Opinion

The Factors/Projects that Put Umahi Poles Ahead of Other Leaders (PART TWO)

Posted on October 24, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

The Factors/Projects that Put Umahi Poles Ahead of Other Leaders (PART TWO)

By Monica Chidinma Eze

I have treated six major issues in part one of this study as stated above out of the 21 projects that put Umahi poles ahead of other leaders in his class, I will as space will guarantee me present another six projects executed by this enigma that have made him achieve more than what his predecessors achieved since 21 years of the creation of the State.

  1. The 5,000-unit mega city housing project

Another great feat that Umahi will forever be remembered in the annals of Ebonyi State was the 5,000-unit mega city housing project he initiated. This project to be bankrolled by the Africa Nations Development Programme (ANDP) is yet another milestone by the administration of Governor Dave Nweze Umahi. This housing project that will comprise of 5,000 detached two bedroom bungalows and other facilities such as schools, water, electricity, police station, barracks, hospitals among others is not only a milestone but also a strategic move to put Ebonyi in the league of the most developed states in Nigeria. This project that will be executed by this international body will cost the Ebonyi State Government little or nothing apart from the donation of the land and construction of a two-kilometre road to the site.

Governor Umahi, who laid the foundation for the project in Umuobuna Etiti Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area, has pledged that a similar project would be sited at Izzi Local Government before the end of hisfirst tenure in office.

  1. Steady payment of the salaries of the State Civil Servants

At a time when many other states are finding it difficult to pay workers’ salaries or meet other basic needs as a result of the economic recession in the country, the Umahi Administration, despite Ebonyi’s modest resources, embarks on numerous road projects, flyovers, roundabouts, street lights and hospitals, while also executing a revolution in agriculture, as well as the educational and health sectors. This is in addition to regular payment of civil servants, who also get paid a 13th month by the State Government.

While the current recession ravaging most states in Nigeria has made them unable to pay their staff salaries for many months, the administration of Umahi in Ebonyi State has not only increased the salaries of its workers by 5 per cent, but also pays regularly on 15th of every month.

  1. Welfare of the Pensioners and widows

On the side of welfare for the people of the State, the administration of Dave Umahi recently released over N1.5 Billion for the immediate payment of the pension and gratuity to retired workers from 1996 when the state was created till date and empowerment of 2000 widows across the State. To me, this act can only be described as not only as unprecedented, divine, redefinition of governance but as God’s induced rescue mission to save the lives of our Pensioners and widows through Gov. umahi to put smiles on the faces of various families in Ebonyi State at this critical time of economic downturn in the country. Engr. David Nweze Umahi the amiable Governor of Ebonyi State has by these acts not only redefine governance in Nigeria but has made governance in Ebonyi State both humane and a divine mission to touch the lives of the people of Ebonyi State.

As if the above wasn’t enough, the release of another N400 million for the immediate empowerment of over 2000 widows domiciled across the 13 local government area of the State  to the tune of N200, 000 each puts Governor Umahi in a different class among political leaders in Nigeria.

I am glad to note that the widows empowerment programme have been expanded to accommodate additional 2000 widows that will be selected, verified and paid the sum of N200, 000 each from 1st October, 2017.

It is also on record that the N1billion naira budgeted for the empowerment of 4000 eligible Ebonyians is still being disbursed by the Ministry of Empowerment and Job Creation with about 1000 people collecting their grants of up to N250, 000 each while Others who meet the criteria have started collecting their payments with effect from Monday the 21st of August, 2017.

Thanks to God for the conclusion of the work of the Committee on the Verification of the State Pensions & Gratuities from 2nd October, 1996 to 6th June, 2017 and formal approval of the Committee’s Report by the Executive Council of Ebonyi State on Tuesday the 15th of August, 2017 which led to the release of the sum of N1.5 billion for the payment of arrears of pensions and gratuities of Ebonyi workers from 1996 to 2017. It is now left to all eligible beneficiaries to proceed immediately to the office of the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State for verification in order to ensure that payments are disbursed with dispatch.

These great steps to alleviate the impact of economic recession amongst our people simply show that we have truly a divinely oriented administration in Ebonyi State.

  1. Setting up the largest Cement Factory in Nigeria and Industrialisation of Ebonyi State

I must state that Ebonyi Sate and her people are truly benefitting so much from the training background of its Governor who is a well qualified Civil Engineer as he is set to embark upon projects that will industrialise the State. In this regard, arrangements have been concluded by this administration with the Bank of Industry to deposit N2 billion to fund small scale industries in the State, which will be made available to any group of people in the state with viable projects. I am happy to note that efforts are being made to assist investors interested in the development of limestone and salt in the State, while the administration is cooperating with a multi-national cement company, Larfage, which is at the final stage of establishing the biggest cement factory in the country in Ebonyi, even as efforts are in progress to see that Nigercem in Nkalagu resume production soon.

  1. The Abakaliki Ring Road, its benefits and challenges

Umahi’s visionary leadership prowess has made him to remember some hitherto abandoned key projects like the Abakaliki Ring Road that links eight of the thirteen Local Government Areas of the State (Abakaliki, Izzi, Ishielu, Ohaukwu, Ebonyi, Ikwo, Ezza North or Ezza South LGA). A project whichinfrastructural, economical, social and developmental importance to the good people of Ebonyi State in general and Ebonyi North and Central zones in particular need not be overemphasised. It may shock the reader to know that as far back as 1979 this particular ring road was one of the major campaign promises of Chief Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo to the people of Abakaliki in the then old Anambra State. It is a fact that Jim Nwobodo who later became the Governor attempted to construct this RING ROAD in 1981 and sadly since 1982/83 the completion of the Ring Road Project remained a mirage for over 15 years that various Military Governors/Administrators held sway in Anambra/Enugu States where our people sojourned and even after another 21 years following the creation of Ebonyi State. It is fact also a fact that the first and second Civilian Governors of Ebonyi State are from Ebonyi North and Central Zones respectively whose people are the direct beneficiaries of the Ring Road project but did nothing to actualise it not minding that this project whose economic benefits to us can’t be overemphasised.

Shockingly, it is under Umahi’s administration, the first civilian Governor from Ebonyi South extraction that such a gigantic and multi-dimensional project that will assist to fast track the development of the State is cajoled. For demonstrating sagacity and exemplary leadership by embarking upon the completion of this project that will benefit the Northern and Central Senatorial zones of the State the more simply put Governor Umahi not only a pole ahead of the past Administrators that governed the old Anambra and Enugu States for fifteen years that this project was mooted.

For Umahi to have thought of borrowing money to construct the Abakaliki Ring Road within 2 years in office without minding that his own people are not the direct beneficiaries, then such a man to be commended for genuinely loving Ebonyi people of Abakaliki extraction more than they love themselves, but sadly he is being condemned and frustrated by Chief Martins Elechi erstwhile Governor of Ebonyi State and some other misguided political leaders in the State.

Though as a daughter of Ebonyi State from the Southern Senatorial zone, I must confess that I wish that the Governor can look inwards and borrow money to also develop the OHANIVO-AFIKPO-EDDA RING ROAD as well.

No fewer than 6500 stakeholders across the 13 Local Government Areas, (LGAs) of Ebonyi State have given approval to the $130m loan sought by the State Government in both African Development Bank (ADB) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for the construction of 198km ring Roads that cut across 8Local Areas of the State.

Though, with the unalloyed support of the Elders from the State who have asked him to do anything humanly possible to see that this project see the light of the day; I am glad knowing Umahi very well that when he is determined to execute any project no Jupitar will frustrate him in that regard but as a responsible and respected democrat, he id aware that he derives his powers from his people and have gotten approval both from the State Assembly as the representative of our people, the traditional, opinion leaders and the people of the State to go ahead to obtain the $150million Loan from the Islamic Bank and the Africa Development Bank for the construction of the 198km Abakiliki Ring Road but has decided not to take any further step until he is assured that he has the support of the hundred percent of the people of the State.

This is what makes his leadership of the State very unique even as he has obtained over 6500 signatory support to go ahead with the project. The obstacles before him notwithstanding of the construction of 198km Abakiliki Ring Road, he has assured that with or without the loan he will embark upon this project by November this year.

