Archive for January, 2017

Rivers State and Wike’s Concept of Good Governance

Posted on January 31, 2017. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Rivers State and Wike’s Concept of Good Governance

Written By Ogbonna Nwuke

What began like a small story originated  by the Department of  Custom and Excise over the importation of combat holicopters allegedly abandonned at the ports is gradually blowing out of proportion.The handover of the attack choppers to the Nigeria Airforce by the Customs was supposed to be the end of the story. But in the Rivers State where every little thing provides an opportunity for mudslinging, which has not happened. That tiny story that most Nigerians were unaware of at first, is rapidly snowballing into a raging controversy.

It would appear that in the Rivers state, old habits die hard and so, somehow, that once beautiful State where life went on quietly and productive forces went to work, has transformed into a boiling culdrum of overflowing emotions and dangerous backstabbing. As a Nigerian, I  would have probably preferred to watch what is obviously the epic entertainment of an outgoing month from the sidelines. The trouble is, I come from Rivers State and I am not finding all of this funny at all.

We have seen with our own eyes, how on an account of our growing recklessness, Rivers state has lost its oil wells to Bayelsa State. We cannot pretend today that oil wells which belonged to the Rivers State have been ceded to Akwa Ibom State. Neither can we forget that with the connivance of some of our people,  oil wells that used to belong to the Etche Ethnic Nation have been given to Abia State.

We can play the ostrich as much as we like, but can we equally pretend that men, women and children are not being killed in parts of our State while the rest of us, including a government which by the nature of its existence claims our mandate, does nothing?
I have asked myself why we should turn ourselves into laughing stock in public. I have found no answer. I have asked myself why animosity of the worst consuming type is becoming our stock-in-trade. Still, the answer has been hard in coming. I have wondered why a deliberate attempt is made to put a spin on almost everything in the State of my birth. All that I get is an ominous silence as our people head towards an endless precipice. I have asked myself why I should keep quiet because I have become involved in politics. My soul simply can’t take it anymore.

What is indeed happening? Why can’t we move forward as a people? Why can’t we have some quiet? Are we the only ones with established differences?

What is happening is proof, in my opinion, of reason gone mad. It is evidence of how personal interest instead of the collective interest of the Rivers people is overshadowing everything else. Similarly, it is a worrying spectacle of a growing decay in our value system, the birth or rebirth of a fascist ideology that justifies the outcome of a deadly end and the advent of a society in which conscience, fairless and justice mean nothing at all.

Of course, respect, honour and  intergrity has been thrown overboard long ago because of the nature of our politics while guns speaker louder than words to this day.
In so far as the raging controversy arising from the helicopter episode is concerned, some may wish to blame the Nigerian press for all that is happening in Rivers State. Perhaps for the singular reason that in their search for a complete story, they ask so many questions and go on to publish responses obtained. Such is the nature of the press anywhere in the world.

Yet the media doesn’t stick a gun to our necks. Neither does the media put words into our mouth. So, what we usually say to the press is a product of our temparament, our understanding of the situation, a reflection of our level of maturity and our appreciation of the consequential effects that the spoken or written word could have.

But alas in today’s Rivers State where life is short and brutish, where politics is full blown conflict by other means, all has become fair as they say in war. What a shame!
It is strange that as we wash our dirty leanings on the streets of major Nigerian capitals, we have brought different interpretations for instance, to what decorum and decency actually means.Good governance should mean the art or science of ensuring the welfare of a people through the deliberate provision of infrastructure as well as the guarantee of peace and security by government.

It should mean the provision of a conducive environment which allows for the free flow of goods and services, the freedom of the people, fruition of businesses, the creation of much needed jobs and the fulfilment of the social contract between the people and their rulers. But it would seem that in Rivers state where frightening differences exist and men are ready to go to war over minute issues, good governance has taken a different colouration as well. We can find the colouration in the comment which suggests that because the Rivers State Government under Amaechi could not deliver good governance, it resorted to the purchase of helicopters.

