of the East-West road.

MOSOP chapter leaders in press statement Signed by Frank Jonah Chairman, MOSOP Kingdom Coordinators Forum and made available to NF-Reports noted that the situation has become embarrassing and shameful for the reputation of the Nigerian Police.

The Coordinators Forum further condemned the activities of the security personal who have chosen to take advantage of innocent Ogonis plying the East-West road extorting money from drivers and neglecting the key responsibility for which they have been posted to the area – security.

“We particularly note the notoriety of the activities of the Federal Highway Patrol teams on the Eleme-Bori road whose focus have almost shifted to looking for avenues for extortion rather than providing security on the East-West Road.

“An embarrassing situation which occurred yesterday when hoodlums took over parts of the East-West road attests to the laxity of the Police forces. Of course, they could not have detected the influx of miscreants to the Akpajo axis of the road while they are busy looking for money.

“We urge the Police authorities to caution the patrol teams on the Eleme-Bori axis of the East-West Road. We will want to see greater security for lives and properties and not check points and extortion”.

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Amaechi and His Feats: A Close-Up on the Man Whose Shadow Gives Wike Nightmares

Posted on August 26, 2015. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Amaechi and His Feats: A Close-Up on the Man Whose Shadow Gives Wike Nightmares 

By EZE CHUKWUEMEKA EZE

Preamble

According to Psalm 41:9: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” And Psalm 55:12-14 says: “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together, and walked in the house of God in the throng.” The above biblical quotes cannot find a better person than what Chief Nyesom Wike, the incumbent Governor of Rivers State, is currently doing to rubbish and ridicule the personality of ex-governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, his predecessor, political mentor and benefactor. On what is happening in Rivers State today, Lucien Bouchard was forced to describe Wike’s despicable act in the following words: I have never known a more vulgar expression of betrayal and deceit.”

To throw more light on the level of betrayal by Wike against his mentor and benefactor, let us listen to what Amaechi said about Wike on 15th February, 2014 at the thanksgiving service held in honour of Senator Magnus Ngei Abe (who had to be flown to London for further medical treatment) in Bera, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, after surviving  the January 12, 2015  bullet shot by policemen during the inauguration of the pro-Amaechi’s Save Rivers Movement (SRM), at Obio/Akpor LG chapter. Former Governor Amaechi said: “Wike used the names of his children to swear that he would not betray me.” He told the congregation that a notable cleric earlier prophesied to him not to nominate Wike as minister, that he would betray him at last. “I believe in prophecies. Apostle Suleiman said I should not nominate Nyesom Wike as a minister; that he would not only betray me, but would try to destroy me.” When I confronted Nyesom Wike in the presence of Chima Chinye, he swore with his children that he would not betray me. “Any man that swears with the lives of his children is a wicked man. He does not appreciate those children at all. People who do not have character, you don’t give them political power. Nyesom Wike, Dakuku Peterside and Magnus Abe are among those I helped that passed through our friendship,” Amaechi said, adding that he intervened and assisted Wike to secure second term tenure when the people of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area vowed to deny him a second term as Chairman of the Council over alleged disrespect for elders, arrogance and poor performance. ‘What is his political history? Without the rest, God did them through me?

 

Mission of this treatise

After reading all the gibberish, blackmail, trash, without any substance or factual backing, being thrown and circulated against a man who did his best to redefine governance in Rivers State; and being an active participant in the politics of Rivers State, I will be failing the world if I fail to present the true position of what is currently happening in the State as failing in this regard will amount to allowing demented and deranged minds to succeed in presenting an innocent man in a borrowed robe; and vilifying and wrongly presenting Amaechi as the evil that Wike and his cohorts are trying to make out of him. In this regard, I will attempt to x-ray the issues at stake; who Amaechi truly is, and how he ran the affairs of Rivers State, particularly how the finances of the state was handled during his administration; and how he is perceived by the people of Rivers State, Nigerians and the international community and allow you the reader to pass the final verdict.

