Opinion

Prince Lawrence Ezeh: An unsung humane personality

Posted on November 12, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

Prince Lawrence EzehOver the years, many a personality has endeared themselves not only to their immediate native villages but also to their communities, the less privilege and even to widows, with the aim of bringing succor, joy, simile and hope to the pessimistic.

Jef Raskin has the like of Prince Lawrence in mind when he said, “An interface is humane if it is responsive to human needs and considerate of human frailties. Again, When Meyers Jr said, “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good has an individual like Prince Lawrence in mind.

Humane and also philanthropic in his ways, Prince Lawrence Ozoemena Ezeh is the Prince of Mburubu in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu state. He is the Chair of Buzuzu Company, a company he has used to empower, employ many unemployed youths and extended his philanthropic, charitable works to his people.

To demonstrate his empathy to the plight of his people, Prince Lawrence Ozoemena Ezeh constructed a 4.5km asphalted road, and has been grading Nara – Mburubu – Nomeh road more than four years now. In addition to these, he gave scholarship to about fifty less privileged persons, repaired some inaccessible portions at Ugbawka- Nara road and also provided more than 20 high tension electric concrete poles at Ugbawka. Nvuna Bridge

Spyder Kenn in a post captured the reason Prince Lawrence has endeared himself to his people thus. My father once told me that “Ajaa dike na nke o kere, o kee ozo”. He also told me that the word, “Ya dikwara gi na mma” will always affect one’s life positively. On this note, I wish to thank Prince Lawrence Ezeh, the son of the traditional ruler of Mburubu, a town in Nkanu East Local Government area of Enugu state, the government are not aware of our existence, and successive governments has abandoned this road and these surrounding communities to their fate, but we are not going to forget ourselves. We might have to resort to using our own money to build our own roads now, while other communities in Enugu state get their own roads built by the government. The injustice of the whole process is not lost on the people of Nkanu east, who cannot boast of any government presence. Nomeh, Mburubu, Nkerefi and many other Nkanu East towns have been forgotten by the government. Posterity will not fail to dig up this bit of our history when the time comes. Once again, we thank you Prince Lawrence Ezeh using your money to grade our road even as the government cannot. O ga adiri gi mma. (From the people of Nomeh-Unateze).

Again, Mr. Petrus Obi in his piece titledNkanu East People Heave Sigh of Relief as Illustrious Son Constructs Three Bridges” encapsulated what Prince Lawrence did when he wrote, “The council is identified as one of the most backward council areas in terms of development and infrastructure.

“It was, therefore, not a surprise the way the people trooped out to celebrate the construction of a new bridge in the area, more so when it was through the individual effort of one of their sons.

“The traditional rulers from the various communities were present as the people sang and danced without restraint to the praise of one of their own, Engr Lawrence Eze (the Prince of Mburubu). The Rivers State-based engineer has constructed three bridges which hitherto hindered movement within the nearby communities, thereby wiping out the tears of his people.

“The bridges, which were abandoned for years by previous administrations in the state, had become a source of worry to the people of the council area before Engr Eze decided to take it upon himself to reconstruct them before the rains set in properly. The bridges include Ojorowo Bridge, Ugbawka; Ovu Bridge, Mburubu and Nvuna Bridge, Nomeh.”

From the foregoing, it is clear that the people of Nomeh-Unateze do recognize the salient contribution of Prince Lawrence towards the need to ameliorate the hardship road users in the aforesaid communities pass through on daily basis.

It was therefore a great pain to many observers how this philanthropic, humane, rare and unsung son of Nkanu East lose out of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Enugu East Senatorial Primary election, or rather was betrayed after committing so much to the PDP.

To so many, it came as a welcomed move for him to defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC not minding contrary opinions in some quarters, where he seeks to actualize his senatorial aspiration.

Bridge photo1In view of Prince Lawrence Ezeh’s rare contributions to his constituency, someone who has not tasted any elective post, but has done commendably well for his people, it therefore behooves his constituents to do the needful to ensure his victory as the general elections draw near. The time to act is now.