Wowwwww! That’s Nigerian politics for you!! Strange? Isn’t it? What really should be good governance? Can good governance be attained through the deliberate promotion of falsehood, outright hatred and blantant lies in order to score cheap political points? Should good governance include the deliberate incubation of terror and the protection of persons who act as if law, and the order that it seeks to secure, do not exist? Should the destruction of the legacies of a preceding administration by another be seen as setting precedence for good governance?Should the art of guaranteeing good governance include the absence of necessary policies which should create wealth, stabilize the State and bring smiles to the faces of Rivers people?

There are several questions to ask but several questions that may never attract answers. As Rivers people, we cannot encourage these shameful displays of unwarranted hostility which have become part of our hallmark to continue. It doesn’t tell who we are; neither does it resonate with a great majority of a voiceless people in our home states that look on, despair in their eyes and pain in their heart.

These are indeed very strange times for Rivers state and the Rivers people caught in the middle of a bone-crushing struggle for power in which there is no retreat, no surrender.
I am acutely aware that I actively involved in the game too, if not as a participant, then as an observer. But when it comes to journalism or the expression of the right to free speech, the paramount interest of the Rivers people and the nation come first.

Having said this, it would be necessary to appeal to all the gladiators to put the welfare and wellbeing of the Rivers people and the Rivers State above all things.Here, I would urge Governor Nyesom Wike, more than anyone else, to refrain from actions or comments which have the capacity to ignite tension in the polity. In truth, no one needs a peaceful, stable and cordial environment in which to deliver the dividends of democracy more than himself.

Accordingly, he must shun what is turning out to be a kind of cavalier attitude that is unbecoming of a leader, and concentrate on meaningful efforts in finding how lasting peace can return to the State.

To say that Nyseom Wike or Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, had no responsibility to explain the issues surrounding the appearance of the said helicopters would be wrong.

What is wrong, in my view, as a son of Rivers State is the irritating tantrums that are being thrown at the moment. For the avoidance of doubt, the totality of what leaders do to promote peace, security and develoment, which have a soothing impact on the welfare and wellbeing of their people while in office translate in so many ways to the existence of good governance. Good governance cannot, in my mind, exist in an environment in which innocent lives are taken on a daily basis. Or exist in an atmosphere in which kidnappers, fraudsters, cultists and killers roam the land freely.

Bad governance shouldn’t exist for that matter when a government acquires attack choppers for the purpose of fighting pipeline vandals whose activities constitute economic sabotage and a threat to the environment.

To promote the continuity of good government policies and programmes known to yield results ought to be a step in the right direction when looking at the notion of good governance. When a serving administration acknowledges the accomplishments of other governments before it, embarks clearly on its own signature projects, and resists the temptation to take credit for what it hasn’t done, it lays the foundation for transparency and climbs unto a high moral ground that helps to develop a culture of good governance.

We should never contemplate to accuse a government of poor governance  when it labours to provide basic infrastructure like schools, health centres and roads for the benefit of the people; when it ensures that the necessary structures which make it possible for such facilities to serve the general good are put in place.

Yet, by the same token, should we not talk of poor governance when a government, faced with obstacles that it is trying to surmount, cannot find immediate answers. Wike seems to have alluded to this when in explaining his side he made reference to government under Amaechi having access to much money.

However, obtaining loans and applying such loans in areas of need which can provide employment and generate resources required for the repayment of such debts could well be an effort at ensuring sparks of good governance. The reverse, strictly speaking, would provide a yardstick for measuring poor governance as some are doing, rightly or wrongly, when loans secured by the Wike administration come up for special mention.
Should the indexes of assessment when it comes to growth patterns indicate such borrowed funds were not properly utilized, the implication for Wike would be that due diligence was not followed in such a manner as to promote good governance. But if under Rotimi Amaechi, government provided infrastructure and in the process created much needed white-collar and blue-collar jobs through the multiplier impact of policies and economic activities which existed at the time, then it can be said of that era there was good governance, or a measure of it.