Throwing more light about the importance of this project, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezuruike disclosed that the loan will not only enable the governor to reconstruct the over 198km ring roads that cut across eight local government areas of the state but when completed will curb delay in accessing health facilities by rural dwellers and also unlock the development potentials of the local government areas were the ring road cut across, the entire state and its neighbours. “When this ring road is constructed, health will be the number one beneficiary because there are so many of our health facilities in the corridors of this ring road which will increase accessibility to these facilities.”

To the Secretary to the Ebonyi State, Prof Bernard Odo, the importance of the ring roads cannot be overemphasized. He said that the collapsed Abakaliki ring roads have greatly affected farmers and the economic growth of the State as they find it difficult to bring their agricultural produce to the city hence the need to reconstruct the roads. He further emphasised that with the revenue of the State assets which is about 29.78 billion annually, the loan would be repaid between five and seven years.

Governor Umahi on his own part commended the Federal Government for approving the loan for the construction of the Abakaliki Ring Roads which he said would boost the economy of the State when completed. Umahi who noted that the loan would be obtained by the Federal Government explained that it has no interest rate. His words: “We are not the one obtaining the loan. It’s the Federal Government that is obtaining the loan for us on request. I was at the African Development Bank (ADB) and we estimated a total of $150million US dollars. ADB after their own internal Evaluation felt that they should partner with Islamic Development Bank. So, they invited Islamic Development Bank on their own. Nigeria is a member of that Bank with equity Share Capital of One billion US Dollars, and there is nothing religious about this bank other than that the bank doesn’t charge interest. People have not understood the process that we as a State are not the one borrowing. It is the FG that is borrowing and what is required is that National Assembly must give approval.”

He stated the Ebonyi State Executive Council and the Ebonyi State House of Assembly would approve the loan request after appraisal by both Banks as the State was prepared to construct the ring roads. The Governor further maintained that the project would solve the transpiration problem being faced by the people. He pointed out that the State has enormous mineral resources and vast land for agriculture that would enable them to pay back the loan.

“We have 13 Local Government Areas and this is one particular project that cuts across  8 LGAs and this project is very viable. Over 10% of our landmass is blessed with solid mineral. This ring road is going to serve as very serious alternative to solve that Transportation problem. So we have multiple means of repaying the loan. We have the capacity. We have the capability.”

  1. Umahi on the Unity of Nigeria and future of Ebonyi State

Governor Dave Nweze Umahi who doubles as the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum emphasised on the need of the unity of the Igbos in a peaceful nation like Nigeria. According to him, “There is no need to continue with hate speeches. There is no need to continue with violent agitations. We have to dialogue and do everything that will make sure we live in peace. We are stronger when we are together. There’s no need of insulting the President. There is no need of insulting other tribes. There’s no need of insulting southern governors. The operation Python dance was to ensure security in the zone”.

He assured all residents in the state of their optimum security, insisting that the proscription of the activities of the Independence People of Biafra (IPOB) was to avert bloodshed and save the lives of about 12 million Igbo people living in other parts of the country.

The first executive governor of the state and senator representing Ebonyi North zone, Senator Sam Egwu in his reaction commended Governor Umahi for his achievements including infrastructural development, youth and widow empowerments and Agricultural Revolution, the Former governor called on the Federal government to be fair in governance and recognition of Ndi Igbo.

“We support our Governor, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State His Excellency, Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi for his quality leadership style.”

“We support one Nigeria and ” We call on the Ruling Government APC, to know that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, there should be fairness in governance and recognition of Ndi Igbo” Senator Egwu further asked Governor Umahi to continue with his good work, assuring him of his support and solidarity.

CONCLUSION

Let me conclude this segment of this treatise that will cover 21 special projects embarked upon by this great leader of our time to drive home his efforts to make Ebonyi State the number one State in Nigeria.

In segment three, I will pick up other projects that differentiate this new leader from others in his class.

END

Monica Chidinma Eze is Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor Dave Nweze Umahi and can be reached through,dunaebonyitransformation001@gmail.com andquintrelking@gmail.com

 

 

 

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The Factors/Projects that Put Umahi Poles Ahead of Other Leaders (Part One)

Posted on October 24, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

By Monica Ada Chidinma Eze

Preamble

October 1st, 1996 will ever remains a milestone in the annals of Ebonyi State and her people as it was on this great day that God used the late General Sani Abacha to create the State out of Enugu and Abia States. The State known as the Salt of the Nation marked her 21st anniversary celebration as a State on 1st October, 2017.

Ebonyi State with 13 local government areas and 77 development centres since creation has been governed by one military officer (Navy Captain Walter Feghabo) between October 1996 and August 1998 and one police officer (Retired AIG Simeon Oduoye) from 1998-1999 and from 1999 till date, by three democratically-elected civilian Governors; Dr Sam Egwu – now a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – governed the state from May 29, 1999 to May 28, 2007; while Governor Martin Elechi ruled between 2007 and 2015 and currently by Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi who was sworn in on May 29, 2015 hopefully to conclude his tenure in 2023.

After going through series of the history, actions and activities of some of the political key actors of Ebonyi State, it behoves on me on this auspicious period of the 21st anniversary of the creation of Ebonyi State to unveil and present to the world the emergence of a new political leader, Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi the incumbent Governor of Ebonyi State described in some quarters as the wisest Governor in Nigeria and the new Zik of the politics of Nigeria. In doing this, I will be presenting some of the key factors and projects that put him poles ahead of other leaders in his class and possibly postulate the key role he is to play in the future politics and greatness of Nigeria.

To Ralph Waldo Emerson an American Essayist, Lecturer and Poet probably foreseeing the type of politics that this new enigma and unassuming leader from Ebonyi State will be playing in this generation stated, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. With testimonies from world, national leaders and leaders from Ebonyi State all have agreed and testified that Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi has become a trailblazer so far governance is concern in Nigeria. This visionary, egalitarian, humanist and philanthropist par excellence, an enigma have redefined governance since he assumed office that today both his opponents and associates all have accepted the fact that he has become a tool for not only the emancipation, development of Ebonyi State but has become the light of democracy in the politics of the nation.Today, under his governance, Ebonyi State that used to be known as one of the most awkward and undeveloped States in the nation has become the proverbial stone rejected by the builders, which turned out to be the cornerstone for the emancipation of the Igbo race and revolution of agriculture in Nigeria.

THE REVOLUTIONARY REGIME OF ENGR. DAVE NWEZE UMAHI AND THE TEN FACTORS AND PROJECTS THAT PUT HIM AHEAD OF OTHER LEADERS:

Before presenting to you the twenty one projects that put him poles ahead of other leaders in his class, let me formally state that this enigma of a man who goes by the title – Akubaraoha – because of his philanthropy and concern for the less privileged is truly a study in humanity and revolutionary leadership in Nigeria.

1. Redefining governance in Ebonyi State

Umahi has not only redefined governance, but has achieved within two years in office what past administrators couldn’t achieve in the 21 years of the creation of the state. This is why it looks as if John Maxwell had Umahi in mind, when he stated: “Knowing how to do a job is the accomplishment of labour – showing others is the accomplishment of the teacher – making sure the work is done by others is the accomplishment of the manager – inspiring others to do better work is the accomplishment of the leader.”.Umahi truly is an accomplished leader of our time no matter the stand of few of our leaders who out of jealousy want to paint a contrary picture of this committed leader whose goal and aim of turning Ebonyi State into Eldorado is not in doubt.

Umahi, considered by many as the pride of Ebonyi State, have truly redefined governance in the state. He came into the governance of the state when the country was in a recession with determinate consequences of dwindling economic fortune, both at the state and federal levels. As result, it was a big challenge for state governments to pay salaries of civil servants, talk-less of embarking on any meaningful projects that will impact on the lives of their citizens. Umahi came to power when Ebonyi State was considered the most underdeveloped state not only in the Southern part of Nigeria but as one of the most underdeveloped in Nigeria. He came to power when our people have lost hope in governance, as they were not only denied dividends of democracy but no longer knew what governance is all about.

