Archive for February, 2018

South-South leaders to Oyegun’s critics; Do not quake or doubt about APC’s victory in 2019

Posted on February 23, 2018. Filed under: Press Release |

 

South-South leaders on Thursday described the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun as one of the splendid examples of African politics.

“Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is very democratic in his way of life. He is working hard to entrench internal democracy, the rule of law and respect for human dignity in the ruling party” the leaders said.

They also condemned the Vice Chairman of APC Central Senatorial District, Cross River State, Hon Cletus Obun for his careless statements, warning him to be mindful of his actions.

“Oyegun is not fueling crisis in APC, Cross River Chapter” the leaders insist.

At a meeting in Calabar, the leaders appealed to Oyegun not to be deflected from his goal because of the actions of some irresponsible elements.

“Men and women without appreciation for the contribution of Oyegun to the growth of the ruling party are content to criticize this honest politician without deep thought about his leadership style and the onerous duty of managing a ruling party.”

The leaders praised Oyegun for showing Nigerians, particularly APC members the way to true democracy.

“The anti-Oyegun protesters blundered when they decided to describe the national chairman as a big threat to Buhari’s second term agenda. Most of Oyegun’s critics are poorly informed about the system of party government in Nigeria. Timi Frank, Charles Idahosa and others are only interested in petty and inglorious issues” the leaders said.

A statement by the chairman of South- South Front (SSF), Chief John Harry said the leaders commended the national chairman of the ruling party for giving worthy account of himself, shaping the course of Nigeria’s history, advancing the interests of APC members, resisting forces which are inconsistent with democratic principles and inculcating in APC members a sense of oneness.

“Let Oyegun be judged fairly. APC is better organized than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP) and others. Even acknowledged authorities in the field of politics and government recognize the efforts of Odigie-Oyegun in the unity and progress of the ruling party.”

The leaders urged critics of the national chairman to stop beating a tom-tom drum of alleged corruption and threat to Buhari’s second term bid.

“In any political society, there must be conflict of views and clash of opinions on a large range of issues. APC is a key to the solution of the Nigerian problem. The APC policy is the best suited for the political advancement of Nigeria. Chief Odigie-Oyegun is working vigorously for the success of the ruling party.” the leaders said.

“The eyes of the world are on APC. Let us not quake or doubt about APC winning the 2019 general elections” the leaders added.

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Senatorial Aspirant offers solutions in reclaiming suppose Kogi Oil Well

Posted on February 23, 2018. Filed under: news |

Senatorial Aspirant offers solutions in reclaiming suppose Kogi Oil Well

By Shaibu Stephen Ojate

A America base and Kogi born oil and gas management expert, Abdullahi Okino has tasked Kogi State government to put aggressive step in recovering suppose Ibaji oil well ceded to Anambra State few years ago.

Honourable Abdullahi Okino, who is a Senatorial Aspirant in Kogi Central, made the call while addressing cross section of Journalists in Abuja yesterday. He noted that the fight to reclaim Kogi Oil well is not too late yet as something can still be done to correct the injustice done to the people of Kogi State.

He added that the unfair treatment meted out to the people of Kogi State on the issue of suppose Kogi Oil well prompted him to show interest in politics with a view to deploy his verse experience in Oil and Gas in correcting the wrong.

His words: ‘’Sometimes, we need people that are well experienced to handle issue of this nature, just like I have said; I have MBA in Oil and Gas Management. I know the integrity of Oil and Gas business and when I become a Senator, I know where to hit, what to say and also know what to do to correct this anomaly.’’

“The Anambra basin that has oil well cut across four States. Kogi State, Anambra, Delta and Imo State of which Kogi State has about 53% of the area. There are many physical evidences to show that the oil exploration by the Shell, Agip and others are done in Kogi State land. Now what Kogi State should do is to independently investigate the place and keep the data as against what the federal government is going to do. As it is now, Federal government is taking long year to resolve State problem.”

Okino hinted that the unilateral decision of the former President, Goodluck Jonathan in ceding Kogi Oil well to Anambra State was responsible for the challenges facing Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s administration in the State.

He maintained that Kogi State would have joined the league of oil producing State receiving 13% Oil derivation and this would have helped Bello led administration in getting enough fund to carry on the task of governance in the State.

“What comes to Kogi State as federal allocation in not enough and that is why Governor Bello is having little challenges in prompt and regular salary payment to Workers”, he said.

Commenting on why he decided to join politics than following the foot path of Aliko Dangote who only concentrated himself in Business and make his impacts felt by Nigerians in all angles.

He responded: “being an entrepreneur is to make profits or maximize profits for yourself and that is selfishness. We are talking about the masses. Having register and encounter success in business like Dangote and considering what is happening in our country, I expect him to replicate the success in the politics scene. “That is exactly what I want to do, he adde.”

More also, when our reporter demanded to know why he much emphasis on issues confronting Kogi East Senatorial District than Kogi Central he is planning to represent as there is Senator from the area who suppose to front such courses, he has these to say.