If the attempt early in the Amaechi administration to look at a state beyond oil which gave vent to investments in agriculture was visionary and futuristic, then a conscious effort was made through good governance to prepare for a future that is already here. If there is an increase in today’s government activities which enables civil servants to see themselves as active agents driving the wheel of government progress, in terms of ensuring transparency and accountability, especially in regulating public procurement expenditure, the outcome of running such an open government could help promote good governance.

Interestingly, Wike is quick to talk about good governance issues, suggesting that given the chance, he would very much want to leave a legacy in this regard. That said, the ball is in his court and most Rivers people would very much want to see how he taps the ball towards the realisation of the overall goal.

To get close to this objective, Wike would require focus, establish a rapport officially with all the parties that are part of the Rivers project, and build strong bridges that will promote cooperation instead of confrontation.

Fortunately or unfortunately for him, Wike has two years to go; two years to prove to his support base that he didn’t dissappoint; two years to go to pass the acid test set by the silent majority to whom the Rivers State genuinely belongs.

Finally, for all those who may be interested in judging the Amaechi administration which has left office or the Wike administration which is currently in office, a candid x-ray of their policies and programmes as well as their adherence to international best practices,  their track records in opening up the State for business and guaranteeing peace and security would provide a healthy basis either for drawing comparisons or reaching conclusions when it comes to good governance.

Ogbonna Nwuke sent in this piece from Port Harcourt, Rivers State

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Nigeria: Time to Domesticate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250

Posted on January 31, 2017. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Nigeria: Time to Domesticate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250

By Lawal Rafiu Adeniran

On the 9th December 2015, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2250. This is the first Resolution that deals with the role of young people on issues of peace and security. This global policy framework was and is still been celebrated by youth across the globe because it recognizes the actual potentials of youth in conflict and post conflict reconstruction.

This resolution was adopted because the world realized that it cannot build sustainable peace without the involvement of youth, protecting their lives, meaningfully engaging and empowering them on issues of peace and security. This resolution gives recognition and legitimacy to the several works been done by youth at local, state and national levels towards building lasting peace.

The importance of this resolution cannot be over emphasized, putting into consideration the fact that the world is currently experiencing a wave of youth bulge; there is an increasing population of youth when compared with other age groups. In Nigeria for example an estimated 70% of her population is under the age of 35. Given this demographic advantage, it is only imperative that youth are involved and included in decision making and peacebuilding.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 225O has five (5) main components which mandates governments to increase the participation of young people in decision making institutions at local, state and national levels; ensure the protection of youth and civilians during conflict and in post conflict settings; support youth by creating conducive atmosphere so as to allow them implement violent prevention and peacebuilding activities; establish and strengthen partnerships with relevant actors by engaging and empowering them on issues of countering violent extremism, social cohesion and inclusion and lastly that government should disengage youth from taking violent actions through the provision of job opportunities, education, capacity building and trainings, civic engagement programmes and take possible actions to support the ideas and aspirations of young persons.

All member states of the United Nations including Nigeria have been mandated to implement and domesticate the contents of this resolution at local, state and national levels.

The United Nations has done her part by adopting this resolution; it now lies on youth across Nigeria to ensure that it is acted upon. Youth across Nigeria must demand the domestication and implementation of UNSCR 2250 from their leaders at local, state and national government. Both lawmakers and policy makers must be lobbied on the importance and need to implement this resolution in Nigeria. All youth must join in spreading this word. Let people know about the existence of this resolution, what it says and why it is important to young people.

Lawal Rafiu Adeniran, is the National Coordinator, Nigeria Youth for Peace Initiative

Basorun, Ibadan, Oyo State


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Dakuku Peterside commends Magnus Abe on Senate Committee Appointment

Posted on January 31, 2017. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

 ….Commiserates With Sports Minister Over Wife’s Demise

The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside has commended the leadership of Senate for appointing Senator Magnus Abe as the Senate Committee Chairman on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

Dr Peterside, who stated this in a chat with newsmen at the Port Harcourt International Airport last weekend, said Senator Magnus Abe’s appointment is a testimony of his industry, managerial acumen and willingness to expand frontiers of democracy beyond rhetoric.