Apart from the above challenges and in order to compound the situation in Ebonyi State; it is sad to note that most members of the opposition political parties in Ebonyi instead of complimenting or supporting the efforts of the Umahi’s administration prefer not see anything good in his efforts to improve on the wellbeing and progress of the State and in their attempts to castigate and ridicule the Umahi’s administration, their embark upon campaign of calumny by presenting an erroneous picture of the government as not performing or executing any meaningful project. Some of them have mischievously ascribed the three flyovers being built by the administration to the Federal Government, questioning the financial muscle of the state government to embark upon such gigantic projects, in view of the lean purse of the state. It is sad that some people, because of politics, have resolved to be blind to the great works that the governor is doing in Ebonyi. Their unfortunate stand notwithstanding, majority of Ebonyians, including outsiders, are fully aware and appreciative of the great work happening in the state.

I am glad to note that all these challenges and uncomfortable scenarios were just incentives for Umahi to do the impossible in Ebonyi State as he demonstrates his ingenuity in the arts of governance that forced the amiable Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, to describe him as the “wisest governor” in Nigeria. It is also a fact not minding the position of the opposition political parties and people that are awed by the great feats of the Umahi’s administration in such a short period of time that under the administration of this enigma, Ebonyi State can boast of the best Laboratory Diagnostic Centre and equipped Virology Centre. Recently, the Inspector-General of Police stated that Umahi is the most-friendly governor in Nigeria, while the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington described the Ebonyi Rice as the best in the entire world; while the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright stated that, “Ebonyi roads are the best in the South-East”. With all these postulations, one cannot make any mistake to declare that Umahi has delivered.

Let me state further that at a time when many other states are finding it difficult to pay workers’ salaries or meet other basic needs as a result of the economic recession in the country, the Umahi Administration, despite Ebonyi’s modest resources, embarks on numerous road projects, flyovers, roundabouts, street lights and hospitals, while also executing a revolution in agriculture, as well as the educational and health sectors. This is in addition to regular payment of civil servants, who also get paid at 13th month by the State Government. Therefore, Governor Ikpeazu was 100% correct in describing Governor Umahi as the wisest State Governor in Nigeria.

2. Turning Ebonyi State into one Huge Construction site

Today, Ebonyi State is referred to as one huge construction site. The following projects explain this better –

The dualisation of Abakaliki to Enugu and Abakaliki to Afikpo express roads which are all federal roads are being worked upon.

Construction of Roads, Bridges, flyovers, streets light

As part of activities marking the 2017 Democracy Day celebration, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi, has inaugurated two bridges completed by his administration at Amangwu Edda in Afikpo South Local Government Area. The governor also inaugurated street light at the Presbyterian Joint Hospital Road, Uburu in Ohaozara LGA and inspected some ongoing road projects in the town.

Other projects inspected during this auspicious event were the Abakaliki-Afikpo Road, 11.2km Okue-Nzerem-Akaeze Road and water treatment plant in Ivo Local Government Area; 25.3km Amasiri-Okposi- Uburu Road; a six- span bridge across Ebonyi River in Ishinkwo, Onicha LGA and St. Mary Road in Afikpo North LGA.

Ongoing projects in Ebonyi North

Ezzamgbo–Effium Road, Hill Top–Nwofe road, Ishieke–Odomoke road (Nwiboko Obodo Road), Amike–Abegu-Ozibo bridge, Amachara–Oferekpe–Ovuduechi Road.

Ongoing projects in Ebonyi Central

Enyibichiri Ikwo Road, Ndufu–Alike–FUNAI Road, Nkalagu–Ehamufu Road.

Ongoing projects in Ebonyi South

Amasiri–Okposi–Uburu road, Ezzama–Oshiri-Onicha-Isu-Uburu Road, Amasiri–Nguzu–Owutu Edda Road, Amangwu–Owutu Edda Bridge, Ihenu channelisation/culverts, Ntezi–Agba–Isu Road.

Engr. Dave Umahi further stated that his aim of using indigenous contractors in the execution of projects was to empower them. “It is a debt I owe Ebonyi people to also empower indigenous contractors to come of age.”

On his part, a former governor of the state, Dr. Egwu, commended Umahi for his performance, saying his achievements within so short a time had repositioned the state. At the border between Amasiri and Okposi, Egwu who was highly impressed with the thickness of the concreted part of the road, said, “I must confess that you have surpassed all of us.” He thereafter after asked Umahi to walk along with him on the road and jocularly told him:”I think with the long stretch and smoothness of this road that I am seeing it can be a tarmac. Aircraft can land it.” Governor Umahi had told the team that the road, when completed would last 75 years.

3. Changing the status of Abakaliki City from glorified Local Headquarter to a decent and outstanding State Capital

Before the inception of the administration of Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi, there is nothing to truly place Abakaliki as a State capital but more of a glorified Local Government headquarter. With three solid flyovers almost completed and to be commissioned as soon as possible places the State capital as one of the most developed State Capitals in Nigeria.

The State capital is lighted by solar powered street light. The seat of government situated in the State Capital that was more like outdated Government House is now modernised to look like a true Government House of a State. The State capital now boasts of an equipped Olympic seized Stadium with all the relevant structures that can enable it host any international sports fiesta.

REHABILITATED/ASPHALTED ROADS IN ABAKALIKI

Hitherto unmotorable roads in the State capital are now rehabilitated and asphalted to qualify as roads suitable for a State capital. The following roads so far attended comes to mind – Water Works Road, Ogoja–Onuebonyi–Rice Mill Road, Gunning Road, New Market Road, Nkaliki–EBBC–EBHA–Abakaliki LGA Road, Hosanna Park, Hosanna Street, Ezika Street (Yam market), Old Park, Jos Street, Obiri Street, Nwodo Street, Mberi Street, Awolowo Street, Nsugbe Street, Uga Street, Ezza Road, Udensi Round-about–Mile 50, Adiq Suite Road, Gulf Round-about–Quarry–Fide Mbam Road, Hausa Quarters, Onwe Road, Vanco Junction to Government House, Convent Road, Meat Market, New Market Road, Udemezue Street, Arondizuogu Street, Nkwogu Street and Zik Avenue.

OTHER ROADS, FLY-OVER BRIDGES IN ABAKALIKI

Akanu Ibiam fly-over, Presco Junction flyover, International Market flyover, EBSU Campus-gate Pedestrian crossing, Udensi Bridge, Haraca–Oshim Igbele Street, Obi Street, Watchman Street, Ibe/Obodoukwu Street, Osborn La-Palm–Ogbaga Road, Eze & Bros–Oroke Onuoha Road, Erkanka Street, Agbado-Ozo Street from FRSC, Aguogboriga layout, Police Quarters internal road, Mbam-Agbo Extension (a virgin road), Mbam-Agbo Street, from G Hostel, Off Hatchery Road, Ezeadikwa Street, Ugo Dan Street, Emefor Street, Agbaja Road (from Chosen church, IDU Hall), Omougo Street, Itapa Azobu, opposite Grace Court, Amike Aba Road, Edema Close, Ezekeikwo Street, Mgbabor Street, Oroke Onuoha Road, St Patrick’s Church–Ogbaga Road (swamp), Diamond Point Road, road behind Staff Development Centre, Anulo Junction–Nwogodo Road.Ndiagu Layout, Abakaliki, Onoogolu Street, Isuofia Street, Okeke Street, Ugwuoba Street, Nsukka Street, Nawfia Street, Akaeze Street, Mbadugha Street, Neni Street, Ukpo Street, Uke Street, Anekwe Street, Igbokwe Street, Iwolo Street, Adazi Street, Atuenyi Street, Mbanefo Street, Ezejiofor Street, Nnewi Street, Abagana Street all at completion stages.

What Umahi has achieved in making Abakaliki a model State Capital demonstrates that this is a leader in a hurry to make his mark and put his name in the sand of time so far governance is concern in Ebonyi State.

4. Remarkable Feats In the Health Sector

A. The menace of Lassa Fever epidemic in Ebonyi state and Construction/Equipping of Virology Centre

In 2005, Lassa fever killed five health workers. In 2008, it killed three health workers and affected many others and sadly two of these three health workers were Medical Doctors while in 2012, it affected about 12 health workers with one person dead. In 2013, there was also isolated case where one person died. These affected numbers exclude other citizens we don’t have their records.