“The Oil in Kogi East is a National issue. As a citizen of this country, we need to take the right approach to solve a national problem. What I can see now is that just delay is just denied. This is taking so long to resolve this problem.”

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Ronald Roosdorp’s visit, a good omen, says Emir

Posted on February 21, 2018. Filed under: Press Release |

Ronald Roosdorp’s visit, a good omen, says Emir

The Emir of Azara in Nasarawa State, Dr. Kabiru Musa Ibrahim on Tuesday took a hard look at the visit of the Voluntary Principles Initiative steering committee to Eggon Nasarawa, declaring it another benchmark in the history of Nigeria.

The monarch expressed satisfaction with the visit.

“We are extremely happy today. Your visit is a blessing. It is a good development that is capable of yielding a beneficial outcome” the Emir said when Ronald Roosdorp and other stakeholders of the Voluntary Principles Initiative visited his palace.

The VPI delegation earlier visited a mining site in Eggon Local Government of Nasarawa State.

The paramount ruler, who described Nasarawa State as peaceful and the people friendly, urged foreign investors to invest in the state, particularly the mining industry.

“The business environment is very good” he said.

In his remarks, Roosdorp said that the Voluntary Principles Initiative was designed by multi-stakeholders to give practical guidelines on ways to prevent violence in the extractive industry.

“The initiative is targeted at promoting human rights through prevention of violence in the extractive industry. Our objective is to partner with government on ways to prevent security risks in the extractive industry, encourage capacity training, creation of employment opportunities and attract foreign investments”.

He urged governments and companies to place premium on security dialogue and cooperation.

“It will help to create awareness on the need for engaging host communities and the extractive industry in dialogue” he said.

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Save Lagos Group drags EFCC officials before Magu over harassment of businessman

Posted on February 21, 2018. Filed under: Press Release |

Save Lagos Group drags EFCC officials before Magu over harassment of businessman

A civil right organisation, Save Lagos Group (SLG) has dragged some personnel of the Economic, Financial and other Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu accusing them of unduly harassing a Lagos based businessman, Albert Abani Uduma.

In a petition dated Monday 5th of February 2018, the group accused some staff members of the commission of undue bias in a case involving Uduma’s company, Global Investment and Communications Ltd. and a bank First City Monument Bank over a financial transaction that is a subject of litigation in the law court.

In a statement issued on Monday by the Convener of the Save Lagos Group, Comrade Adeniyi A. Sulaiman, the civil rights organization accused the EFCC operatives of undue harassment on the prompting of the bank with the aim of obtaining money from Uduma unlawfully.

According to the SLG, the case between the bank and Uduma is simply a civil one which is pending before the law courts but some operatives of the EFCC such as the Zonal Head in charge of Okotie-Eboh office, Mr. Akaninyene Ezima using to extract illegal money from Uduma.

Sulaiman stated that Ezima is using an operative one Abubakar to harass Uduma with the purpose to obtain money or in the worst scenario unlawfully jail him.

“We are worried by the unlawful antics of Ezima who is well known to us. We had an encounter with him while he was the Zonal Head in charge of Ibadan office located at 16a, Reverend Oyebode Crescent, Iyaganku area, Ibadan, Oyo State capital. We engaged him on a number of occasions when we led the Civil Societies Coalition for Emancipation of Osun State (CSCEOS).” Sulaiman stated.

He accused Ezima specifically of frustrating moves to scrutinize the financial dealings of the Osun State Government under the leadership of Mr. Rauf Aregbesola whom they have had to accuse of sundry financial malpractices in the running of the state.

Commenting on his ordeal in the hands of the bank and the EFCC, Uduma accused the bank of plot to wind him up of a banking transaction by converting his assets worth N200m but collaterised to about N150m in a loan facility.

“There is an effort to forcefully convert my assets by the officials of FCMB who have refused to be transparent in the commercial transactions that I have with them. My pain is that they have continued to use the EFCC as a tool to achieve their aim,” Uduma stated.

On the scope of transaction between him and FCMB branch located at 17a, Tinubu Street, Primrose Tower, Lagos, Uduma said, “I borrowed a trading facility worth N120m from the bank with the leeway to trade with N80m which I have been doing but to my surprise, I was called by the bank officials who asked that I pay my facility or that my assets be sold at ridiculous amount, which I objected to.

“I offered to sell the properties myself, which they turned down hence I requested for a comprehensive statements on my four accounts in the bank for reconciliatory purposes which they also turned down prompting me sue the bank. To my surprise, the bank officials resorted to self help my making false claim against me before the EFCC.”

A visibly broken Uduma stated that the Zonal Director of the EFCC rather than be persuaded to see the case as a civil one have been utilizing his operatives, particularly, one Abubakar to harass him, saying he was even detained briefly before being left off the hook.