According to him, “the people of Rivers South East and indeed the state will now see what representation is all about. We all know what Senator Abe can do, he has been there before and his records are still unmatched. We, in the Rivers South East remain proud of him.”

The NIMASA boss expressed delight that the Senate appointment is coming barely one month after Abe was re-elected to represent the people of Rivers South East in the National Assembly.

“I have always said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has men of character, integrity and sense responsibility. Senator Abe is one man you can be sure to perform any task given to him to the best of his ability,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Dr Dakuku Peterside has sympathized with the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung over the demise of his first wife, Ruth Dalung.

He stated that the sad loss of Mrs Ruth Dalung came at a time when her husband is on national duty where he is working with President Muhammadu Buhari to restore the glory and prosperity of Nigeria.

He prayed for the repose of her soul, just as he called on the Sports Minister to bear the irreparable loss with strength and perseverance required in losing a loved one.


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Sapele gets eight-hour power supply

Posted on January 31, 2017. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

Sapele gets eight-hour power supply

The nation’s parlous energy situation took the centre stage on Monday in Asaba as stakeholders lamented the massive power outages in Delta State, particularly Sapele.

They also agreed on eight – hour daily uninterrupted power supply for Sapele.

The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Monday Igbuya described the electricity situation in Sapele as unbearable and oppressive.

Igbuya who spoke at length on the recent protest in Sapele, the drop in electricity supply in the country and its effects on people and organizations during a special stake holders meeting to proffer solutions to the worsening electricity situation in Sapele protested the failure of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to provide uninterrupted power supply in Sapele.

He also criticised the tales out of BEDC, the deluge of excuses of non performance and the shifting of responsibilities to the consumers and other partners.

He said the high monthly bills did not reflect the epileptic power supply.

Igbuya while calling for an end to the epileptic power supply in Sapele decried the ever- spiralling cost of diesel needed to power alternative source of electricity.

“What can the good people of Sapele do with epileptic power supply? The situation has killed small and medium scale ventures. It has also increased unemployment and social tension” he said.

He urged BEDC to stop illegal collections by providing prepaid meters.

“Sapele people will pay their electricity bills” he said.

Residents of Sapele in December protested the poor electricity supply to the area by BEDC. They not only condemned the three hour electricity supply a day but lamented that many companies had shut down because of poor power supply.

The Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Monday Igbuya, Chairman , House Committee on Power, Rt. Hon Peter Onwusanya, Vice Chairman, House Committee on Power and Energy, Hon Evance Ivwurie, Honourable Commissioner of Power, Barrister Newworld Sofugha, the chairman of Sapele Local Government Area, Hon Ejaife Odebala, representatives of Sapele, Eurafric, Sapele, National Independent Power Plant, Ogorode, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Nigeria Gas Company, Ekpan, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Sapele and others attended the meeting.

Source: Ebireri Henry Ovie


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Start of the Trump years: What’s In It For Africa?

Posted on January 21, 2017. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Start of the Trump years: What’s In It For Africa?