This menace was a real terror and caused a lot of havoc in the state and the major challenges the State had in curtailing it was the fact that the treatment of this disease is very costly, two; is that the Virology Laboratory in the State a Federal health Institution qualified to treat this ailment doesn’t have isolation ward with only three rooms. In this case, if we have more than three victims at a time, others are kept in the general ward thereby endangering both patients and health workers. The State can’t also confirm the diagnosis of victims until samples are sent to Irrua Special Hospital in Edo State for confirmation of the diagnosis.

It takes about five days to get the confirmation report from Edo which means treatment of the victim will be delayed and if proven positive the symptoms becomes very bad. If you commence early treatment the patient has chances of survival as the disease is curable and preventable provided the needful are done at the appropriate time

When the above ugly scenario and challenges was presented to Governor Umahi, he immediately charged the Ministry of Health to commence the building of a Virology Centre in Ebonyi State within a month and to equip it accordingly. Based on the Governor’s charge, the ministry has completed the construction and equipping of a multi-million naira modern virology centre in FETHA II, Abakaliki, where suspected cases of Lassa fever and other acute hemorrhagic fevers will be diagnosed and managed. This is the first of its kind in the South-east. This project started because of the governor’s love for his people, who before this period has lost so many lives due delays in sending and receiving sample results from Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole who commissioned the centre stated that with the establishment of this centre that it will enhance a great partnership between FG and the state government and will among other benefits, lead to the provision of more equipment and grants to the Centre. Adewole expressed hope that the centre would help curb the menace of lassa fever ravaging the zone, assuring that the purpose of the centre would never be defeated. To me, this a feat unprecedented and marks him an astounding leader.

B. Checking Epidemic Outbreaks

The ministry, since May 29, 2015, has put in professional competence in management of outbreak of epidemics in the state. It has strengthened the epidemiology unit and its emergency response unit to ensure that all cases of outbreaks are brought under control. This is evident in the way the ministry managed and controlled the cholera outbreak that was ongoing in different parts of the state, starting from February 2015, and prior to the inception of this administration in May 2015. This deadly disease was successfully controlled within two weeks of Umahi’s intervention. The ministry also, during the recent outbreaks of the dreaded Lassa fever, controlled it to barest minimum, and ensured free treatment of 83 patients who had fully recovered and discharged from the hospital. The state government, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, has also approved that the treatment and diagnosis of malaria, in all government-owned hospitals free of charge. This has drastically reduced the morbidity and mortality associated with malaria.

C. Medical Outreach

One of the most recent achievements of this administration is the medical outreach, called Akubara-oha Free Medical Outreach, conducted at Ezzeama in Ezza South LGA and Agugwu-Uburu in Ohaozara LGA. The results of the exercises are quite successful. Over 2000 medical cases were seen: 98 surgeries, 26 tooth extractions, and 262 eye glasses issued to eye patients. Most of our people who because of economic situation could not access medical care were treated free of charge. The joy of these people knew no bounds as they prayed for God’s guidance and long live for the governor. His Excellency, having seen the success of these exercises and its attendant benefits, gave the ministry the mandate to conduct such free medical outreach in all the 24 constituencies of Ebonyi. The ministry is already concluding arrangements to kick-start the exercise. The whole essence is to ensure that the poorest of the poor get medical care of all ailments, and to reduce their disease burden and, ultimately, prevent untimely deaths to the rural people.

D. Incinerators

The ministry, under this administration, attracted 2No modern giant incinerators from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, which is used for the management of medical waste. Such medical wastes had posed treats and constituted public health hazards in the past in Ebonyi State, as what we have been using is local crude methods of medical waste disposal. The ministry has completed the construction of the concrete base platform for the installation of these incinerators. One of the incinerators is located in Onicha General Hospital, and the other one at Ezzamgbo General Hospital, and they will service the whole of the state and beyond.

Construction of Chest Clinic at Mile 4 Hospital, Upgrading of General Hospitals, Purchase of Medical Equipment to FETHA, proper Immunization of our kids, Integrated measles campaign in Ebonyi State: 28thJanuary to 1stFeb 2016, saving three Million Lives, Arresting the scourge of cholera etc,

Engr, Dave Nweze Umahi is a leader indeed.

5. Security and Peace in Ebonyi

The governor, in his principle that if there is no peace meaningful development will not only be elusive but developments earlier achieved will be destroyed, have reiterated that trouble-makers should look for other states to relocate. In this regard based on the Governor’s vision to fight the menace of kidnapping, robbery and other vices prevalent in the State, the Governor collaborates with the State commissioners of police and other security agencies to achieve security of the State. Today, Ebonyi State is one of the most secured States in Nigeria with zero tolerance and operation of criminals. To achieve this and according to the Governor, “We’re trying to man all our exit points with provision at every exit junctions with the use of CCTV to see what happens 300 metres along the road. Every base will be powered by solar light. So, we’re starting the pilot scheme with hope that the Police will assist the State with the relevant manpower.”

Setting the pace in sustaining peace in Ebonyi, thereby making the state conducive for a peaceful co-existence, Chief Umahi said he would deal decisive with any individual or group of persons that attempt to re-ignite the Ezza-Ezillo crisis that has claimed more than 200 lives, and property worth millions of naira destroyed.

The governor said that he is still committed to ensure that the peace accord signed by Ezilo and Ezza-Ezilo people, which brought to an end the protracted communal clash, is not violated by any individual no matter how highly placed.

The Governor maintained that, in the area of security, my government is awake to the challenges of securing lives and property in the state and will remain so ever. Ebonyi is no longer a safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers. I am glad to tell Ebonyians that throughout the Yuletide, there was no news of kidnapping or armed robbery in any part of the state.

His words: “I stand on the altar of God to say that anybody that wants to ignite crisis in Ezza-Ezillo, I will crush the person. I have directed that the people that organised or wanted to organise a rally in honour of their brothers and sisters in the unfortunate incident should be made available to me. They will spend the Christmas in cell. I must be emphatic, there is nothing to remember.”

6. Governor Umahi and his efforts to secure the Igbos in Nigeria

Let me at this juncture reproduce his historical stand on issues pertaining to the future of Igbos in Nigeria. According to him, “I had private discussion with Mr. President in New York and I want to assure the South-Easterners that the President will address all our problems. Nigeria is going to see peace. We are stronger when we are bigger. Let me also tell our people that we are playing too much politics. It is only in the South-East that you see petitions that they are piling in the EFCC. Everything is now about politics and we left our hard work for politics.

I want to thank the Governors of South-East and the North for their efforts in ending the ugly incident that occurred recently. Let me assure Nigerians that Mr. President has heard you and he is going to address all the issues raised.

There is no need to continue insulting our leaders and abusing other tribes. No need trying to pose danger to the existence of our people. We are not untrustworthy people. We are very, very trustworthy. We are hardworking and well cultured people and so, we have made our points.”

CONCLUSION

Let me conclude this segment of this treatise that will cover 21 special projects embarked upon by this great leader of our time to drive home his efforts to make Ebonyi State the number one State in Nigeria,

In segment two, I will pick up other projects that differentiate this new leader from others in his class.

Monica Ada Chidinma Eze is Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor Dave Nweze Umahi and can be reached through;dunaebonyitransformation001@gmail.com and quintrelking@gmail.com

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The Ogoni People and Nigeria’s Faulty Configuration

Posted on September 28, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

The Ogoni People and Nigeria’s Faulty Configuration

Agitations for a fair and just system in Nigeria is increasingly becoming a threat to the country’s stability. This is  largely because the leadership appear to turn blind eyes to the concerns of the agitators and not see it as an opportunity to right the wrongs and set the country on the path of progress.The immediate response of the authorities had been to ignore the merits of the agitations and to deploy the military to troubled regions with the usual mandate to restore “peace”.
Peace in Nigeria means the absence of protests, peace means the people must be silent in the face of discrimination, peace means military clampdown to force people not to express themselves in ways that are against dominant interest of those in power. Peace in Nigeria is not the collective will and happiness to work together in a fair and just system.
The Nigerian system expects, for instance, the Ogoni people to be silent in the face of clearly unfair and discriminator laws which splits our country into 36 states, all of which are funded by resources from one region including the Ogoni whereas we, the Ogoni people, cannot have a state of our own” We have consistently protested against this arrangement and I am confident that a compromise will only be reached when and only when the Ogoni people will be allowed to function within Nigeria as a distinct ethnic nationality.