Nwaorgu Faustinus a socio-political commentator, wrote in via ngorokpalaresarcher@ngmail.com

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As We Move Towards the Rivers State Government House

Posted on September 22, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

As We Move Towards the Rivers State Government House

By: Soalabo W. West, Esq.

Barr.West3My public declaration to vie for the high office of Governor of Rivers State on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has elicited diverse reactions from indigenes and residents of the State. Many Nigerians from different parts of the country have also expressed their views on my aspiration.

No matter the leanings of the opinions that were expressed, my willingness to offer my name for nomination for the position of Governor of Rivers State, has, nonetheless, broadened the ambits of the political discourse within and outside the State. This I believe is good for the PDP and our polity, in general.

For the records, I have been a loyal member of the PDP for over 10 years and even when the party was afflicted by a gale of defections, I remained in the PDP, hoping that the principle of rotational zoning entrenched in the constitution of the party by the elders and founders of the party will continue to guide the leadership of the party in matters relating to elective positions. Alas, this is not the case and I am now hard put to say that, due to the whirlpool of existing political exigencies, I will no longer be aspiring to actualise my governorship ambition under the aegis of the PDP.

In announcing my interest for the governorship position under the aegis of the PDP, I emphasised that my candidature was inspired by the crying need to allow the riverine communities of Rivers State to produce the Governor of the State in 2019. I don’t think that I was asking for too much from the State and National leadership of the PDP as the upland area of the State has produced all the Governors elected on the platform of the PDP since the advent of civilian elective participatory democracy in 1999.

My argument remains that by 2019 the upland communities would have controlled the governorship of Rivers State for 20 years. I am convinced that my request that an indigene of the riverine part of the State, should of necessity be availed the opportunity to govern the State is in tune with the democratic ideals of equity, justice and fairness.

Sadly, I have come to realise that the leadership of the party in the State and at the National level of the PDP may never be prepared for an indigene of the State from the riverine area to govern Rivers State in 2019.

The reason that is being bandied around is that the incumbent Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, an Ikwerre man who also took over from former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, also from the Ikwerre ethnic stock, is doing well and as such should be allowed to continue for a second term of four years, up to 2023 does not trump the existential imperatives of the riverine people of the State.

I have written to the leadership of the party at the State and National, asking for a commitment that the party will, in pursuance of the provisions of the PDP constitution, zone the Governorship position of the party, in 2023, to the riverine communities. But that commitment has not been made.

Let me say this: Rivers State has all that is required to bring growth and development to any modern state. We have excellent human resources, very fertile land, two seaports, huge hydrocarbon deposits, an international airport, miles of beaches caressing the Atlantic and so much more.

We’ve got great plans for Rivers State and believe that she can be better. We will break her away from the shackles of underachievement and usher in a new era of peace and progress where everyone can fulfill their potentials with the government providing the enabling environment.

What if we could plan most future developments in our State and pass laws to ensure that we operate substantially within the ambits of those plans? Be they educational, infrastructural, entrepreneurial, cities development, waste management or even multiyear budget plans.

What if we could employ 300-500 new professionals incrementally- lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, administrators, engineers, surveyors, agricultural extension services providers, etc- to work and reside in each local government area of Rivers State? Providing them staff quarters and other incentives to ensure they stay and pursue their lives there?

What if we could get manufacturers and service providers back to Trans Amadi Industrial Estate and build new industrial parks in Abonnema, Ahoada, Bori, Degema, Omoku, Oyigbo, Etche or Omuma and engender improved security in the State together with facilities (including a short emergency number like 112) to cater to all emergencies?

What if we could deploy a statewide fibre optics backbone in partnership with telecoms service providers to deliver cheaper internet bandwidth and support the development of tech innovation and incubation hubs to provide a springboard for our teaming youths, startups and small businesses to leapfrog into a successful future?

What if we could enhance school sports, build centers of sporting excellence in each of our Local Government headquarters in partnership with the Federal Government, multinational companies, international sporting agencies and businesses together with organizing regular competitions between the different LGAs?