 

Amaechi and Wike

To understand the level of betrayal in this scenario one needs to explain the relationship between Amaechi and Wike. As a close associate and one who has worked under the two leaders, I am ably qualified to speak on the two. Both are of the Ikwerre extraction in Rivers State. From 1999 to 2007 Amaechi was the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly; an office he used to lobby and influence the election of Chief Nyesom Wike as two-term executive chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, one of the richest LGs in Nigeria. While Amaechi was the chairman, Council of Speakers’ Forum, Wike was chairman of the local government chairmen’s forum in Nigeria.

From 2007 to 2015, Amaechi was the Governor of Rivers State with Chief Wike as his chief of staff from 2007 to 2011. Besides, Wike was the Director-General of the re-election campaign organisation of the then Governor Amaechi, which he executed satisfactorily. As a result, Amaechi nominated him as a Minister to represent Rivers in the Federal Cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan.

From the above, it should be very clear that Amaechi was the leader of his political dynasty, with Wike assisting him, accordingly. But reading and observing what is coming from Wike against his erstwhile boss and mentor may not look for a better definition than what David Levithan, who said:  “It was a mistake, you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.” Reading what Wike is doing to rubbish and ridicule Amaechi, after all that he did to assist him in his political life, Amaechi would be regretting the very day he set his eyes on this man that have turned a monster, ready to devour him.

 

Why is Wike Disparaging Amaechi?

Many people have asked me what may cause this epochal rift that is not only tearing apart the relationship between Amaechi and Wike, but may lead to the collapse of the presidency of President Buhari, if not arrested. If I still know Wike very well and those sponsoring him, President Buhari’s presidency is actually the target of this macabre dance in Rivers State and not Amaechi. The idea is to destroy Amaechi, and Buhari’s administration will crumble. For avoidance of doubt, Amaechi did not only played a pivotal role in the election of President Buhari in the March 28, 2015 presidential polls, but was the Director-General of the President’s Campaign Organisation that spearheaded his election against the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan perceived as Amaechi’s brother.

So apart from the fact that Amaechi may have incurred the wrath of his people and some vested powerful interest in Niger Delta, by spearheading the defeat of their brother who performed so woefully as president of Nigeria, Amaechi supported and promoted a northerner and a Muslim against his Christian brother. To them, he must be destroyed by any means possible. But these people failed to understand that undermining Amaechi will ensure that the South-south does not have a strong voice in the administration of President Buhari.

On other factors that contributed to the rift, which will take writing a book to unravel but for the exigencies of this article, I will only state that Governor Wike, sadly, allowed himself to be used as a tool by former President Jonathan, his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, and their collaborators in their blind ambition to destroy Amaechi, whom they saw as a threat to their continued plundering of the common patrimony of our nation. The third factor was the gathering or unification of those that see Amaechi as a threat to the realisation of their political ambitions in Rivers State. The third factor was the Dr Peter Odili/Sir Celestine Omehia Group, which felt that Amaechi sent them on a forced exile to Abuja, after the 2007 gubernatorial election. The last, but not the least, was the ambition of Chief Nyesom Wike to govern Rivers State, which many never knew until it was too late to stop him. It was his ambition and readiness to provide himself as a tool for the realisation of the goal – which is destroy Amaechi by any means – that united all these other groups. They embarked upon this project with zeal without knowing the end but, knowing what future portends for Wike, Amaechi and Jonathan, I did my best to dissuade them from this unwarranted struggle; but Wike and Jonathan refused to see reason. The result was the failure of Jonathan to survive the 2015 general elections.

 

Wike’s sole agenda and strategies

It is imperative at this juncture to state that Wike assumed office through a dubious election described in many quarters as a charade and sham. Prince Tonye Princewill, Labour Party candidate in the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial said: “The election that brought Wike to power is the worst ever conducted to elect a governor in Rivers State.” Over 100 souls were sacrificed during this ill-fated election. It has become very clear to all and sundry that the only project and agenda before Chief Wike is to destroy Amaechi; destroy Amaechi as he left every facet of governance in pursuit of his sole agenda. To achieve this singular agenda, no meaningful project has either been initiated or executed in Rivers State since Wike assumed office. Instead, a whopping sum borrowed as loan has been diverted in hiring jobbers, international and local media to initiate and circulate dubious write-ups with no substance, just to demystify Amaechi.