In Ogoni today, for us to have as common as a school, hospital or road, an Ikwerre man who sits as governor of Rivers State will have to decide. We have no right within Nigeria to set our priorities, build our own economy, set standards for the protection of our environment and make laws to improve our well being as Ogoni people.

The Ogoni story is an allegory of pre-conceived attempt to mislead the public on the true situation in Ogoniland. As an Ogoni, I can say that government is not and has not done anything regarding the pollution in Ogoni outside attempts to be smart and mislead the public about its commitment to clean Ogoni. I maintain that signing a piece of paper approving governing structures without funding the process to enable the structures to function does not amount to progress on the clean-up process.

The Nigerian government is interested in our oil but they do not care whether we are happy or not as Nigerians. They exploit our resources without concern to protect and preserve our delicate environment. We have decimated our collective heritage by allowing a third party like Shell to come into our country and violate our people’s dignity. We care not about our people in so  much as we get a portion of the proceeds from the violations. Our lawmakers, for instance, are the highest paid in the world despite the fact that our economy is no where near the top 10 in Africa in terms of standard of living. We pride ourselves of an impressive GDP but over 50percent of our people cannot eat a complete meal daily.

We encourage polluters like Shell to kill locals, destroy our environment and shamelessly use the cleanup of polluted lands for image laundering while leaving the polluters unpunished.

We make elections a war, decimating the cardinal principles of democracy while violating the professionalism of our military by allowing them to become a tool in the hands of politicians.

We grant amnesty to those who take up arms against the state while peaceful agitations like that of the Ogoni people are not rewarded. We encourage violence by rewarding it and fail to provide jobs and security to peaceful law abiding youths.

The clean up of polluted sites in Ogoniland has taken over 6 years and yet to commence since after the submission of the report by a U.N investigation team, the bogus flag-off which allowed praise singers to be all over the media has turned to be a total waste of state resources. While the flag-off which consumed millions of tax payers’ money was implemented with sufficient dispatch, the real implementation to restore the environment is still faced with bureaucratic bottlenecks.
In this emergency, Nigeria is till unable to provide safe water for the Ogoni people. Sometimes, reflecting on government’s failure to provide water for the Ogoni and the seemingly deceitful ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Integrated Waste Management Center in Bori which was launched by former environment minister, Amina Mohammed, I feel a lack of morality within the ruling class in Nigeria. – some kind of official deceit. The result is a total lack of trust in the Nigerian system to protect our people and guarantee our survival within Nigeria.
It is time to allow the Ogonis the right to decide their own future. We re-iterate our demand for self determination to manage our own affairs within the Nigerian federal republic. Self determination is a human right and the only guarantee for our survival as an indigenous community.
This underscores the need to re-structure Nigeria to accommodate and alleviate the pains of oppressed peoples like the Ogoni whose rights have been significantly violated and attempts to speak out are being suppressed using the country’s military might.
As an indigenous community, government cannot run away from allowing us the freedom to participate in Nigeria’s democracy as a distinct ethnic group. We remain strongly committed to the non-violent means to agitate for our rights which must be recovered from our oppressors through all legitimate instruments available.
Re-structuring is inevitable for Nigeria especially as more voices rise against the current discriminatory and socially unjust system. To use the words of our current president, Muhammadu Buhari, restructuring is an opportunity, “let us take it”.
The writer, Fegalo Nsuke is the Publicity Secretary of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). He wrote from Port Harcourt, Nigeria
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Mentor, Chief Clifford Ulasi: An Epitome of Christian Virtues Goes Home

Posted on September 28, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

Mentor, Chief Clifford Ulasi: An Epitome of Christian Virtues Goes Home

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

The news of the passage to glory of Chief Elder Clifford Nwachukwu Ndubuizu ULASI alias Nwachinaemelu came to me as a rude shock. A man I have accepted as my Pillar, benefactor and Mentor based on the great role he played both in my education and Christian life.

I came into contact with this great man of God on 16th November, 1979 (38years) ago when he led Brother Ndukwe Duru, late Elder Chikelu, late Elder Joe Onuegbu, Brother Godwin and others to witness to me about the resurrected Christ at my uncle’s house in Enugu few months after graduating from Christ King College (CKC) Onitsha. Until I gave my life to Christ after this encounter, Elder C. N. Ulasi has been a special inspiration to me and family.

A principled, a rare gem and  a man who does not give to too much talking but if he talks, he will ensure that the purpose of such talk is achieved. A workaholic, honest, trustworthy, an embodiment of christain virtues, a respecter of christain family law and father to three Angels (Chinelo, Ngozi and Princewill) all well established in their various fields and families. He was a grandfather and a great husband to one and only mother of his children, Chief Matron, Deaconess Elizabeth Ulasi

An example of a patriotic Nigerian though fought during the Nigeria/Biafra war on the side of Biafra, has done everything immediately at the end of the war to preach love, equity and peace and advocate of virile and one united Nigeria until he gave up the ghost on 2nd August, 2017 by 12am.

The impact of Elder Ulasi in my life and lives of those that cross his path need not be overemphasized as he is bound to make a positive impression in such a person’s life.

Under his tutelage, he ensured and contributed immensely towards my university education and whatever I may have achieved in this life. He was there with me during the burials of my father, mother and Senior brother. He was a source of joy and strength to me and my family.

My initial reaction when my kid sister, Mrs Ngozika Amalachukwu Offiaeli sent a text to me to convey the sad news of his death was that of shock and unbelief because it wasn’t long that I spoke with him when he assured me that he will find time to visit my family to ascertain and greet my wife who went for a surgery some months ago and for me to receive the message that he was dead is to me unacceptable and that was why I was quiet for some time in order to reassure myself that my kid sister wasn’t playing a fast trick on me.

Now that it is a fact that our father has truly gone home to meet with our God, we his children, associates and family will console ourselves with the fact that he died not necessarily a believer but died as a true soldier of Christ. In this regard, we thank God for accepting and granting his soul eternal rest.

The challenge before us is to endeavour to live out his principles and virtues. This is the only debt we owe him pending when we meet with him during the rapture not to depart from each other anymore. Elder Ulasi who died at the age of 71+ lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation.

Awards, Service to God and Humanity

He has tried in his own little way to contribute his quota to the development of his community and outside his community; to that effect his community has given him two awards at different times. One was on 24th December, 1999 for his selfless service and contributions to his community Ndiakwu Otolo.

In 1977, he was ordained an Elder of the church – Christ Disciples Church by then late Bishop J.A. Elioku. As well he was ordained a Chief Elder by the present Bishop of Life Dominion Christian Assembly – Rt. Rev. E.I. Moses on 26th November, 2015.

Nnewi Christian Brethren Inc. Nigeria also honoured him with an award in appreciation for his contributions towards the propagation of the ideals of the fellowship. He equally received an award from the Board of Directors and Management of National Salvation Printing and Publishing Company for his services to God and humanity in 2011.

On Nov. 28, 2015 he was blessed with two awards. One was from Aflame College of Bishop. He was given an award of “AMBSSADOR OF PEACE” (AP). As this was going on at the Headquarters of Life Dominion Christian Assembly Akwuzu. He received information that his family Ulasi Ezeanyika Family living in Lagos had given him an Award in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contributions to the growth of the extended family. These were going on simultaneously at Akwuzu and Lagos.

His birth and early life

Born on 9th of February, 1946 and the 7th child of 9 siblings to late Mr. Benedict Ndubizu Ulasi and late madam Chirstiana Akuba Ulasi (Nee Umenwke) from Ezeoguine Royal family Ndiokwu Otolo Nnewi in the present Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State.

Elder Clifford Nwachukwu Ndubuizu Ulasi celebrated his 70 years birthday with his children and associates on August, 7th, 2016 at the historical and ancient city of Enugu where he has spent good number of years of his life.

Some of us never knew that will be the last public outing of this great soldier of Christ.

As much as we can’t query God over this at least we thank God that our father made Heaven which is the ultimate goal of any Christian.

He is survived by his wife, Retired Chief Nursing Officer – Deaconess Lizzy Chinyelu Ulasi, three children – Mrs Chinelo Uchenna Blossom Obiejezie, Mrs. Ngozika Amalachukwu Offiaeli and Master Princewill Okwudili Ulasi. He is blessed with seven grand children.