By Ogbonna Nwuke

ogbonna-nwukeI mopped at the TV screen as Donald Trump took a walk along the designated parade route, clutching unto his wife’s right hand and waving to the enthusiastic crowds. It was like a scene out of a well scripted Hollywood movie. Can’t really remember the name of the US musician who wrote a great song about life in America just as the Ronald Reagan years in the White House got underway. I am not even sure I remember the tittle of the song either. But still, I vividly remember the lyrics of that song which said America was staring at a movie. The song recalled how the American people looked up to John Wayne each time they were in trouble, concluding that with John Wayne gone, Americans glued to a movie, were more or less saying Ronald Reagan. A song you would say, and you would be dead right! Songs evoke all kinds of feelings, emotion and passion.
As I followed the live coverage on CNN, those lyrics kept flashing past. I realised those words captured the mood in America today as it did at the time of its release. Who could have believed at the time that America would settle for a film star as president?  Who could have thought in this age that a Washington outsider would be sworn in as the latest American president?
That’s Uncle Sam for you! Especially if you talk like a tough aggressive guy from the wild Wild West with a smoking gun!! Whether we like or not; whether we reside in the US or outside of it; the rest of us appear right now to be staring at a movie as someone who knows very little about how Washington works, how the international system operates, steps into the world stage.
Obviously as history unfolds, the history maker is Donald Trump, a businessman whose handlers all through the fiery campaign that almost tore America apart likened to Ronald Reagan.
I really don’t know why Trump’s people chose to tag unto the Reagan name, or why the American people fell for it. I also doubt I’d like to know after all that has happened.
Trump had promised on his way to Capitol Hill to bring back American jobs; promised to make America great again; and promised to chase out Washington insiders whom he accused of ripping off ordinary Americans.
To get to the US presidency, Trump broke with tradition, tossed what was left of the etiquette governing electioneering behaviour into the thrash can, and recorded one of the most stunning of victories in American history.
As America enters into a new phase, Trump isn’t simply wrong when he says what’s happening in America is like never before seen. Within America where Trump is promising to unite a divided nation, there is really tension. Never, since after the civil rights movement has there been such a threat to national cohesion.
To cap it, there have been several controversies as well as angry demonstrations that are trailing the Trump administration. These include women groups who insist as Trump takes over the oval office that they won’t let anyone roll back rights they have earned over the years or allow any one for that matter to infringe on the rights of their children. There are many among black and Latino communities who are worried and sick about the future of their families in a country that they call home. So are the Muslim families too. These worries are arising from Trump’s utterances during the campaign and the impact that those comments are having among white supremacists who think a new dawn is here.
Washington watchers are amazed too by the number of billionaires who have been appointed into the Trump cabinet. And impressed by attempts to halt companies in America that are trying to ship out on account of what they see as higher taxes.While Americans attempt to come to terms with the reality of the moment, it is abroad that anxiety over the Trump era is currently mounting.What will happen? What will a world with Donald Trump as US president be like?
Although there has always been some kind of consistency in America’s outlook to the world, whether  it is the Republicans or Democrats who are in power, not many members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for instance, can predict in which direction Trump would pull when it comes to America’s alliances.
Besides, the world isn’t as peaceful and stable as Trump takes centre stage. There is a frightening refugee crisis that has taken a global dimension, creating serious immigration problems. Europeans who are hard hit by the influx are still grappling with solutions as the situation escalates.
The Middle East hasn’t come close to a two-state solution as envisaged by the United Nations, and the rivalry of the super powers hasn’t helped matters, particularly in Syria. Tension mounts in Turkey and along the Kurdish border. Israel remains as intransigent as ever, threatening to redefine its role with the UN while Iran becomes more of a force to reckon with in the region. The Saudis who have a war of their own haven’t been outdone either. They seem to have become more beligerent.  The ascendency of ISIS and other jihadist groups which are spreading as far as Europe and Africa has further complicated security concerns.
There is global warming to think about. Trouble is Trump doesn’t seem to realise how much of a threat this is to the human habitat.
This is not to forget nuclear proliferation in Asia, namely in Pakistan, North Korea and India. There is the rumble in the China seas to worry about, China’s face off with Taiwan to figure out and China’s growing influence worldwide to contend with.
But what has Trump in stock for Africa where the oil curse, massive corruption, crippling trade imbalances in the international community, and worsening terrorism holds sway?
Most of Africa depends on foreign aid from wealthy countries, including America. What would be the US attitude towards Africa now that Trump is in charge?
Will he extend an olive branch or simply allow Africa to sort out itself against the backdrop of his America first agenda?
Africa holds a lot of promise when it comes to investment opportunities. Rich in human and materials, Africa is in dire need of attention and most Africans would judge the Trump years, not by what it does to make America great again, but by what America does to make Africa a better place.
Helping to sort out Africa could help reduce international migration problems, open more markets and address massive unemployment challenges.
In the days to come, it is evident that Africans would look forward to a Trump policy on Africa which points the way forward and defines its relationship with the United States.
Together Africa and the United States can really make a new movie. The one who can help direct the developmental film is here, the cast with all who work behind the scene are ready for the shoot while the world is waiting for the ultimate product to premiere.
In the meantime, I can only join all other concerned citizens of our changing world to say welcome to President Trump even as many afraid of the future engage in anti-American demonstrations.