In carrying his agenda, immediately he assumed office on May 29, 2015, he organised a phantom tour of the Government House where he accused the governor of looting even cooking utensils, but the fact remains that there was no looting in any form in the government. I was one of the very few that left the Government House after Amaechi departed Rivers State to Abuja on May 28, 2015; and I can confirm that there was no looting. Therefore, if there was any looting, it’s either in the imagination of Wike, or he must have arranged the looting in order to portray the immediate past governor in bad light. To me, this plot is very childish as Wike knows that Amaechi is a highly principled leader, who can’t be involved in such a petty issue like looting. Besides, from the little I have come to know about Amaechi, he detests materialism. Check his record from his university days and you will come to appreciate this man as a unique leader. Wike is a character who can go to any length to achieve a purpose, including running down anybody on his way – even if that person is his benefactor, like Amaechi, who has shaped his political life.

After the looting accusation, he went further to set up a kangaroo Probe Panel to investigate the last 18 months of the administration of Amaechi, excluding the period when he was the chief of staff to Amaechi. To me, I wish to make it clear that the panel was principally set up to witch-hunt, tarnish the image and malign the hard-earned reputation of former Governor Amaechi. Wike affirmed my position when he stated, and I quote: “Don’t forget that Amaechi likes pointing fingers at others; calling them names and claiming to be a man of integrity and a man who is not corrupt. As a governor then, he probed his predecessor and he did not see it then as a vendetta. So, let him help the public to know, between him and Rivers State Government, who is right or wrong.” It is, therefore, evident that the main aim of this probe panel is to indict Amaechi as a corrupt leader so as to soil his good name. Though the Probe Panel report has not come out with its predetermined judgment, as both Wike and his cohorts have already gone to EFFC to state that Amaechi is guilty and must be tried.

Yet another reason why Wike set up the panel is his belief that by demonising Amaechi, he would reduce his chances of occupying any sensitive position in the Buhari administration, which he believes will be detrimental to his interests and those of his newfound godfathers in the scheme of things at the national level.

As Amaechi himself put it, “The current governor of Rivers State and PDP are afraid of me getting appointment at the national level, because that will determine the politics of Rivers State. They know that the current president abhors corruption and the only way to stop me from getting appointment is to paint that picture of corruption.

“I’m not angry with the people who have come out to blackmail me, my anger is with Rivers people who know I don’t like money and I expect them to get up and defend me that this is not Ameachi’s character, that’s my anger. The Rivers people should stand up and tell this man to stop painting Ameachi black,” he said.

“I heard they (PDP) want to address a press conference to tell the president not to give me appointment that I’m corrupt but they don’t know that appointment is not everything, if God is happy with me, I’m happy with my life.”

Ameachi said his sin against many people in the South-South and the former president was supporting a Muslim candidate from the North. His words: “Our offence was supporting a Muslim, not only that, our offence was supporting a northerner. What they failed to realise is that money does not know ethnic group, the stealing the current president is fighting cut across the whole nation, it is not the South-South people that stole the money, every part of the country stole that money but it was under the supervision of a South-South president and we are watching.”

However, one thing Wike and his strategists fail to understand is that President Buhari is already aware of their desperation to victimise Amaechi, and also knows the politics of Rivers State as he knows his fingers. Therefore, their game evil plot is an exercise in futility.

 

More facts on the Amaechi that Wike is disparaging

Before presenting Amaechi’s score card in financial management of Rivers State, let me at this juncture present the Amaechi that Wike can’t destroy, no matter his efforts in this regard. Amaechi, apart from what we all know about him politically, is the proper definition of what humility is all about. However, to some people who don’t know him very well he is an arrogant fellow who must be destroyed. Amaechi is an enigma that defies description. Engr Tele Ikuru, his erstwhile deputy, who seems to know him better than most of us, tried to give an insight into who this man is when, during the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court Judgement that brought Amaechi to power, stated: “Today, we have come to celebrate a resourceful leader, a dogged fighter, a political enigma, a change agent, people defender, transformer, catalyst, trail-blazer, phenomenon of our time, His Excellency, the Rt Hon Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, the Executive Governor of Rivers State. A leader whose word you can take to the bank. A trusted friend and ally, a man who stands by his friends and confidants, both in good times and in times of difficulties and challenges. A man of conscience who does not hide under the veil of circumstances to betray his friends and allies; a compassionate leader whose love for the development of the state and its people has no parallel. A sincere and honest leader, who rather than cart away the commonwealth of Rivers people entrusted to his care, has diligently applied it to the development of the state to the admiration of the true Rivers people and even his traducers. A visionary leader who knows and sees his people first.” I don’t know if any other person can beat this definition of the enigma known as Amaechi.