According to the funeral rites as announced by his family, his friends, brothers and associated gathered at his residence in Enugu on Friday 22nd, September, 2017 to offer Service of Songs in his honour to the Almighty of God. On Thursday 28th, 2017 they will also gather in another Service of Songs this time around at his home town compound, Otolo Nnewi in Anambra State while his interment will take place the next day, 29thSeptember at his compound. His funeral rites continue on Saturday and thanksgiving on 1st October, 2017 at Life Dominion Christian Assembly (LDCA) situated at Akoboezem Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State.

Adieu Father and sleep on until we meet never to part again.

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Public Commentator and Analyst based in Port Harcourt and can be reached through ezemediaconcept2020@gmail.com 

 

 

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The Agriculture Revolution in the Niger Delta: The story of a Farming General

Posted on August 14, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

The Agriculture Revolution in the Niger Delta: The story of a Farming General 

By Paul Boroh

As an officer in the Army, I took to farming believing that is the future of the country and that on a personal level, I could better sustain my family. Our lands are so fertile that I did not need much fertilizer; the inputs were minimal and the yields were much. Our climate, by God’s grace is predictable; it rains when it should rain and the sun shines when it should; so why not take advantage of what nature has freely given us as Nigerians.

When in July 2015, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed me Special Adviser on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, I had the primary responsibilities of streamlining the Programme and transforming it back on track, working for peace in the Niger Delta and sustainably reintegrating some 30,000 Amnesty beneficiaries back into society. Although we have various integration programmes which include education, vocational training, professional training in Aviation and Maritime, automobile engineering, entrepreneurial training and tourism and hospitality; I had no doubt that the best way to integrate such a huge number of beneficiaries quickly and sustainably, is through aquaculture and agriculture.

However, I also realized that this requires a lot of planning and painstaking implementation; like other programmes, we had to conceptualize, plant, culture and water the ideas to the germination and harvest stages. We approached a number of agencies and embassies especially the Israeli Embassy. We have also gone into partnership with various Agricultural bodies. But as a basic step, we had to get the beneficiaries interested so they can buy into the Programme.

In keying into the Federal Government’s Agriculture Initiative, we presented our ideas and the facts on the ground. The facts are that agriculture creates mass sustainable jobs and empowerment; advanced technology and high yield varieties ensure good harvest, and costs can be drastically reduced by building locally fabricated integrated feed mills which rely entirely on local products. Also, our country of over 180 million people is a huge market in itself and additionally, the ECOWAS (West African Region) provides a market that is more or less limitless. On the national level, we know that in taking to agriculture, the country is moving towards food self- sufficiency and security.

I am happy at the level of enthusiasm for agriculture amongst Amnesty Beneficiaries and to harvest this, we had turned to the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) with an agreement to train an initial one thousand beneficiaries and youths at its Bio-Resource Centre in Odi, Bayelsa State. Unfortunately, budget delays have not allowed us to take full advantage of this agency which uses technology and the principles of science to produce high yields in farming. However, the Presidential Amnesty Office has trained and began to empower Amnesty Beneficiaries in crop farming, fishery and poultry. As at June, 2017, 1,000 Amnesty beneficiaries across the nine Oil-Producing States are being trained in agriculture and will be empowered to establish their own farms. These include 105 Beneficiaries undergoing training in Agro-Business with the Songhai Rivers Initiative at the Songhai Farms, Rivers State, and 100 Beneficiaries training in fish farming under kabocastle Services at its Perecastle Fish Farm, Patani, Delta State. Also, an average of 25 Beneficiaries each are being trained in fish farming in six centres including the Delta State University by Gedisco Energy solutions, Infinite Farms in Ozoro, Delta State and Orus Resources Farm, Aluu, Rivers State.

At the Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar, Cross Rivers State, 96 Beneficiaries are undergoing training in fish farming. The Ma-Atari Farms, Port Harcourt are training some Amnesty Beneficiaries in agriculture and poultry farming, the Ogbebor Leadership Institute, Ologbo, Edo State is training some in rubber processing, TSC Services is training 24 in General Agri-Business at the Edo State College of Education, Iguoriakhi, Edo State while Eunirusk Investment is training 18 in Cassava, Corn and Oil Palm at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State. Forty eight Amnesty beneficiaries are being trained in crop farming by the Faculty of Agriculture, Imo State University. The training in agriculture is designed as a full value chain ; from farming, production, processing, packaging, marketing to Agri-Business Management.

By our planning, each farm will require the services of at least four farmers. This has the prospect of creating 4,000 farm workers in the Region under this phase. Also, some leaders of the Amnesty Beneficiaries have bought our argument that building houses is not sustainable as they have to be serviced and maintained, but in contrast, taking to agriculture is a money-yielding venture.

So many of them have bought into the agriculture revolution. One of them is into large scale rice farming in Bayelsa State while another which has taken to plantain cultivation, is emerging as the biggest farmer in Bomadi, Delta State. It is not only the consciousness of the Amnesty Beneficiaries that need to be transformed but also that of the Niger Delta and country as a whole; oil is a wasting asset, it may dry up in the foreseeable future. In contrast what the future foresee is that agriculture would enrich us all. So let us start with the basic policy of eating only what we grow, and growing what we eat. Change should begin with each of us.

 

Brigadier General Paul Boroh (Rtd) is the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. A professional peace practitioner and now a farmer.

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Re: The futility of Dakuku’s Appointment- a treatise by Wike

Posted on August 12, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

Re: The futility of Dakuku’s Appointment- a treatise by Wike 

By Dr Chimele  Eze Amadi

We have read the above titled piece endorsed on behalf of Governor Nyesom Wike by his aide on Electronic Media one Simeon Nwakaudu.

Our first reaction was to ignore the poorly written and misleading treatise  but on a second thought, the need to put the records straight made this response imperative.

First, it is common knowledge that Nwakaudu’s job may be at risk  following the dissolution of the State Cabinet and the endless sacking of Political appointees by the Governor.The timing of the article clearly suggests that the author would have concocted  these lies, half-truths and outright mischief as a smart way of warming his way back to the heart of his pay master. Even though we do not begrudge the author for desperately seeking to retain his job, we had expected him to do so decently.The fear of idleness  should not lead him into concocting wild allegations against the impregnable reputation of Dr.Dakuku Adol Peterside, an acclaimed international figure.

Being a media practitioner, the author cannot claim not to know that the reason Dr.Dakuku Peterside is a household name in Rivers State today is on account of his (Peterside’s) several achievements as Council Chairman, Commissioner for Works and Member of the House of Representatives.Records which scare Wike like  Armageddon.

Assuming his ignorance is pardoned for not knowing those facts which are ordinarily in the public domain, can the author also be forgiven if he  feigns ignorance of the trail blazing achievements of Dr.Peterside since his appointment as the Director-general of NIMASA?Perhaps,it is necessary to remind those suffering from selective amnesia like the author of the following facts:

  • That as Commissioner for Works, Dr.Dakuku Peterside had more projects to his credit than the present Rivers State Government in terms of quality, viability and spread.

It is important to remind the author and his master, Gov Wike that it was during Dr.Dakuku’s reign as Commissioner for Works that nearly all the major roads leading into and out of the state as well as the several internal roads across the LGAs, some of which Wike is resurfacing and inviting  people to commission were initiated, designed and constructed. Nkpogu bridge, Rumuokwurusi – Eneka road,Rumuokwuta-Mgbuoba-Choba and Peter Odili- Abuloma- Akpajo  Roads and flyover just to mention a few, are some of such projects. It is ironical that Wike is working hard to take credit for these and other projects through fanfare. In case the author and his master may have chosen to forget, we wish to further  remind them it was same Dr Dakuku Peterside who initiated and supervised most of the roads constructed in Wike’s village, Rumuepirikom and LGA, Obio/Akpor.