Ogbonna Nwuke sent in this piece from Port Harcourt, Rivers State

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SERG Urges Support for New Ohanaeze President-General, Warns Saboteurs

Posted on January 21, 2017. Filed under: Press Release |

SERG Urges Support for New Ohanaeze President-General, Warns Saboteurs

The South East Revival Group (SERG) has called on all Igbo leaders to support the new leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, urging those in court to withdraw their matter and embrace the Chief Ogbonnia Nwodo leadership in the interest of unity of purpose.

SERG spoke while reacting to the inaugural speech of the new president who extended a hand of fellowship to all Igbo sons and daughters to join his inclusive leadership.

Their reaction was contained in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu, warning saboteurs that the era of using Ohanaeze as a meal ticket is over for good.

“It is time the Igbos stopped any form of sabotage against each other because for the first time in decades, a true Igbo son has assumed the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo. Igbo culture and tradition flows through his veins. It is evident in his inaugural speech, which hid the nail on the head.

“He has demonstrated that he is a father to all Igbo speaking people of Nigeria by embracing MASSOB and IPOB unlike some Igbo leaders, who cannot speak out even in the face of oppression of the Igbo people”, the group said.

Igbo saboteurs, the group said “anyone who tries to sabotage Igbo course this time around will be doing so at a great cost because the people will not spare them. They will have the people of South East to contend with.

“And for those in court, in the interest of unity of purpose and oneness of Ndigbo, we appeal to them to withdraw their case and be part of this new pan-Igbo rebuilding process. No family going to war with a divided house will win and Ndigbo are no exception.

“The intimidating local and international credential of the new Ohanaeze President-General is what makes his leadership different from others. He is a man that has seen it all in public and private life and not one of those who will go cap-in-hand to Aso Rock to beg for money or contracts. He is a fulfilled Igbo son and deserves the support of all Igbo leaders”, the group stated.

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“Arrival” – The Multiple Award winning Sci-Fi Film breaking Barriers!

Posted on January 21, 2017. Filed under: Arts and Entertainment | Tags: |

…Storms cinemas in Nigeria from January 27th 2017

img_20170121_091252Imagine waking up one morning ready to start the day, then notice there’s a strange looking massive structure suspended in the sky. Curiosity lures you along the investigative path then you realize, yikes! It’s an alien ship! What!!! How did they sneak in? What do they want? Are we going to hear the famous words “Hello Earthlings”?

Hold on to your horses because Hollywood’s ace director Denis Villeneuve beautifully adapts Ted Chiang’s short story titled “Story of Your Life” to produce the blockbuster Sci-fi film titled Arrival”.

The film stars Amy Adams (one of the highest paid actresses in the world with two Golden Globe Awards, six BAFTA Awards and  five Academy Award nominations, starred in Batman v Superman:Dawn of Justice), Jeremy Renner (Captain America Civil war, Avengers :Age of Ultron), Forest Whitaker (Taken 3, Rouge One: A star wars story), Michael Stuhlbarg (Men in Black 3, Steve Jobs) and Tzi Ma (Rush hour 3).