According to him, Ezima had once ordered his detention at the Okotie-Eboh office of the commission after several summonses which he had honoured in the past despite the fact that the case between his firm and the FCMB is currently pending before a Lagos High Court 40 sitting in Igbosere, Lagos marked suit LD/844/CMW/2015 before Hon. Justice L.A.F Oluyemi (Mrs).

Sulaiman added that the suit has been adjourned to Tuesday and Wednesday April 10th and 11th, 2018 for further hearing and determination.

Commenting further on the development, Sulaiman added that “The laws and the courts are made for the assurance of peace, order and good governance in the country, and for the society in general, which is totally and absolutely beyond the capacity of anybody including law enforcement agents and any anti-graft bodies or agencies; law, it is meant to serve the ends of justice and the court is the last arbiter of any sensible living human being-(Per Awogu JCA in University of Calabar vs Epraim (1993) (1) NWLR (Pt 271 at 551 at 566).”

He added that “Finally, EFCC must follow the rule of law in its engagement with the people to avoid putting themselves against the court and to avoid contempt or else, we will not hesitate to organize a clamorous political struggle against any lawless anti-graft agency that is not willing the rule of law and court proceedings.

“This principle applies to Uduma, we are calling on the EFCC to leave him alone pending the determination of the suit by the court, being a lawful citizen whose right is being infringed upon. We want the Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu to call his men to order or else the commission will incur the wrath of the Nigerian masses through our Operation ‘STOP NONSENCE,” Sulaiman added. 

Signed 

Comrade Adeniyi A. Sulaiman

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ROOSDORP Speaks on VPI Steering Committee Visit, Lauds Nigerian Authorities

Posted on February 19, 2018. Filed under: news |

ROOSDORP Speaks on VPI Steering Committee Visit, Lauds Nigerian Authorities

Current chair of the Voluntary Principles Initiative, Mr. Ronald Roosdorp said in Abuja on Saturday that the Nigerian Authorities showed great interest in the initiative.

“This field trip shows how the security in the mining and oil industry could be increased when companies, civil society and government cooperate together” he told news men in Abuja.

Roosdorp who spoke on the visit of the initiative’s steering committee to Nigeria said trust building through discussion was the fastest way to improve security.

“Trust building through discussion is the fastest way to improve security and also benefits local employment and foreign investment.”

Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is a multi-stakeholder initiative which espouses a set of principles designed to guide extractive companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respects for human rights.

Diligent implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights holds numerous potential benefits for Nigeria including peace-building; conflict prevention; enhanced governance of the extractive sector, promotion and protection of human rights; improving dialogue, cordiality, collaboration and problem-solving amongst stakeholders in the extractive sector with respect to issues of security and human rights.

In addition, it has the potential to contribute to an extractive sector that is conducive to trade and investment; where extractive companies can operate maximally, which would in turn enable the Nigerian government optimally generate revenues which can be deployed towards promoting the welfare of the nation and actualizing other national objectives.

The VPI is also an immensely useful tool for attaining the objectives of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, specifically in the area of security and human rights.

Countries that are signatories to the VPI include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ghana, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Signatory extractive companies include: Seven Energy, Total, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Statoil, Shell, Hess Corporation, Tullow Oil, Rio Tinto, British Petroleum; Anglo American, PanAust, ConocoPhillips, Goldcorp, Hess Corporation, Repsol, Barrick Gold Corporation, Glencore and BHP Billiton.

NGO signatories to the VPI include Lite Africa, COMPPART, International Alert, Search for Common Ground, Pact and The Fund for Peace.

The international observers participating in the VPI include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Council on Mining and Metals; Colombian Mining and Energy Committee on Security and Human Rights; The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association; Institute for Human Rights and Business; International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA)

FG to VPI delegation: We’ll take decision on observer status soon

In a related development, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami Friday expressed deep appreciation to the steering committee of the Voluntary Principles Initiative for prioritizing and recommending Nigeria as one of the countries to be considered for free subscription at the plenary in March 2018 at Washington D.C, United States.

He also announced that Nigeria would soon take a decision on her observer status.

“In due course, the nation will take a decision to evaluate her observer status” Malami said during the visit of the VPI delegation to the Ministry of Justice.

Represented by the Director, Legal Drafting, Mamman Hamzat Takir, Malami assured the delegation of the commitment of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to the enthronement of the rule of law and the delivery of fair and equitable justice to all Nigerians, foreigners and investors without fear or favour as they carry on business in a safe condition.

“Considering the need for the communal cooperation and coordination of security and human rights activities in the extractive sector, it has become increasingly necessary to come together to appraise the efforts at both the government, corporate and non-governmental organizations levels to achieve a safe, friendly, secured, business and human rights compliant environment. This visit therefore, would give us the opportunity to learn from each other, share ideas and identify roadmaps that would facilitate a justice system that meets the hopes and aspirations of our citizens particularly in the extractive zones” he said.