What if we could reclaim lands swallowed up by sea rises and clean up our polluted lands, swamps, creeks and seas, then introduce lost land and marine resources using an integrated partnership funding model to harness the participation of the federal government and international multilateral agencies and multinational companies working in our communities?

What if we could enhance our existing healthcare systems to drastically reduce HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal, neonatal and infant mortality rates and deliver at least 2 world class tertiary healthcare institutions one of which can deal with various body organ challenges and, above all, cancer?

These are a few of the things that we have planned to do and which will be greatly beneficial to Rivers State and all our people.

Although, I will no longer be vying for the position of Governor of our State on the platform of the PDP, I am still very interested in the governorship race of Rivers State and in the coming days will, after due consultations, inform on the new direction that God has led us to.

Importantly, I am convinced that our developmental ideas will usher in a new paradigm of peace and progress to Rivers State anchored on equity, justice and fairness. So in the spirit of oneness, collective growth and development of our State, all are allowed to utilize any of our developmental models and harness our ideas for the common good of our people. After all we are striving for a greater Rivers State first!


Soalabo is a lawyer and can be reached at www.soalabowest.org

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The implication of Nigeria’s Extreme Poverty status on The Sustainable Development Goals

Posted on August 31, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

The implication of Nigeria’s Extreme Poverty status on The Sustainable Development Goals

 

By Ekene Odigwe

 

The British Prime Minister, Theresa May’s poverty remark about Nigeria sparked a conversation of conflicting views across the country, but the fact remains that this is not the first time this has happened, Mr. Bill Gates in March this year at the special and expanded National Economic Council, held in Abuja stated that the execution priorities of the Presidency’s economic plan do not fully reflect people’s needs as it prioritised physical capital over human capital. Although, few days later the minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udoma in a statement said the media misunderstood the context of Mr. Gates’ stance on Buhari’s economic blueprint but here we are leading the world on poverty rate. Poverty according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is multidimensional therefore it is not simply a lack of adequate income. Earning US$1.90 PPP (purchasing power parity) per day is unlikely to mean the end of the many overlapping deprivations faced by poor people which includes malnutrition, poor sanitation and a lack of electricity or inadequate education. According to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 1.6 billion people in 108 countries, that is homes to 78 percent of the world’s population are identified as multidimensionally poor. UNDP argues that using MPI, the data reflects the combined simultaneous disadvantages poor people experience across different areas of their lives. Over 700 million people worldwide still live below the US$ 1.90 PPP per day extreme poverty line, and over half the global population live at the bottom of the economic pyramid on less than US$8 per day.

 

The Nigeria scene is not so far apart as the National Bureau of Statistics had even painted a worse picture in 2016 when it reported that no fewer than 112 million Nigerians live below the poverty line, preceding year the World Poverty Clock (WPC) suggested that Nigeria’s struggle with overpopulation will be a problem in 2017 rather than in 2050 as many people had thought and that by February 2018 Nigeria will overtake India as the country with the most people in extreme poverty but corporations, legislators and the electorates never believed nor took it seriously. Well not entirely, because the government at about same time intensified efforts on agricultural diversification programmes and interventions, some state governments even started their own agricultural programmes, as research shows that the National assembly passed the 2017 Appropriation Bill of N7.441 trillion, with the agriculture sector receiving an allocation of N103.7 billion, an increment of N12 billion compared to the N92 billion naira earlier proposed for the sector in 2016. The increase they argued is in response to the continuing clamour for more funding to support food security and economic diversification. It is also in realization of the cardinal position Agriculture and agribusiness occupies in the quest to defeat unemployment and its related vices.