 

Amaechi and the resources of Rivers State: A Score Card

To demonstrate the seriousness of Amaechi’s careful management of the resources of Rivers State, he immediately on assuming office in 2007 constituted his cabinet with men and women of integrity and seeing the decay in infrastructure in the state commenced his task by initiating and signing into law, Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Agency Bill No. 3 of 2008, Sustainable Development Amendment Bill No. 1 of 2008, Procurement Public Bill, Saving Public Fund Bill, and even a bill excluding the office of the governor from signing and awarding of contracts. The fact remains that no other state in Nigeria has such laws in operation, excluding the governor from interfering and awarding of contracts and saving part of its revenue for the rainy days. With the enactment of these bills, the governor demonstrated early enough the type of governance he intends to bequeath to the State: Governance premised on accountability, service delivery, people-oriented government for the greater good of Rivers people.

According to Amaechi, “In order to lay a strong foundation for positive change in governance in the state, the administration has taken it upon itself to initiate very critical bills on fiscal responsibility to the State House of Assembly and virtually all of which have been passed into law and assented to by me. The Executive arm of government so far has credit for having at least 60 per cent of all bills passed by the House of Assembly, saying that virtually all the bills were designed to deal with the age long problem of financial irresponsibility and rascality and as far as the existing laws on fiscal responsibility are concerned, anyone in government who tries to have an over sight of the due process mechanism in the state would surely run into problems.”

The peace that prevailed in  Rivers State under the watch of Gov Amaechi resulted not only the attraction of foreign investments but also in Port Harcourt becoming the haven of both National and International eventss. Apart from hosting one of the best organised National Sports Festival ever in Nigeria, the just concluded School Sports and the Police Games by March 2013. Port Harcourt apart from Abuja and probably Lagos is the only State to have hosted US-Nigeria biennial National Conference, Pan African Parliamentary; Garden City Literary Festival, hosted CARNRIV involving several foreign countries to showcase the rich culture, potentials and beauty of her people, the 2nd Dr Claude Ake Memorial Lecture, Rivers State Investment Forum and Governor’s Interactive Session with Rivers State Youths.

Other major events hosted by Rivers State include the ION Film Festival where the world best Film Producers were feted with the hospitality of Rivers State, Miss ECOWAS Pageant, Garden City Literary Festival, Guild of Editors, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), a trade delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on an enlighten mission for private companies within the South-South zone on how to access business opportunities available within the ECOWAS sub region among many other major events hosted by the Rivers State Government. The State is the UNESCO’s World Book Capital 2014. What a feat and what an accomplishment.

Amaechi was at various times Chairman of the Forum of Nigerian Speakers from 1999 to 2011 and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum from 2007 to 2015, he was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate Degree from various Universities in Nigeria including the Usmanu Danfodiyo University of Sokoto. He is a holder of the Commander of the Order of Niger, CON and Man of the Year recipient of Sun, Leadership, Compass and recently Vanguard Newspaper. The following comments by some outstanding Nigerians attest to the above.
In an advertorial by 32 members of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly of Nigeria signed by Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, the federal lawmakers said: “Today as always, we rejoice with you, our worthy friend, a democrat, a patriotic Nigerian and an epitome of good governance as you add another feather to your cap as Vanguard Man of the year 2012.”

Gov. Amaechi got the Sun Newspaper Man of the Year Award in 2007 and the Compass Newspaper Award for Security in 2008. The Governor of the year 2009 Award was presented to Governor Amaechi at the ‘Leadership Award for Excellence – 2009’ chaired by former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd) in Abuja.

He was also conferred with the prestigious SERA award for his contributions towards the social development of Rivers State, in line with the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), especially in the areas of Health and Education.