The Minister assured that the Justice Ministry would stick to its role of checking and balancing the supremacy of the laws of the land and sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“As you are aware, the Federal Ministry of Justice is the legal institution of Government to create the necessary synergy between the Federal Government, corporate bodies and non-governmental organizations as pillars of the Voluntary Principles Initiative.”

Earlier, the current chair of the Voluntary Principles Initiative, Mr. Ronald Roosdorp informed top officials of the ministry of the benefits that would accrue to Nigeria as a signatory to the VPI.

“It is not an instrument or a binding law. It is to reduce security risk in the attractive industry through dialogue and cooperation. It is also to improve things on ground and assist governments, companies and communities in achieving their goals” he said.

Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is a multi-stakeholder initiative which espouses a set of principles designed to guide extractive companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respects for human rights.

Diligent implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights holds numerous potential benefits for Nigeria including peace-building; conflict prevention; enhanced governance of the extractive sector, promotion and protection of human rights; improving dialogue, cordiality, collaboration and problem-solving amongst stakeholders in the extractive sector with respect to issues of security and human rights.

In addition, it has the potential to contribute to an extractive sector that is conducive to trade and investment; where extractive companies can operate maximally, which would in turn enable the Nigerian government optimally generate revenues which can be deployed towards promoting the welfare of the nation and actualizing other national objectives.

The VPI is also an immensely useful tool for attaining the objectives of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, specifically in the area of security and human rights.

Countries that are signatories to the VPI include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ghana, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Signatory extractive companies include: Seven Energy, Total, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Statoil, Shell, Hess Corporation, Tullow Oil, Rio Tinto, British Petroleum; Anglo American, PanAust, ConocoPhillips, Goldcorp, Hess Corporation, Repsol, Barrick Gold Corporation, Glencore and BHP Billiton.

NGO signatories to the VPI include Lite Africa, COMPPART, International Alert, Search for Common Ground, Pact and The Fund for Peace.

The international observers participating in the VPI include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Council on Mining and Metals; Colombian Mining and Energy Committee on Security and Human Rights; The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), International Petroleum Indust1ry Environmental Conservation Association; Institute for Human Rights and Business; International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA)

NGOs list ways to reverse Nigeria’s negative image

Similarly, non-governmental organizations in Nigeria weekend urged law enforcement agencies to integrate the voluntary principles in their training programmes, mobilization and deployment of personnel to security duties in critical national assets in the oil, gas and mining sector as this will guarantee that rights of local communities will be respected.

They also appealed to government agencies, particularly those responsible for registering, licensing and regulating private security firms to integrate human rights observance as a precondition as this will go along in entrenching core human rights values and the culture of respecting the dignity of the human person in the country.

At a world press conference in Abuja, Executive Director, Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE), Mr. Joel Bisina said the launch of the In-country implementation pilot group and the visit of the steering committee delegation to Nigeria remained glorious achievements of the Voluntary Principles Initiative.

Attention, the LITE executive director said, was focused on increasing knowledge base through training, dialogues and consultative meetings on the VPs at the highest level of government.

“The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is anchored on three pillars. That is the Government Pillar, The Corporate Pillar and the NGO pillar respectively. As a multi-stakeholders initiative, the Voluntary Principles provide good sets of guidelines to companies in deploying security personnel to their facilities in ways that respects the rights of the communities in which they operate” he said.

Besides, he emphasized the role of NGO pillars in facilitating confident building dialogue when allegations of VPs non-adherence occur.

“NGO pillars are helping the government and the corporate pillars to identify areas that need improvement related to the VPs, support the development and roll out tools to improve implementation as well encourage participation in the implementation of the principles.

Bisina listed working singularly and collaboratively to advance and increase knowledge base in the country over the years as a major achievement of NGO pillar in Nigeria.

“The launch of the In-country implementation pilot group has further strengthened these efforts in bringing the pillars to a common room where they discuss security and human rights challenges creatively and collaboratively. This is clear departure from the past where it was a blaming and name calling game. The message is now ‘knowing and showing’ rather ‘them against us’ or ‘we against them’ this changing narrative underscore the power of the voluntary Principles in promoting consultations and dialogues among stakeholders in the extractive and mining sector through joint-problem solving.”

He urged the Federal government to sign-on to the voluntary principles.

“The visit of the steering committee delegation to Nigeria this week further reinforces the work the In-country Implementation Working Group has been doing, in bringing greater visibility to the VPs at a very high level of government. It will be a great outcome for the country to sign-on to the VPs” he said.

Credit:  Ebireri Henry Ovie

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Sole Administrator of RIWAMA, Bro. Felix Obuah Set to Meet All Service Providers

Posted on February 19, 2018. Filed under: Press Release |

Sole Administrator of RIWAMA, Bro. Felix Obuah Set to Meet All Service Providers

As part of concerted efforts by the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) to improve on the prevailing cleanliness of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and its environs, the Sole Administrator of RIWAMA, Bro. Felix Obuah will on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at 11am, meet with all Service Providers working with the Agency.