 

However, with lots of intervention programmes and diversification strategies of the government Nigeria still overtook India to emerge as a country with the highest number of poor people in 2018. Prior to this, the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal has end poverty in all its forms everywhere as goal 1. This goal explicitly recognizes that poverty results not from the lack of just one thing but from many different interrelated factors that affect the lives of people. It is proven that living in poverty carefully sets motion for humiliation, exclusion and low participation in most social and civic duties from education to health and living standards. This representation also confirms the UNDP ideology that poverty is multidimensional, now it even gets scarier because in order to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030 there is need to achieve global peace, holistic collaboration and intervention. Putting into practice the system that 90 people has to leave poverty line every minute in other to eradicate poverty totally by 2030. As promising as this sound, there is nevertheless a shortage of about 9.5 million people globally per year. Presently, The World Poverty Clock predicts that for the 2030 SDG target to be met in Africa, 57 people have to leave extreme poverty line every minute but that is not the case rather than leaving, people enter extreme poverty every minute. Nigeria needs 11.9 people per minute to escape extreme poverty, but at the moment has a deficit of 6.8 people every minute, i.e. 6.8 people enter into poverty line every minute instead of leaving.

 

Question is why anyone would believe what the World Poverty Clock Says, the reality remains that WPC is a tool that monitors progress against poverty globally and regionally, it provides real-time poverty data across countries. So if it was that reliable why didn’t the government and the people of Nigeria utilize the knowledge as the report shows how close they were to dooms day? Some SDGs implementers believe that accumulated debts over the years, gross embezzlement of public funds, neglect of duties, inadequate implementation of set objectives and personal interest over that of the state is responsible for landing Nigeria as the leading nation of poor people. Barrister Somto Ugwu, the gender and partnership officer at The Society For Improvement Of Rural (SIRP) argues that Nigeria became like this through a repeated cycle of corrupt leaders who do not care about the welfare of Nigerians so instead of providing various employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed population in this country they prefer to siphon money and invest it in foreign countries thereby helping to develop those countries.

 

For Mr. Ntienyong Udoh a broadcast journalist, when a country’s economic blue print does not address the basic needs of her citizenry what you get is white elephant projects rather than Human resource investment. Developed and developing countries understand the model of human capital but not Nigeria as published documents according to budgit https://bit.ly/2Ov0PiK show that a Nigerian senator earns 19,982,600.00 a year in salary, while House of Representatives members earn 15,259,440.00 but that’s not all because for lawmakers, the big pays come in form of generous allowances which when put together displays that each lawmaker cost taxpayers 196,192,800.00 to maintain as of 2017, so how does a public office holder in the same Nigeria that has the highest number of poor people take home that much? It is because the concern of Nigerians does not mean anything to the public office holders and that is why the poor can afford to sell their votes just to eat today.

We can overcome this by beginning to demand for accountability, reports of projects and follow the trail of earmarked funds, some Civil Society Organizations and Concerned Nigerian Citizens are already doing this but more citizens need to be enlightened. Both the electorates and the elected should lay more emphasis on entrepreneurship and skills development. The more people network and patronize each other’s goods and services the easier it becomes to keep one another smiling to the bank. The media has to do more and Civil Society organizations need to restrategize their approach, SDGs Implementers must adopt the human angle model if at all we must meet Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and meet the aspirations of Agenda 2063 that envisions the “Africa We Want. The present administration’s anchor of the economy over the long term investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investment in people. People without roads ports and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy.

 

Finally, any government that invests in human capital is capable of transforming the financial, environmental, technical and social capital into a viable economy and it is a way to achieve sustainable development goal 1.

 

Introduction:

@Ekeneodigwe is OAP @coalcity929fm, Human Rights Ambassador @projects_human,

SDGs Champion & Social media campaigner

#Act

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Femi Fani-Kayode, Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB and other Victims of Oppression

Posted on August 8, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

By Jude Ndukwe

I read with derision the infantile missive of one Churchill Okonkwo which he mischievously titled “FFK Stabbed Nnamdi Kanu, Betrayed IPOB and Kissed Kwankwaso” which was published in Sahara Reporters of August 3, 2018. It is unfortunate that in attempt to score cheap points, use FFK’s famous name to climb to momentary limelight and satisfy his paymasters, Churchill vitiated the seriousness of the struggle of IPOB and reduced it to mere politics out of the need to satisfy his hirers. I would have ignored him but then on a second thought, what does it take to enlighten an ignoramus of Churchill’s status.