Amaechi believes in transparency and accountability. He was the first governor in this country to begin a Stewardship Account. He was the first governor to publicly say to people, this is what we have received, this is what we have spent; this is where we have spent it. He was the first governor in this country to take over the payment of primary school teachers, which is a local government function. Rivers State under Amaechi was the first state to have its own Procurement Act. The World Bank not only commended, but asked other states to go and see the Implementation of the Due Process regime in Rivers State. He was the first governor to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Law to check government officials and this is the fellow that Wike is presenting in borrowed robe.

 

Amaechi in the eyes of Rivers people

Indigenes of Rivers State in the United States in a press statement in Washington, DC, the group’s president, Dr. Chisom Skyprince, stated: “On behalf of Rivers Society Group in United States. I want to commend the effort of former Gov Rotimi Amaechi for supporting the majority of Nigerians to send out the administration of PDP at the Federal level. His role, during the struggle will ever be known. We also have no doubts in his leadership to join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari in transforming the country.”

“The allegations raised by the Integrity Group – a group that is clearly without integrity – headed by one Livingstone Wechie, against Amaechi, is nothing but a dubious and baseless piece of thrash,” Barr Worgu Boms, immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Rivers State.

“Wike’s government is a calamity… generated from Jonathan’s laboratory of impunity… the campaign of calumny against Amaechi by Wike cannot dim Amaechi’s light…” – Oji Ngofa, Deputy National Secretary, APC.

Amaechi in the eyes of great minds

  1. His Royal Majesty, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, military governor of the old Rivers State, from 1967 to 1975. He was also a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) under General Yakubu Gowon’s administration and currently, the Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, once stated and I quote: “Yes, I am attributed to be the father of the old Rivers State but, without sounding immodest, let me reiterate that Governor Amaechi can be described as the builder of the modern Rivers State, if all the infrastructure he has put in are anything to go by. I am so proud of his feats and if he continues like this, Rivers State will be a proud place to all Nigerians.”
  2. Former President Jonathan while on inspection tour of the PH – Owerri Road, constructed by the administration of Amaechi said that, “the several road networks embarked upon by the Rivers State Government and the Monorail transport system planned by the government has significantly shown that the state is moving ahead, beside the road network, I want to commend Governor Amaechi on the three major projects, the quality of primary and secondary schools that we saw, as well as the power project that would aid Small Business Enterprises.”
  3. Prof. Tam David-West, “If you compare the administration of Odili and that of Amaechi, you will agree with me that the present administration under Amaechi has done in two years far more than what Odili did in eight years.”
  4. Former Governor Shekarau of Kano State who was in the State to witness some of the great feats of Amaechi remarked, “I feel highly fulfilled by coming here today to hear and see the dividends of democracy, as I urge Governor Amaechi to build more of such schools which he described as vehicle for change. But for time, I would have borrowed a leaf from Amaechi by replicating the quality of schools I have seen here in his State.”
  5. The former President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, during his visit to the State described the leadership of the Governor of Rivers State as a focused one. Dr. Kaunda noted that with the focused leadership of Governor Amaechi, Rivers State would continue to be of service to humanity for many years to come.
  6. The Deputy Speaker of Ugandan Parliament and Chairperson of CWP, Hon Rebecca Kadaga, lauded the developmental efforts and policies of Governor Amaechi, especially those geared towards improving the lot of children and women, saying that the issues already canvassed confirm that what the CWP was set to achieve are already in place in Rivers State.
  1. The former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, stated recently: “The impression that I always get when I come to Africa is that these countries have enormous potential and your country and your State (Rivers) have enormous potential and I think that you happen to have at this time in history also, a dynamic, energetic and capable leadership that can make the dreams of building up the State into a reality of life for the 5.1 million residents in Rivers State that want their lives to be of much higher and greater quality.”
  1. The then United States Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins, while exchanging ideas with some journalists stated, “I must commend Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State for embarking on numerous people-oriented projects and showing enthusiasm on Niger Delta issues. We are very appreciative of all that Amaechi has done. We are quite clear that addressing the issues of the Niger Delta, the challenges require focusing on things like education development, agriculture, health, all sorts of issues, and the governor was kind enough to show us…”
  1. According to Prof. Wole Soyinka, Amaechi and Tinubu were the two architects of the APC victory in the general elections. Prof Soyinka said: “In the political atmosphere today, whatever you call it, change or hope or cautious hope and or careless hope, I recognise two personalities in particular who led the chant of change. One of them, I call him the architect of the process, the architect in fact, that houses the essence of hope – Bola Tinubu. The other person (Amaechi) was unconsciously, perhaps, the arrowhead of that charge that led to the change and that is the man that we gather here to celebrate.