A statement signed by Bro. Obuah’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam enjoined all Service Providers working with the Agency to attend the meeting without fail.

The RIWAMA Sole Administrator said it is in the best interest of all the Service Providers to honour the meeting as the Agency would not take it kindly with those who fail to attend. 

Bro. Obuah gave the assurance that the Agency remains determined in its quest to return Rivers State to its glorious status and Port Harcourt, the State capital as Garden City, adding that the full support and commitment of Service Providers is pivotal in achieving that objective.

Signed:

 

 

Jerry Needam

Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to

Bro. Felix Obuah, Sole Administrator,

Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA),

 

Monday, February 19, 2018.

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​​We Need to Join the Dentist Pull out that Bad Tooth – Princewill

Posted on February 15, 2018. Filed under: Interview |


​A Chieftain of the APC, the governorship candidate of the then Action Congress (AC) in Rivers State in 2007 who also contested for same office in 2015, Prince Tonye Princewill, in this interview with select journalists speaks on the need to support President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 Presidential election.

Nigerians were taken aback when you decided to leave Labour Party to join the APC. What actually informed that decision?

Common sense. For me, it was probably one of the easiest political decisions that I have ever made so I can’t imagine why anyone will be taken aback. I believe that all politics is local. And therefore, when you’re playing politics or doing politics or observing politics, you have to look first at your local environment. I don’t understand why so many people focus on national and international politics, and completely forget their local politics. To me, local politics is what matters the most, it isn’t that I am downplaying all other politics, but local politics matters most. So, what is the situation in Rivers State? We have a governor who has gone wild and we have an opposition that was not giving him the kind of opposition he deserves.

My opinion was that, the opposition was still disjointed. We have an APC formidable as it is, we have a Labour party and we have other parties, and I thought to myself, we are all opposed to PDP and Wike, but our inability to work together is working in his favour. With my passion, the organisational skills of many of the APC members and the commitment that we all have to free the state, then all we need as like minds is to have an arrangement to join forces. Because if we don’t join forces, it will make Wike stronger.

I have said that we are not God, so, we cannot say we will definitely remove PDP. But by God, we are going to at least improve them. If in the process we are able to remove them, then may His name be praised. To sit back and do nothing, or leave the fight for APC alone, that is not an option.

But you now find yourself being in the same platform with the likes of Magnus Abe, Amaechi who is seen as the leader of the party in the state now, considering the fact that you people had all sort of political battles in the past. How do you reconcile yourself with these people? Do you think you are comfortable being in the same platform with somebody like Rotimi Amaechi?

Yes, I am. Let’s not make any mistake about it. Even good friends have disagreements. I am a lot more comfortable with the APC platform than I could ever been in the PDP platform. I have an affinity to APC from my days, initial days in Action Congress, of course as the pioneer Action Congress governorship candidate in 2007. So, for me, as AC metamorphosed into the APC, I still have many friends there. The difference between the political parties is not really about anything more than the individuals within it. Especially the leaders. It is there they are different. So, if you are looking for leadership, go to the top of the party, you will see what type of party to talk about. So Amaechi for me is one million times better than Wike. Does he have faults, of course? We all do. Nobody is perfect, even I have my own issues, but the reality is, if you are looking to play politics, Amaechi is one million times, a better option than Wike. The likes of Magnus Abe, Dakuku Peterside, they are all big names but beside them and beneath them, there are so many other good people who may not be as well known to the national media, but they are just as effective and so I know that the APC team have the capacity to move the state forward.

You aren’t a rookie in politics, having been the governorship candidate of Action Congress and the Labour Party in Rivers state. Do you think your decision to move to APC was well thought out? I am asking this, against the backdrop of the perception that the average south-south person doesn’t want to associate with the party.

The reason it isn’t seen to be strong in the south-south is that the other party was in power in 2015 and rigged the election in favour of themselves. I think in 2019 we will get a clearer picture of who amongst us is truly in power. I never believe that principle that a region or state is owned by a particular party. I have never believed in that concept at all. Many times in our region we don’t really have elections so to assume that the peoples votes is what counted to put them in that place, I think is a misnormer. There are some things we just deceive ourselves about as if we don’t know the truth. I am not fooled by that script. I know that for instance in Rivers state in 2015 there was no election. The Supreme Court can say what it must, but if you go back home and you are in your bedroom and somebody outside proceeds to tell you that the colour of your green bed sheet is red, you will smile, because you know the truth.

As far as I am concerned, free and fair elections and the decision of the people in the state have been missing. Hopefully in 2019, we will get a lot closer to reality and we will see whether PDP is truly on the ground.
But after the 2015 general elections, we have had senatorial elections in Rivers and PDP still won overwhelmingly. Does that not reinforce the fact that it is in charge there?