 Let me start by making it clear from the outset that IPOB’s struggle is not hatred for the Fulani, it will amount to reducing the noble struggle of IPOB for freedom and justice to hatred for the Fulani or any other tribe for that matter just like Churchill alluded to in that unfortunate essay of his. The fact is that it does not matter who is president today even if the person is Igbo, IPOB would still insist on continuing with their struggle unless a better, more acceptable and workable option is presented before them.

It is foolhardy if not outright insanity to allude that FFK defined the struggle for IPOB by instigating IPOB against the Fulani when it is very obvious even to the dumbest of all dullards like Churchill that Nnamdi Kanu’s struggle against the Nigerian set up was totally and absolutely independent of whatever opinion FFK holds against critical political actors and drivers of the nation irrespective of tribe.

It is the same FFK who has stood solidly by the former NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki, rtd, even though Dasuki is Fulani while he has subjected the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, a Yoruba man, to relentless criticism for the way the country is being run today. So, it is not about tribes, it is about freedom; it is about justice; it is about fairness, and it is about equity.

Churchill and his well known sponsors should have known better that FFK and Nnamdi Kanu only crossed paths in Kuje prisons as a matter of divine arrangement and as a result of their common sufferings callously and wickedly imposed upon both of them for their courage by the same set of Fulani actors at the corridors of power today.

Unfortunately for those who wrote the script of sending the two men to Kuje prison on different and questionable charges, they did not know that they were inadvertently making themselves available to be used by the Almighty God to arrange for the two lions south of the country to meet and strike an unbreakable chord of friendship that no fury from hell can break.

This was just like the biblical Joseph son of Jacob who was thrown into prison with the hope of seeing him rot there but those who threw him in prison did not know that that it was actually God’s plan to enthrone Joseph, a stranger in Egypt and one who, by all standards, was considered an outcast, unfit and unqualified to hold any political office in Egypt not to talk of being their Prime Minister. The ways of God are indeed deep and mysterious. God has a way of using the past to reinforce his supremacy in the present by repeating those same events of the old in our time. Unfortunately for some of those who call themselves Christians, they are so blinded with religious pride that they cannot see what God is doing while the Fulani, just like the children of Issachar in the Bible who understood the signs of the season, understand the signs of the time and have seized the opportunity to “reconcile” with FFK, and like FFK himself said, “we had a wonderful time and a fruitful and productive discussion about national issues and the way forward”, after the visit of Alhaji Musa Kwankwaso to his home.

How the Churchills of this world don’t understand that what is happening is God’s divine arrangement is bewildering. Joseph was true to his faith and convictions, he was imprisoned but God elevated him using the same strangers among whom he lived. It was the same thing with Daniel, the same thing with the three young Hebrew men thrown into the fire etc. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov. 16:7). Churchhill should go and understand signs of the time.

One is also not surprised that Churchill Okonkwo has allowed himself to be swayed by filthy lucre to needlessly and vainly attack FFK in an attempt to stop a God-ordained destiny for him from coming to fruition. After all even Herod embarked on such a mindless course of murdering infants just in an attempt to stop Christ from manifesting. Even in Revelation chapter 12, the dragon fought ruthlessly against the woman in an attempt to stop her from giving birth to the son but she was given wings with which she flew beyond attacks. Let those who have understanding ponder on these things!

Churchill in that article of his quoted a lot of verses from the Bible and even alluded to his pastor at one point showing that he is a Christian. Sadly, this is one Christian who lacks the spirit of discernment to understand what God is doing in our time and clime. He forgets that even Joseph, the son of Jacob still went ahead to reconcile with those who sold him into slavery as long as that would make the purpose of God for Israel his home country come to fruition. After all FFK’s disagreement with the Fulani was nothing personal but based on national interest. His criticisms are based on the grave injustices meted out to Nigerians by a government whose most powerful cabal is peopled by the Fulani. FFK is sometimes also riled that despite the evil perpetrated in the land by a government led by the Fulani and the notorious Fulani herdsmen terrorists, hardly does any Fulani elite condemn such dastardly acts by the murderous group nor the tyranny our nation has become.