“He was the one who said no, we cannot turn the clock backwards. Nothing about the philosophy of the clock runs against what we were hoping for. It was a very unpopular and risky decision to take. But it exposed to us the basic arithmetic fallacy of governance in demonstrating that when 16 is said to be higher than 19, something is fundamentally wrong and the same kind of arithmetic leads to the cooking of figures in governance.

“And it was within that nexus that he stood up and challenged even his own colleagues, and said let’s change the mentality of the stock, let us re-orientate it towards the people and towards the nation and the electorate.”

 

  1. According to Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, “Ameachi is also a man of big ideas and very insightful, he understands how to live long in the hearts of men. His education policies in Rivers State and all of those children he gave real hope and opportunity will always that he will be remembered long after he left this earth.”

Conclusion

 

The fact remains that if APC did not win the March, 28th 2015 Presidential election, people like Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi would have either been dead by now or cooling off in any of the Prisons or if allowed to live would have been on exile. Chief Wike stated this in February, 2015 that once Dr Jonathan is declared winner of the polls, Amaechi will be arrested so when Amaechi said that God engineered the victory of APC to save him from the death that would have been his portion if PDP has won, he was speaking the truth.

 

Not minding the sad macabre dance in Rivers State, I am counselled by Isaiah 33:1

 

“Woe to you, O destroyer, While you were not destroyed; And he who is treacherous, while others did not deal treacherously with him As soon as you finish destroying, you will be destroyed; As soon as you cease to deal treacherously, others will deal treacherously with you”

 

Finally, let me encourage Amaechi as he goes through this fire of batisim by a fellow he brought up politically as he will surely come out of it unscathed  according to Mark 14:21, “For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” And Malcolm X, “To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.”

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Power: The need to discontinue the payment of electricity bills after disconnection

Posted on August 20, 2015. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Power: The need to discontinue the payment of electricity bills after disconnection

By Nwaorgu Faustinus

The news about the directive or rather order by the senate on the 11th of this month to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the fixed charge of N702.00, which it has been collecting from electricity consumers across the federation following unending complaints against the policy by Nigerians has been greatly applauded as the right step in the right direction, given its anti-people oriented and exploitative coloration.

When this good news filtered into the public domain, many a consumer of power supply heaved a profound sigh of relief having been subjected to the fixed charge without proportionate benefit to show for the money they pay, especially for those who do not make use of pre-paid meters. Again, the Senate in a landmark resolution from a motion entitled: Unfair Trade Practices of Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria, which was sponsored by the duo of Senator Sam Egwu and Senator David Umaru, directed the NERC to urge Discos to discontinue the practice of compulsory bulk metering of villages and communities in the rural areas.

As commendable as these directives are, it is only when the various private power/electricity distribution companies that cut across the geo-political zones of the federation are forced to implement and comply with the order will fairness be restored to the power sector as regards the outrageous, extortionate, slavish and exploitative electricity bills paid by consumers of electricity.

Apart from the issues of bulk metering and fixed charge of N702.00, another issue that is giving the public a great source of concern, anger, and sadness is the continuation of the charge of electricity bills on services not rendered for. For example, there are places and residential homes that have been disconnected for months and the wires used for the connection taken away by the various private power/electricity distribution companies’ electricians for one reason or the other but the end users (electricity consumers) have continued to receive electricity bills for services that have not been offered. This is a clear case of daily light robbery, thievery, consciencelessness, and man’s insensitivity to man by these exploitative companies and its allies. Had it not been that majority of Nigerians who consume electricity are docile even when pushed to the wall especially on this issue of having one’s source of electricity disconnected and wires taken away by these power supply companies’ electricians or taskforce on disconnection, we would have been inundated with news of untoward actions meted out to those who deliver these undeserving electricity bills to those who do not supposed to pay for the bills.