Maybe you don’t have the full picture so let me remind you that thanks to the APC, Sen. Magnus Abe won and he is in Senate today. So PDP was defeated. There are many other examples. The reality of it is that in 2015, we had a 419 election in Rivers state that was supervised by the security agencies and INEC on behalf of PDP. That is why they are where they are. Let us see what will happen in 2019. Let us see whether Wike will come out and deliver PDP in Rivers state. By then you can come and ask me these questions again.

You sound so confident that APC is formidable in Rivers but there has been intractable crisis which could undermine efforts to make it a potent force against the ruling PDP. An example is the cold war between Senator Magnus Abe and Rotimi Amaechi Is that not a setback for the APC?

No, I won’t describe the situation as a setback at all. I think that when you see people pushing and fighting, which is often common in politics, it is because there is value in what they are pushing and fighting for. I think keen observers know that APC is well placed to win the 2019 elections.

In Rivers therefore, there is a genuine fight for that ticket. Admittedly Magnus Abe might have shot his gun too early, that’s my opinion, but he is well within his rights to demand and push for the position. If it wasn’t viable, if it wasn’t valuable, he wouldn’t. But in the context of crisis I want to remind you that based on my little experience of having been involved in both parties, I can tell you that this isn’t a crisis. If anything, this is a mini display of friction. Why do I say that? It is because I have seen crisis in political parties in the fight for a ticket. In 2007, I fought for the ticket of AC against Sergeant Awuse and I know what crisis means. When in 2015, we fought for the ticket of PDP in Rivers, I know what crisis was. This isn’t a crisis; this is simply a man opting to push for a governorship ticket. I think Magnus may have wanted an early endorsement from Amaechi, but he refused to give it to him and so the man has decided to pursue his ambition regardless. I don’t see that as a crisis. Ultimately in Rivers state, APC will choose a candidate and everybody will rally behind that candidate. That’s just the way we work. Amaechi isn’t going to come and point and say, this is the person. No. Leaders of the party at different levels will sit down and a decision will be taken and we will all rally round that decision. At the end of the day, we will go forward and move to a general election. If Wike is unfortunate to present himself, then he will face the APC candidate. Simple.

You have said there is no crisis but the perception out there is that Amaechi is the one bullying the others to fall in line (cuts in)

Bully who? I am a chieftain of the party and I don’t see Amaechi bullying anyone. He is a democrat. He delegates. That is how Wike got his freedom to scheme. Some people say the Hon Minister is stubborn and all that. What they call obstinacy is because at the end of the day he takes a position and he stands by it. But it is often a principled position; for the greater good, if you watch, you will see. My argument has always been that we shouldn’t impose candidate. Let a candidate emerge and that’s also what Amaechi has committed himself to. We have all committed ourselves to that. If at the end of the day, Magnus Abe emerges, then we will all support him. The reality is that there will be a primary that will be transparent and a candidate will emerge. So this talk about bullying is being bandied by people that don’t like Amaechi. It is a little too early to start discussing who will be the candidate of APC in 2019. I understand that in the media, good news is not news, so where there is no crisis, it will be sought, even if it is friction. There is a process for choosing candidate and that process will be followed. In politics, people will be amazed about how seemingly serious crisis are resolved and you see politicians enter the room, sit down and discuss and people will be saying, look at these people that were fighting. Tomorrow, they see them talking and laughing. Political crisis is many times, a disagreement played up in the media to mean something else. They enter the house, settle and discuss. At the South-south meeting the other day, I saw Amaechi and Magnus Abe discussing. It isn’t a crisis; there is a disagreement in timing and approach. Magnus has shown he doesn’t need Amaechi’s support, he is a serving Senator. Power belongs to God.

If you insist there is no crisis, how come the national secretariat of the party recently summoned them?

Well, it is perfectly legitimate to see two friends in disagreement in mediation to come together. I am not aware that they were summoned, but if the party HQ did, it isn’t out of place.

The security challenge in the state has earned itself the name, Rivers of Blood.Why does it appear insurmountable?

I think it is already being tackled. Of course, in the past few weeks a lot of progress has been made when the federal government decided to take charge. Unfortunately for our state we have a governor who entered by violence and has continued to condone violence. Maybe he cannot address the matter effectively, because his hands of course are tied. We hope and we pray that Rivers people will learn from mistakes of the past and that all politicians will learn that this kind of violence, this kind of association will not do us any good. I want to think that the signal has been sent by the killing of leader of the gang… and the taming of his team. It will be a message to everybody else that there is only one law and that’s the law of Nigeria and we won’t tolerate any other alternative laws in the land. If that message is heeded, I think there will be peace. But don’t let us lose sight of the fact that the administration entered by violence and the boys that they used have been left largely unattended. Therefore, they will seek to keep their heads above water. As best as they can. It is natural.

You aren’t comfortable with the administration in Rivers but a lot of people are quick to applaud his developmental strides in the state. What really do you have against him?