So, if after all his criticisms, some leading Fulani actors have eventually seen the light and gone to FFK to consult with him, telling him that all he had been saying about the happenings in the country are true and have eventually sank into them and that they were ready to join forces with him and his party to oust this current government that has allowed so much tears, sorrow and blood to flow in the country ceaselessly, it is Nigerians that gains at last and it shows that even the same elites of Fulani stock which FFK has been criticizing for the sorry state the ruling cabal has turned our country into understand that FFK’s interest was nothing personal but for the good of all. In the end, we all including the Churchills of this world benefit from a nation run according to the will of the people and the rule of law rather than the brute of force.

The allusion that FFK was welcoming the Kwankwasos, to his Abuja home for his selfish political reasons is balderdash. FFK does not need to welcome the new defectors to PDP to his home to show that his stance on national issues are pristine and noble. After all, even in the PDP there are staunch Fulani members including the legal luminary and former minister of Special Duties under President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki SAN, and other notable Fulani PDP leaders across board. It rather shows class when you open your doors to those people considered for you as sworn enemies by enemies of friendship and progress.

FFK has earned for himself the right for his home to be turned to a political Mecca of some sort. Any presidential aspirant worth his salt knows that FFK has become a factor in moulding opinions and influencing national discourse to his side. That Buhari has indeed become so unpopular today that his hitherto diehard allies like the Sarakis, the Atikus, the Kwankwasos, the Tambuwals, the Hunkuyis, etc have abandoned him in quick succession is largely due to the courageous works, words and writings of FFK who has refused to buckle under grievous threat to life unlike certain people who quickly jump ship to Buhari’s party, the APC, just upon being shown papers of investigations against them.

World over, noble men who have proved their fidelity and consistency to a cause even if it amounts to dying for that cause attract to themselves great men because at certain levels, these great men want to associate with only those they can trust, and FFK has proved beyond every reasonable doubt that he can remain friends with the Igbo and every other tribe without betraying one for another but uses that opportunity to ensure justice and freedom for all. Fidelity is a virtue of the tested and trusted!

Contrary to the gibberish spewed by Churchill, FFK has not and cannot abandon his bosom friend Nnamdi Kanu no matter the circumstance. Just barely two weeks ago, precisely on July 21, 2018, FFK was in Umuahia the Abia State capital to bury his mother-in-law who passed onto glory, and the occasion and venue were abuzz as IPOB high command and members did not only storm the venue of the burial ceremony in their numbers, they came from different parts of the southeast, chanting solidarity songs and hailing FFK to high heavens for his resilience and support to them and to Nnamdi Kanu even when they thought they had been abandoned by all.

If the meeting at the burial ceremony was agog, the one at the residence of Nnamdi Kanu where FFK proceeded to go and see a multitude of IPOB members waiting for him was boisterous and vociferous. Nnamdi Kanu’s residence that had been scantily active since the unfortunate “Operation Python Dance 2” incident suddenly came back to life once again. The news of FFK’s presence there spread like wild fire and before you could say Jack Robinson, people had trooped from all corners of the region to come catch a glimpse of their “Nwanne Di Namba”, with many acknowledging the fact that it takes uncommon men with great value and valour to stick to their friends in the face of grievous adversity like that suffered by Kanu and IPOB. The people were mesmerized that FFK thought it worthy to encourage them not by phone or through his numerous intellectual essays laden with incontrovertible historical and prophetic facts, but to personally come all the way to see them and restore their hope in the struggle even if he had the easier option of returning to Abuja immediately after the burial of his mother-in-law as some in his position would have done.

While encouraging the IPOB crowd to be law abiding, FFK was unmistaken in reminding them that theirs was a just struggle and that that which they are struggling for is recognized in the UN Charter on human rights. He admonished them that while they keep the struggle alive, they must not forget to also be orderly and continue to maintain their stance of a non-violent struggle until such a time when their wishes would come to fruition one way or the other. The crowd went into wild jubilation when FFK reminded them to count on him as a true friend who will never abandon them even if it means him standing alone with them. Videos of the event are on youtube.