In Arrival, twelve mysterious UFOs touch down across earth in random locations. No violent act is made against mankind ‘yet’ but people are freaking out and want to know why they’re here! They need a versatile linguist in the art to communicate with these aliens a.k.a Heptapod and get answers from them. The US military enlists expert linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to investigate these UFOs. They travel to one such landing site in rural Montana in search of the answers and what they discover will leave you speechless!

The film takes us on an emotional ride unveiling humanity, time, memory, and all that isimg_20170121_091553 worth fighting for on planet Earth. Arrival stands out and is in a class of its own with sixteen Awards, one hundred and twenty seven nominations including nine nominations at the British Academy Film Awards and two nominations at the Golden globe awards.

Even the hard hitting critics such as Robbie Collin have scored Arrival high saying it is “introspective, philosophical and existentially inclined – yet it unfolds in an unwavering tenor of chest-tightening excitement”.

It’s no doubt a fantastic, emotionally thrilling, mystery clad, action and suspense laced film.

Arrival is distributed by Silverbird Film Distribution WA and opens in cinemas across the Nation from January 27th 2017.


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Rumble in the Gambia

Posted on January 19, 2017. Filed under: Press Release |

Rumble in the Gambia

By Ogbonna Nwuke

The Gambia shouldn’t be at the centre of global attention. But it is. Thanks to the intransigence of a man who has been in power for too long, the tiny African country is in the spotlight.

At stake is the future of democracy in the Gambia and the refusal of Yahya Jammeh, one of the parties in the just concluded election to accept the verdict of the people.

There is equally the bruised ego of West African leaders whose spirited attempt to remedy the situation through diplomacy hit the rock.

This is in addition to what is seen as the interest of the international community over the future of that small African country and the safety of their nationals who reside or do business within those boundaries.

The Economic Community for West Africa came to be as a result of Nigeria’s quest to promote the unity as well as socio-political and economic ties of member countries.Within the west coast, tremendous progress is being recorded by democratic forces. In Nigeria and Ghana where multi-party democracy exists for instance, power has shifted from parties in power to parties in opposition.

Most West Africans as well as their counterparts all over the world see this evolving trend as a healthy development. This would further explain why ECOWAS nations, irked by an attempt to thwart the outcome of a popular election, are on the verge of employing force to throw out a despotic regime.Yahya Jammeh was expected to step aside on January 19th. To have done so, would mean in part that he had elected to comply with the dictates of his country’s constitution.

By yesterday, Senegalese troops had amassed at the border with the Gambia while elite Nigerian troops were airlifted to join the effort to safeguard the future of democracy in that part of the West African region. Ghana and other West African countries are expected to make similar contributions to the ECOMIG force.

Interestingly,  Nigeria which is the spearhead of ECOWAS is providing both sea and air power required to execute the peace enforcement plan.

From a historic standpoint, this is not the first time that Nigerian troops would be called upon to act in any part of the sub region, Africa or the world. Our troops have been in Lebanon. Our troops have served in Liberia. They have indeed been everywhere that Nigeria has been required to fulfill regional, continental and international obligations.

Now, they are out there in the Gambia as part of an ECOWAS plan to ensure that people like Yahya Jammeh and those who collaborate with them are not in any position to halt sweeping changes that democracy bringing across the world, especially in the face of growing globalisation.

The outgoing Gambian leader who is increasingly being isolated could have left office a hero if he had stuck to his earlier posture to accept the outcome of the elections.

Like most despots do, he chose rather to renege on his own words and shunned the flurry of diplomatic activity that was designed to give him a soft landing.

Yahya’s options, as things are at the moment, are narrowing as the clock ticks. He either has the chance to blink now, save his own life and quit gracefully, or face bullets and the deadly resolve of ECOWAS states.

Should he be captured when all this over, Jammeh would become a criminal to be tried under the laws of the Gambia or under international law for acts against humanity.

Students of foreign relations would most certainly agree that Nigeria is once again offering leadership in the sub continent through an articulated foreign policy perspective.