You are right when you say I am uncomfortable about him. I think, to put it diplomatically, I think he is the worst governor ever in Nigeria, not to talk of in Rivers state. You must compare resources versus development. You have to compare what he has achieved, compared to what he has had. You will then understand that he is building nothing. He believes, and he may be right, that everybody has a price, so he can pay for image, he can pay for perception and he can pay pay pay his way through anything. He has a lot of reasons to think it, having earned multiple awards for what I am not sure of. When you talk, people say you are bitter because you didn’t win the election.
I am not talking about just my opinion but the opinions across the length and breadth of the state. Wike is a one-man show. This man hoarded the budget for 3 years and everybody was quiet as if it was right. Now that the opposition has come together and found its voice, he is sweating. Just last week, he signed the 2018 budget into law, the last of his peers to do so. We simply haven’t seen anything like this before. On the security angle and the economic angle, people are leaving the state.

Is that peculiar to Rivers?

They are going somewhere else, they aren’t leaving the country. They are leaving Rivers to go elsewhere and we are losing business and jobs. To my utter surprise, people are leaving Rivers for Imo to do business. I don’t know of anybody in his right mind that will look at Wike and say he is developing Rivers. But he was not put there to develop the state. The people who put him there are not statesmen or stateswomen. They put him there for the few, not the many.

Finally, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in his special letter gave a damning verdict on Buhari administration, the PDP and the APC. He said the two dominant parties lack the capacity to bring the desired change Nigerians are craving for. What is your reaction?

You know while some people were battling as to their response to the letter, Lai Mohammed gave an eloquent reply which I want to stand by. I don’t want to believe that our generation should start exchanging words with people of Obasanjo’s generation. He has ventilated his views, the government has responded and I think we should leave it at that. What amazes me though is that as damning as the letter was to PDP, they were quick to clap, forgetting that they too were also indicted. It just tells you the ineptitude in the system that they preside over. That they were actually clapping for Obasanjo while he decimated them. They were so busy, happy that APC was being attacked that they didn’t even realize that they were being attacked as well. It reminds me of Solomon and the two women. Only patriots are sober when the future of our children is at stake.

Generality of Nigerians aren’t comfortable with President Buhari tardiness in responding to issues of urgent national importance, which almost borders on complacency. Sincerely, aren’t you disturbed with that attitude, considering the enormity of the challenges facing the nation?

Look, I think people sometimes forget where we we’re coming from and more importantly they also forget that where we need to go also requires a lot of effort. Nigeria has been on the wrong track for a long time.
Like a tanker that is in the water, trying to turn, it will take an amazing effort to reverse the current trend. Now, did our party make promises that were unrealistic? Yes, we did. Either through enthusiasm or a lack of appreciation of the enormity of the problems on ground. But I think we should ask ourselves this question. Do they really have the intention to move the country forward? I think the answer is yes. The capacity might have been a problem, but slowly it is being built. For me, I am also a business man and so I asked myself, how can Nigeria continue like this. Things need to be done differently and so when somebody comes and tries to make a difference, do you think it is going to be easy at the beginning? No. if you have a bad tooth and somebody wants to pull it out the pain that you are going through is so that you can have less stress tomorrow. So, the pain that we are going through is so that we can place the country on a sound footing. Because of what the dentist will do to you, will say you will never vote for a dentist? Then you will continue to wallow in that pain until it slowly and eventually kills you. Let us go through that pain now so that we can have a brighter future tomorrow.
If Buhari was strictly concerned about the next election, he will avoid some of these hard decisions. There are things he could have done that have fast, quick solutions but they may not be lasting or sustainable. The man has decided that he is going to do what is lasting and sustainable as a result of that, electorally he is taking a hit. But I am looking for statesmen; I am not looking for politicians to lead me. That’s my position and I believe that we should recognize that and join the dentist to help pull out that bad tooth. I think Nigerians have two choices: to go back to the old ways of doing business and the other one is to go through this pain. Ultimately most economists are not disagreeing that this path is going to set us on a better platform. Coming from a state that is highest on the misery index, I know the real damage a leader can cause. Under Buhari Nigeria will be better positioned. Trust me. That to me is the message.

 

 

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MOSOP Warn Shell Against Attempt to Forcefully Resume Production in Ogoniland

Posted on February 14, 2018. Filed under: Press Release |

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) wishes to state its displeasure over an attempt by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited to forcefully resume oil production in Ogoniland.

We state unequivocally that the actions of Shell are unacceptable to the Ogoni people. We note that Shell and its allies are still Persona Non Grata in Ogoniland and consequently, any attempt to forcefully resume production in Ogoni without properly negotiating with all stakeholders will surely be resisted by the Ogoni people and could lead to a breakdown of the peace and possible military crackdown as usual.

MOSOP therefore demand the immediate withdrawal of all equipment belonging to Shell in Ogoniland.

We still hold Shell responsible for the killing of our leaders 1994, 1995 and the subsequent persecution of our people which led to the death of over 4,000 others between 1993 and 1999.