  • That as a member, House of Representatives, Dr.Dakuku Peterside personally sponsored more local and over sea scholarships for the youths of Rivers state than the government headed by Governor Nyesom Wike.It is very sad to recall that  Gov Nyesom Wike  has the ignoble record of recalling  Rivers youths studying abroad and  disbanding the State’s Academic scholarships instituted by the Rotimi Amaechi government . Indeed, Wike’s hatred for education is the reason he  has done everything humanly possible to destroy education in the state . Under Wike, the free Education policy and the model schools constructed by the immediate past administration have been abandoned  for two years running, Governor Wike’s government has been unable to draw up clear-cut direction and policies on Education. We expected that he would have been bold enough to copy from Dr Peterside’s famous Roadmap to prosperity.
  • That as the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside’s achievements in the Maritime sector  has brought honor and pride to Nigeria ,the reason for which the African Maritime Administrators Association unanimously elected him Chairman during its conference recently in Abuja, the first time Nigeria would occupy such position and host such strategic conference in more than 50 years.

It is common knowledge that under Dr.Dakuku Peterside, NIMASA has distinguished itself in its primary responsibility of Port and Flag state control functions. By re-committing itself to the enforcement of the Cabotage regime,  NIMASA has opened a vista of opportunities for Nigerians. The new NIMASA management has successfully moved away from the usual public perception as a corrupt agency into a world class Maritime regulator playing leading roles in  putting in place a new maritime  security architecture to secure Nigerian Waterways against Sea pirates and other criminal elements,a  feat that was recently acknowledged by the Federal Government and other Maritime stakeholders.

  • That as D-G NIMASA, Dr.Dakuku Peterside does not move around with Naval personnel neither does he have a need to. A man like him who is at home amongst his people would not need Naval personnel to protect him. He is by far more popular and loved in Rivers state and across the country than a governor who has made it a duty  to under develop the state by  promoting insecurity, massive corruption and owing Pensioners and workers under the guise of unending biometrics.

The fact of Dr Peterside’s acceptability in his home base is supported  by the fact that his party,the APC has never lost elections in Opobo/Nkoro LGA since the abracadabra elections perpetuated by Gov.Wike and others in 2015 through Mrs Patience Jonathan. The loss of the LGA Assembly seat to the PDP at the Court of Appeal in very mysterious circumstances is a puzzle the Nigerian judiciary is yet to unravel. We challenge the author to show evidence on the contrary to these facts.

  • That at no point did Dr.Dakuku Peterside ever escape with results of elections in Ikwerre LGA neither will there ever be need to. Being the LGA of the Honorable Minister for Transportation, Rt.Hon.Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and considering his monumental achievements in the area as Governor, it is self-over reaching for the PDP to imagine it can manipulate the mandate of Ikwerre people as freely given to the APC
  • That describing the Buhari/Osinbajo led Federal Government as a failed Government smacks of his master’s mischievous nature.A character who only recently sought the Acting President, Prof.Osinbajo to commission some substandard, low-key projects to turn the around the next minute to disparage that same government fits exactly into Gov.Wike’s dubious nature as an ordinary con man who deceived the Chief Justice of Nigeria into flagging off construction on parcels of land being contested before a competent Court of Law.
  • That we urge Mr.Simeon Nwakaudu to advice his master, Gov.Nyesom Wike to focus on redeeming whatever is left of his already battered image. Rivers people eagerly await explanations on the allegations of attempted murder, forgery and manipulation of the judiciary leveled against the government by its former ally, Mr Livingstone Wechie

Our advice to Governor Nyesom Wike whom by all means appear confused is to set pride aside and consult Dr.Dakuku Adol Peterside on how best to tackle the massive insecurity, flooding, under development, unemployment, massive exodus of companies from Rivers state, financial secrecy and recklessness which have become the hallmarks of  the state under his watch.

Finally, we re-assure Rivers people in particular and Nigerians in general  that their worthy Maritime Administrator, Dr.Dakuku Adol Peterside would continue to make them proud both at home and abroad through greater accomplishments and ingenious creativity, he is too focused to be distracted by the antics of the author and his pay masters.

Signed: Dr Chimele  Eze Amadi

President, The Future Rivers Initiative is based in Port Harcourt and can be reached via futureriversinitiative@yahoo.com

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Joe Igbokwe, Nnamdi Kanu and the Emperor’s New Clothes

Posted on August 7, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

Joe Igbokwe, Nnamdi Kanu and the Emperor’s New Clothes

The story is told of an Emperor whose obsession with clothes is second to none. His love for clothes was so much that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared less about state functions like warfare, people’s welfare, recreation, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He reportedly had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in a meeting,” here they always said. “The Emperor’s in his dressing room.”

The interesting this about this story, writes Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, in his The Emperor’s New Clothes, is that, unknown to the Emperor, the King’s council members an equivalent of today’s cabinet, for fear of being seen as unfit for their positions, have perfected the art of making the King believe he’s always on new clothes. The members of the Council and his weavers who cannot get quality fabric, the Emperor thought he “…could tell the wise men from the fools.”

Incidentally, we have a new Emperor in town in Nigeria today. He has been referred to in different names by his most fanatical supporters. Some have described him as John the Baptist, laying the foundation for the coming of the Lord. Some ridiculous ones have even put him in the place or on equal footing with the Lord Himself. He is regarded by others as the “Supreme Leader” of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or the Igbos. He can do no wrong. His word is Law. If he issues any “command”, such “must be obeyed” without question. This new Emperor’s name is NnamdiKanu who dreams of leading a nation he calls Biafra!

Kanu, like his supporters, are deluded. His supporters are the most unfortunate. They echo whatever the Emperor says like a chorus. Like Boxer in George Orwell’sAnimal Farm who’s never tired of saying, “If comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right”. Boxer is about the strongest of the animals in the farm, even stronger than Napoleon himself, yet he’s one of the least intelligent. It is on the army of this mass that the Emperor derives his power. Their ignorance is his is his wisdom; their poverty, his wealth; and their death, his life; their misery, his happiness; and their loss, his gain!

Few days ago, Joe Igbokwe, one of the few Igbos that refuses to see new clothes on the Emperor published his story in obvious response to Kanu who called him a “slave”. Joe published his “rags to riches”story of how he came from his village in Nnewi to Lagos in search of better life and economic prosperity. He explains why he owed everything to Lagos and why he always appreciates the state.  He served three different Governors (Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode) in high capacities even though he is Igbo, a feat even “indigenous”Lagosians cannot boast of.

Rather than his supporters to tell the Emperor he is walking naked and urge him to publish his own story, if he has any, many of them went on to tell Joe to keep quiet. Some of us fell the Emperor should simply have told us how better he is than Igbokwe. He should have told us how he graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He should have told us the businesses the Emperor engaged in while he was in London. We waited patiently to hear the jobs he did before he was appointed as director of Radio Biafra. It appears we will have to wait longer to hear all these. Some things are better kept secret!

Understandably, our Emperor’s won’t give up without a fight. On Friday 4 August 2017, I read an article under the title THE GAPS IN JOE IGBOKWE’S STORY by one OnyebuchiEmemanka published online by Scan News.

When I saw the captivating title “THE GAPS…” I felt it was time to demystify Joe Igbokwe. I thought it was time to see the lies, or exaggerations made by the APC  Lagos image maker. I became more excited I read the writer’s claim when he said, “For starters, I know Engr. Joe Igbokwe personally and I must say that he is a man I respect a lot.”

He went further to write, “For the seven years I spent in Lagos, I attended the same church with Igbokwe – St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church AgudaSurulere, one of the most powerful Anglican churches in Lagos and indeed Nigeria, both in terms of the quality of membership and evangelical depth. A full time Igbo church in Lagos, St. Barth’s is in a class of its own with one of the most fiery and charismatic Pastors, The Venerable Ben Nwanekwu.”

My excitements depreciated as I went on reading Onyebuchi’s article. There were no real “Gaps in Joe Igbokwe’s Story” as the title claimed. There were no exaggerations in Joe’s story either. The writer also made no attempt(s) to introduce irrelevances into his own story when he brought in a time when Lagos PDP Gubernatorial candidate visited their Church which saw the “entire church erupted in applause when he arrived.” The question I asked myself was, What “gaps” in Joe’s story does this fill?

If Joe’s offence was that he served in APC’s government under three different political administration or that he doesn’t make much noise about “going home” like most people do, in my opinion, he committed no offence and the writer goofed. Is Joe not supposed to be an adult that has the right to freedom of association under the 1999 Constitution? Joe is the spokesman of the party in Lagos. He is the manager of a large government agency in Lagos. He lives, like many of us in Lagos. He has a job to do in Lagos, what do you want him to always say? These are no easy jobs!