Similarly, there are homes and places that are connected to power supply but have not had electricity for months but these electricity companies still bill them for services not rendered. I believe the practice of making consumers pay for meters, poles and transformers, which by law, are properties of the electricity companies should not be paid for. No wonder the senate directed NERC to make a regulation to mandate the Discos to discontinue the practice of making consumers pay for meters, poles and transformers, which by law, are properties of the Discos, adding however that where consumers purchase those items, they should give notice of the purchase to the Discos, and should be entitled to recover their expenses from subsequent consumption of electricity.

This unpalatable situation of things in the power sector should be investigated holistically by the National Assembly with a view to finding permanent remedies to the ripping off of consumers of electricity and to restore sanity in the system. A stitch in time saves nine.

Nwaorgu Faustinus writes from, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Email:ngorokpalaresearcher@gmail.com

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Count Sylva out of Nembe killings – Bayelsa APC

Posted on August 9, 2015. Filed under: news, Politics | Tags: |

Count Sylva out of Nembe killings – Bayelsa APC

By Nwaorgu Faustinus

The Bayelsa State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) says the attention of H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, leader of the party, has been drawn to a statement issued Saturday by one “Barrister Seighfa Tonye-Brown” on behalf of the “Ijaw Young Professionals in Bayelsa State”.

In the statement, the non-existent Tonye-Brown and his faceless group made wild, unsubstantiated and irresponsible accusations against the APC and Sylva concerning Thursday’s killing of four soldiers and a mobile policeman in Nembe by unknown gunmen.

In a statement signed and made available to NF-Reports by Doifie Buokoribo, Media Adviser to Chief Timipre Sylva said: “Sylva wishes to state categorically that he knows nothing whatsoever about the Nembe killings. Similarly, neither Sylva nor the APC that he leads in the state is privy to any plan to employ violence as a strategy to win the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.

Sylva noted further that the escalation of violence in the state should be put squarely at the doorstep of the incumbent government of Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson, adding that Gov. Dickson’s government has failed woefully in securing lives and property, but instead has overtly and covertly procured and traded in violence to intimidate political opponents and any voice of reason.

The statement also accused the current government of embarking on all manners of subterfuge including, facilitating of arms to non-state actors essentially to prevent the change that is imminent in Bayelsa State.

“It is no doubt that Sylva as the symbol of that change is the target of this schizoid propaganda by faceless groups, paid and unpaid writers, and political jobbers” the statement explained.

The party noted that Sylva is unperturbed and abhors violence – never promoted violence under any guise, but only represents the voice of millions of Bayelsa people seeking change in the affairs of the state, a change to the gross ineptitude, pathetic profligacy and grand larceny of Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson.

Sylva, the leader of APC therefore called on the Inspector General of Police to order an immediate investigation of the Nembe killings, and most particularly those behind the “Ijaw Young Professionals in Bayelsa State”.

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Rivers APC attacks Wike over anti-Buhari Plot

Posted on August 9, 2015. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

Rivers APC attacks Wike over anti-Buhari Plot

…..Accuses him of spending over N5B on failed campaign of calumny
The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday launched a blistering attack on the Rivers State Care-Taker Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, following a revelation that he was the unseen hand behind the campaign of calumny against General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) in the run-up to the March 28, 2015 presidential election. Rivers APC said in a statement signed by the Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, that it was not surprised to discover that Wike was behind the negative campaign against Buhari during the presidential campaign period in view of Wike’s well-known treacherous character.
“No one who knows Wike well enough would be surprised to learn that he, working in concert with a former Governor of Rivers State strongly connected to Daar Communications, operators of AIT and RayPower, was the brain behind the negative advertisements that almost derailed the victory of Buhari, the APC candidate, in the last presidential election. Wike is a devious and treacherous character who would stop at nothing to achieve his purpose. We thank Almighty God for frustrating his plans to foist his preferred candidate, then-president Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Nigerians for another four years, for that would have sounded the death knell for our dear country, Nigeria,” Rivers APC said in the statement issued in Port Harcourt.
The party recalled that there was nothing, no matter how absurd, that was not deployed by Wike and his henchmen to assassinate the character of Buhari and portray him as unelectable in the negative advertisements that carried on radio, TV, newspapers and even international media outlets. “Wike was the person who also encouraged and supported his friend, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, to sponsor the death-wish adverts against Buhari. For Wike to have sunk more than five billion naira into that evil plot demonstrates his level of desperation to stop Buhari but God in His infinite love for Nigerians thwarted their conspiracy and installed Buhari as President,” Rivers APC said.
The party noted that Wike and his co-conspirators have recently put together a huge war chest running into billions of naira – money that should have been used for the welfare of Rivers people – to similarly sponsor a smear campaign against former governor Chibuike Amaechi in the hope that it would make Buhari not to appoint Amaechi into his cabinet. “Just as Wike and his group failed to achieve their evil plot against Buhari, so they shall also fail in their campaign of calumny against Amaechi, as President Buhari will not be bamboozled by their fairy tales,” Rivers APC said.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,