We maintain that Shell or any of its allies are not wanted in Ogoniland. We call on the Ogoni people to stand against Shell in any form they manifest, be it Belema Oil Producing Nigeria Limited, Robo Michael, NPDC or in any form they may choose to disguise.

We urge the Nigerian government to put an end to this continuous harassment of our people over oil and address our demands which are clearly stated in the Ogoni Bill of Rights and in particular, we demand the release of funds for the cleanup of our devastated environment.

Signed:

Fegalo Nsuke

Publicity Secretary

MOSOP

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NDCBN Declares Rivers State 2016 & 2017 Budget Wanted

Posted on February 14, 2018. Filed under: Press Release |

….Places N500, 000 Bounty

“If we agree that Democracy is a government of the people, for the people and by the people, it means that openness, transparency and accountability must be its cardinal pillars.”

The above was the position of an advocacy group that goes by the name “Niger Delta Citizens Budget Network (NDCBN)” in an online statement sent to the fourth estate of the realm by Mr. Phillip Akah, NDCBN Communication’s Officer

Text of the statement reads thus: “That is what we advocate at Niger Delta Citizens Budget Network (NDCBN). NDCBN is composed of a network of Civil Society Organizations, individuals and experts working in the areas of good governance, open budget, transparency and accountability in States within the Niger Delta Region, known for their rich oil mineral deposits, environmental challenges and the resultant community conflicts.

“On this Network, we carry out Budget Analysis and Advocacy, Project Monitoring and Evaluation; and build the capacity of communities in States within the Niger Delta Region through Town Halls and Round Tables, to participate in the budgeting and policy formation processes. We have been doing the above for a decade now on an annual basis.

“Sadly, our work has been hampered since 2016 by the authoritarian refusal of the Rivers State Government to allow anyone access to a copy of the River State Budget/Appropriation Acts of 2016 and 2017. All entreaties from our members in an attempt to get a copy of both Budget documents for two consecutive years have been rebuffed repeatedly in the most undemocratic manner. This is most unfortunate and totally unacceptable.

“Let us make it abundantly clear that the Budget of a state government, otherwise called the Appropriation Act is an Act of Parliament. Hence, it is a public document that must not only be readily available, but published promptly.

“As a Citizens Group, we frown at this terrible development and consider it a coup against the good citizens and people who reside in Rivers State. This is a blatant rape of our democracy and should not be allowed to continue. It is the sacred duty of all citizens to demand for accountability from all governments, officials and agencies that purport to serve them, and this they must do to advance the cause of democracy. It is a patriotic duty that is beyond partisan political considerations.

“Consequently, we declare the 2016 and 2017 Budget documents of Rivers State wanted and hereby place a bounty of five hundred thousand naira on them to go to anyone who makes both copies available to our Secretariat at 6, Stadium Road, Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt. We call on all citizens and residents of Rivers State to join us in this historic hunt for these apparently missing Rivers State Budget documents.”

Signed:

Phillip Akah

NDCBN Communication’s Officer

 

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2019: Group begins mobilization in Lagos

Posted on February 14, 2018. Filed under: Press Release |

..… says Atiku best presidential candidate

A group, the Atiku Mandate 2019 has been launched in Lagos with members stating that a former Vice President of the country, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar remains the best presidential candidate capable of moving the country forward amongst gladiators jostling for the nation’s Presidency.

Comprising of members from all the political parties, the Lagos State Coordinator, Prince Lanre Osundairo at the end of the inaugural meeting of the group in Ikeja on Sunday said the country needed the former number two man owing to the vast political contacts across the length and breadth of the country would steer the country to the proverbial promise land.

Osundairo who is a chieftain of the main opposition party, the PDP praised Atiku as perhaps the best prepared for the job and that Nigerians should give him the opportunity to lead them, saying voting for the former Vice President amounts to a new dawn for the country.

Addressing the media shortly after the meeting, which lasted for two hours, Osundairo stated that, “As you can see, most of the people you see here are not politicians but people who have genuine love for the former Vice President. I admit that some of us are politicians but the propelling rationale for being members of this movement is for us to ensure that our principal assumes the mantle of leadership of the country.”

On the scope of the new group, he stated that “We are putting in place a viable platform for all Nigerians who love the Waziri of Adamawa to come together to demonstrate our love for Alhaji Atiku by canvassing for votes for him at the grassroots.”

Commenting on some of the allegations that continued to dodge the aspiration of the former Vice President, Osundairo stated that Atiku has thrown the gauntlet to whoever is making such allegations to come forward with proof, adding that “since nobody has come up with any of such, the allegations are mere beer parlour rumours to tarnish Atiku’s image.”

The Lagos State Secretary of the group, Dr. Kayode Ojutiku stated that the process of wooing residents of the state to join in the movement has been smooth owing to the respect that the Adamawa State born politicians commands amongst Nigerians.

 

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