For the records, I am Igbomina from Kwara state. My father moved to Lagos before Independence with nothing. By sheer efforts, he built nine houses in Lagos. His only house in Ajase-Ipo was built for his aunt. I was born in Lagos. Apart from my two-year National Diploma (ND) in Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin in 2006, I have not visited the state. Does that make me less “Igbomina”?

If the Emperor’s supporters are sincere, they should be able to tell he is naked rather than saying he has new clothes!

OlalekanWaheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns based in Lagos, Nigeria. Email: olalekan@olalekanadigun.com,adgorwell@gmail.com.

He is the author of the new book, Witnessing The Change.

 

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Wike’s power drunkenness and recklessness: De-marketing factor for investment in Rivers State

Posted on August 3, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

Wike’s power drunkenness and recklessness: De-marketing factor for investment in Rivers State

By Warisenibo Chris Finbone

Despite the best efforts by his media minders to downplay the cataclysmic negative impact of the sudden revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy (CoO) of Novotel Hotel over an alleged flimsy excuse of becoming a den of criminality, Governor Nyesom Wike cannot in good conscience (something he is known to be in short supply of) deny that his rather rash and draconian action will obviously send a terrible signal to investors – local and foreign.

 

It must be stated that the governor’s action loudly and robustly cancels out any expected gains from the expensive advertisements the Rivers State Government has been running on local and international media especially the CNN beckoning on local and international investors to come invest in Rivers State. Like his former Commissioner for Information and  Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George stated in a reaction to his former boss’ action, “But it is a hostile signal to the business and investment community that Rivers State is a toxic environment, and that a 99-year land lease could be withdrawn impulsively at any minute, by the governor.” There is no question that Dr. Tam-George scored a bull’s-eye with that assertion which can hardly be faulted by anyone.

 

Expatiating further, Dr. Tam-George stated: “As Commissioner for Information in Rivers State, I held 41 media events, including world press conferences and television appearances, to make the case for the state as Nigeria’s best investment destination. Even now, the Wike administration is running an expensive advertorial on CNN, inviting foreign direct investment into Rivers State. If a business premises is suspected or established to be a crime scene, the police, acting on a court order, could move in to take control. It is extraordinary for a State government to revoke the certificate of occupancy of a business, simply because opposition politicians lodged there.”

 

History points to the fact that one of the biggest fears of investors, especially foreign investors is the penchant for some Nigerian political leaders to disregard agreements and act irresponsibly just like Gov. Nyesom Wike has done regarding the unjustifiable revocation of Novotel’s Certificate of Occupancy.

 

The stark reality depicted by the former Information and Communication Commissioner represents the real materials investors gather, analyze and decide upon in the course of whether to invest in a particular locale or not. Often times, investors do not trust colourful and superficial advertisements in the media. Rather, they rely on alternative information sourced from the likes of Dr. Austin Tam-George and other indigenous players who have in-depth knowledge of government officials, how their minds work and don’t.

 

The truth remains that given the fact that investors are usually smarter than those who attempt to lure them to make investments, Rivers State under Gov. Nyesom Wike is perhaps the least attractive place for investment in Nigeria today, not only for being the number one in politically and cult related killings and violence in Nigeria, but more importantly due to Gov. Wike’s reckless intoxication by power and his wanton and crude application of it. He is totally deficient in statecraft most probably due to lack of capacity and preparedness for governance.

 

The sad thing about it all is that the investing world knows all of this and perhaps much more. The result is that it will be easier for a full-grown camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for Gov. Nyesom Wike and his government to attract investors to Rivers State because the governor, by his own character and antecedents, is the greatest de-marketing factor for investment in Rivers State. Until he is gotten rid off through the ballot box, nothing is likely to change.

 

Chris Finebone, State Publicity Secretary, APC, Rivers State wrote in from Port Harcourt Rivers State

 

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The Politicization of a Depraved Ogoni Remediation Project

Posted on July 9, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

To remediate is to correct or make right. Environmental remediation deals with the removal of pollutants or contaminants from environmental media such as soil, underground water, sediment, or surface water. An Ogoni elite Barinua Wifa (SAN), rightly puts it this way: “Remediation is when you put a person in the position he was before an injury.”

Before the deliberate destruction of Ogoniland by Shell, fishing and farming were the main means of livelihood undertaken daily by the Ogonis. The environment flourished with green vegetation, which supported families and small businesses. The Ogoni region, prior to the destruction was the largest food supplier in the entire eastern region of Nigeria and had the largest mangrove vegetation in the gulf of Guinea.

In 1983, as military head of state, President Mohammadu Buhari commissioned five hundred (500) units of fish farm in Bodo in Ogoni. Unfortunately, during the .flag-off of the Ogoni remediation project by Acting President Osinbajo which took place at the very same site where the fish farm was sited, no sign of those fish farms existed anywhere.

The cleanup had been launched by Acting President Osinbajo over a year ago. In a rather very lackadaisical style, HYPREP is attempting to psychologically manipulate the Ogoni public to accept a process that have been bereft of transparency, deploying heavy media campaign to mislead the public about the true situation.

While we see an uneasiness in HYPREP management to hurriedly get started with the cleanup, award contracts which will most likely go to political kingmakers and compensate for who will get what in the coming political dispensation, there is surely no place for the peasant Ogoni farmers, fishermen and residents whose livelihoods have been destroyed by Shell reckless activities.

The Ogoni cleanup must be organized, transparent and devoid of dishonest manipulation from political gladiators. It should commence with a health audit on the community dwellers, the improvement of all existing medical facilities, the provision of water for all communities, the construction of the Integrated Soil Management Center (laboratory) and the Center for excellence (training center) while adequate compensation is being worked out for the people whose livelihoods have been destroyed.

Nigeria must act right, allow the current process to be trusted and use the opportunity to also address the issues of political marginalization for there can truly be no remediation without a better relationship between the conflicting parties especially the government.

That way, Ogoni will, at least, find its footing and move along a more progressive path to renewed greatness.

By Anthony Aalo

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The Ogoni Cleanup and a Sense of Decency

Posted on June 8, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

The Ogoni Cleanup and a Sense of Decency

Ogoni has become Nigeria’s latest image laundering parameter. At every opportunity, the country will announce it has launched the cleanup of Ogoniland – a project that is gradually degenerating to become another victim of Nigeria’s well acknowledged state corruption.

The progress made on the Ogoni cleanup is known only to the government. To many, a presidential approval of governing structures amount to progress though the people of Ogoni still cannot have access to safe drinking water, not to talk of electricity, basic schools and roads.

When the government cannot find an excuse for delaying the restoration of the Ogoni environment, it inaugurates boards to mark years of delays, disappointments and failures.

We have just passed one year mark after the very costly, elaborate and seemingly deceptive launch of the cleanup in Bodo and just two months away to mark one year after the inauguration of the governing structures.

What has been achieved within the period? Not even the construction of the laboratory (Integrated Soil Management Center) which should support the geological investigations has commenced. Not a single water project has been fixed by HYPREP to provide water for the people. What we rather see are desperate attempts by government agencies like HYPREP to give a false impression about the real situation. But the fact is that Ogoni still drinks poisoned water and remains polluted and these cannot be changed by internal processes and media promotions.

So it makes no sense that billions of public funds are being spent on internal processes when the people whose lives are in danger are not attended to.

I see what Ogoni is passing through in Nigeria as the worst degenerative experience of humanity. In less than one year, these same people will return to Ogoniland seeking votes from people whose humanity and dignity have been violated by their own government, people who are not sure of their tomorrow, people who certainly will die of terminal diseases like cancer, people whose lives have become nightmares, whose resources have been ruthlessly exploited to build Abuja, Lagos and make corrupt public administrators super rich.

In the midst of all these, one Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) is busy canvassing to resume oil production in Ogoniland. What a shame!

We are tired of these gimmicks and we want action on the cleanup, We want Nigeria to respect us as Ogoni people and treat us as humans with rights. We also want the NPDC to stay away from Ogoniland.

Nigeria and Shell should as a matter of urgency, clean up their mess in Ogoniland and respect our rights to live a dignified life.

The author, Fegalo Nsuke is the Publicity Secretary of The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) He wrote from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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