There was a time that our foreign relations objectives was second to none in Africa. Those were the days when our diplomacy guaranteed the freedom of Zimbabwe, Angola and South Africa.

They were days when we sent clear signals to those who collaborated with forces that were desirous to put down Africa that Nigeria as an emerging power would stop at nothing to safeguard the dignity of the black man.

Through the exhibition of mature diplomacy at this time, Nigeria is once again being looked upon to provide appropriate frameworks for joint action in solving African problems.

For President Mohammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s Commander-in-Chief who is certainly making these decisions, it is not easy to contemplate placing Nigeria troops in harm’s way.

When viewed in terms of efforts to protect the nation’s sphere of influence, and ensure the restoration of our battered image within the comity of nations, the decision taken by the C-in-C, the federal cabinet and the military high command is not in any way misplaced.

As the world waits to see what will happen, it is instructive to note that a message is clearly being sent that the will of the people as expressed through the ballot box remains the only respectable way by which any leader in West Africa or Africa can lay claim to power.

While we hope that Jammeh would give peace a chance and avoid a bloodbath, our heart is with our troops at this time.

We pray for their safe return at the end of a glorious outing which we hope would make the west coast politically and economically stable.

Ogbonna Nwuke sent in this piece from Port Harcourt, Rivers State

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Rivers State: Obuah Organizes Draught Competition In Memory Of Late Father

Posted on January 19, 2017. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

Rivers State: Obuah Organizes Draught Competition In Memory Of Late Father

Lovers of the game of Draught are in for a thrill as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Bro. Felix Obuah says arrangements have been concluded to stage a Draught Competition in honour of his late father, Pa Bethel Obuah who died on Tuesday, August 2, 2016, and would be buried soon.

Bro. Obuah who stated this through a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam said the competition is open to all (males, females), irrespective of their age and state of origin.

Obuah, who is also the Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA), said the preliminary edition of the competition would hold on the 1st of March, 2017, while the grand finale would hold on the 2nd of March, 2017.

The sports loving PDP boss, who is the Sole Sponsor of Nigerian National Football League (NNFL) Side, Go-Round Football Club of Omoku, revealed that the competition would be tagged ‘Ononokono Memorial Draught Competition’, adding that the tag represents his late father’s title as an undisputed champion among the draught playing community in his native Ogbaland.

Consequently, the Rivers PDP Chairman who also sponsored the first Rivers State Athletics Competition among Secondary Schools in Rivers State is calling on interested participants to indicate their interest and register for the competition which he said carries a ‘mouth watering’ cash prize.

Bro. Obuah further disclosed that the Competition would be an annual event.


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Delta State has lost a great human asset – Hon. Monday

Posted on January 19, 2017. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

Delta State has lost a great human asset – Hon. Monday

The death of Senator Francis Spanner Okpozo has been described as a monumental loss to Nigeria.

“I have learned with great sadness of the death of Third Republic Senator, Chief Francis Spanner Okpozo” the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Monday Ovwigho Igbuya said in Asaba.

The speaker who remembered the accomplishments of Okpozo in the country thanked God for the things he did to make Nigeria a better place.

Specifically, Igbuya highlighted the role of Okpozo in the development of the Niger Delta region.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Igbuya said the late senator was a great man and an amazing leader.

“Nigeria has lost a patriot. Senator Francis Okpozo was more than an illustrious son of Isoko land. He was a politician among politicians. He will be greatly missed” the statement said.

Senator Okpozo, one of the most articulate and ebullient politicians to have emerged from Isoko land was a member of the Third Republic Senate. He represented Delta South Senatorial District on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He was deputy speaker of the defunct Bendel State House of Assembly under the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

“Senator Francis Okpozo was an outstanding politician and a law-maker per excellence” the speaker said.

He prayed for the peaceful repose of his soul.

Senator Okpozo will be buried on Friday, February 17, 2017 in Ozoro, Isoko North Local Government Area.



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