SSA on Media and Public Affairs to the State Chairman, APC Rivers State

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Peterside hails clean-up of Ogoniland by Buhari, describes action as courageous

Posted on August 5, 2015. Filed under: Politics, Press Release | Tags: , |

Peterside hails clean-up of Ogoniland by Buhari, describes action as courageous

Dr. Dakuku Peterside, All Progressives Congress, APC governorship candidate in the April 2015 election in Rivers State has commended President Mohammadu Buhari for his courage in fast-tracking the long expected implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on the environmental restoration of Ogoniland in Rivers State.

Peterside who spoke in Abuja, the nation’s capital, expressed happiness over the president’s many actions that would eventually address all environmental issues in Ogoniland.

According to Peterside, this move obviously is historic and promises to ameliorate other challenges facing Ogoniland.

“Once again, Mr. President has demonstrated that he is a man of honour. During his campaign stops in Rivers State shortly before the election, he promised our people that his government would look into the UNEP Report and the challenges facing the people of Niger Delta. Less than three months into his administration, the President has already taken a giant step in this regard. He is indeed a man of his words.

“Our people in the region know that this is a president we can trust because of his antecedent and track record. By this action, Mr. President has rekindled hope and brought a major relief to our long-suffering people.

“We know that it can only be better. I therefore urge the entire people of Niger Delta region to rally round this president as he works tirelessly to return Nigeria on the path of honour and greatness. Our region is on his mind, therefore we must do everything possible to support this administration.

Signed

Sylvester Asoya,

Special Assistant on Media to Dr. Peterside 

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Amaechi: Wike has been put to shame – Rivers APC

Posted on August 5, 2015. Filed under: Arts and Entertainment, Breaking News, Press Release | Tags: |

Amaechi: Wike has been put to shame – Rivers APC

…Hails Nigerians for celebrating Ex-Governor’s legacies

The Caretaker Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has been put to shame by the large crowd of Nigerians from all walks of life who gathered at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Monday to honour the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and celebrate his legacies.

“By turning out in large numbers to honour Ex-Governor Amaechi and through their touching testimonies at that grand reception put together by Amaechi’s Committee of Friends, Nigerians have spoken with one loud voice, shaming Chief Nyesom Wike, who has devoted the past two months of his illegal occupation of the Government House in Port Harcourt to wage an unnecessary war against the man who made him politically in a desperate bid to tarnish his reputation,” the Rivers State Chapter of APC said in a statement signed by the Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya.

The party condemned Wike’s witch-hunting of Amaechi, noting that it is a classic case of one biting the finger that once fed him. “We are, however, not perturbed by Wike’s antics because, as we have pointed out time without number, the Caretaker Governor is hounding an innocent man and his efforts to rubbish and pull down Amaechi, who is his political mentor, will turn out to be futile,” Rivers APC said.

It drew Wike’s attention to the testimonies of important political leaders at the reception for Amaechi, all of whom acknowledged the former Rivers State Governor to be an incorruptible Nigerian patriot. “We are grateful to Nigerians for taking their stand on the side of the truth on the Amaechi issue. Our special thanks go to President Muhammadu Buhari for his continued confidence in Amaechi, as well as to Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, his Plateau State counterpart, Rt. Hon. Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, President Buhari’s wife, Aisha Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, for publicly identifying with Amaechi and testifying to his unimpeachable character,” Rivers APC said.

It advised Wike to bury his head in shame as the overwhelming positive declarations in Amaechi’s favour means that his plot to pull down his predecessor has hit the rocks as earlier predicted by the party.

Signed

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,

SSA Media and Public Affairs to the State Chairman, APC Rivers State

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