The people including IPOB members know their true friends, and no matter the bitter calumny spewed by a demented heart like that of Churchill Okonkwo, FFK shall not only remain the people’s voice but their champion and a toast, both of the high and the mighty and the common man. That is his destiny, and no one can abort it.

    — jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk; Twitter: @stjudendukwe

 

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Amaechi, Wike, Abe, Dakuku and the Struggle for the 2019 Rivers APC Guber Ticket

Posted on July 18, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

Amaechi, Wike, Abe, Dakuku and the Struggle for the 2019 Rivers APC Guber Ticket:

Critical Examination of the Forces and Factors at Play

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

Preamble

In 2014, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi the undisputable leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Niger Delta region and incumbent Minster of Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria reiterated that, “You see, there are two Nigerians from Rivers state that I respect their level of intelligence and they are Senator Magnus Abe and Odien Ajumogobia” and by 2018, he stated that, “I know Abe is a Senator. But I also know that he is fraternising with my political enemies. If Abe likes, let him come to Rivers State with the leadership of the National Assembly or that of the APC. I, Amaechi, will not support him for governor in 2019”. What may have caused these two great allies to be at daggers drawn is one of the major aims of this treatise.

In carrying out this onerous task, I must confess that I have done over one hundred and fifty five (155) articles on the politics of Rivers State from 2007 to 2018 but today, I am embarking upon this article that even the devil would dread to handle. An article that will expose the genesis, the forces and factors to determine who becomes the Flag-Bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 gubernatorial election in Rivers State. Such a candidate, no matter the conjectures and calculations, will take over the Brick House (Rivers State Government House) come 29th May, 2019. This article therefore is principally aimed to critically examine the characters, their intentions and the consequences of their actions and inactions as far the ticket of APC is concerned.

Close watchers of Rivers State politics could have observed the efforts, abuses, plots and scheming going on to ensure that if the ticket of the APC does not go to a particular candidate, then the party will be frustrated or stopped from presenting any candidate for the 2019 gubernatorial polls. In this regard, a lot of postulations have been pushed to the public domain. I decided to intervene because if the facts are not properly presented the public will continue to grope in the dark regarding the politics of Rivers State. This attempt will also give a clue as to how the battle for the soul of Rivers State APC actually started and how great allies have become great opponents ready to ensure that either Rivers State APC remains strong or weakened before the 2019 general elections.

In short this treatise will be centred on the current plot to destroy Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and dismantle his political structure by the combined forces of his former political associates and allies which is a study of political survival, manoeuvre, sagacity and most importantly study in the acts and arts of betrayal.

Having spent time for many years with the major characters in this macabre dance, I must reiterate that I consider it imperative to avoid keeping the world in the dark as to the happenings in Rivers State; I consider it necessary to discuss the embarrassing and avoidable current political situation in Rivers State and probably proffer a way out of the quagmire not minding the dire consequences.

For proper understanding of the major issue(s) at stake the need of presenting the key actors in this macabre dance becomes imperative at this juncture.

The main and contending characters:

 1.      Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi

A Nigerian of Ikwerre extraction, an international figure of repute, a humanist, an Administrator per excellence, visionary, egalitarian, radical, respected, a pragmatist and exemplary leader by the grace of God is the undisputable leaer of APC in the South-South region of Nigeria. An alumnus of the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State and was the Rivers State Speaker of the State House of Assembly from 1999-2007; Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria (1999 – 2000), Governor of Rivers State (2007 – 2015) and two time Chairman of the Governors’ Forum in Nigeria from 2011 to 2015. A recipient of the prestigious National award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and an Associate Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR), Geneva, Switzerland, he is currently the Minister of Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the major target of the ongoing macabre dance in Rivers State..

2.      Chief Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike

Chief Nyesom Wike an indigene of Rumuwike Ikwerre and a lawyer by profession, a political tactician of note and a strategist of the first order. He was the National President of All Local Government of Nigeria from 2003 – 2006 (ALGON), the umbrella Forum through which all the 774 Local Government Council Chairmen in Nigeria interface and interact on issues affecting the politics and policies of Nigeria, while from 1999-2007 he was the Executive Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government in Rivers State, an office he used to redefine and exhibit his special brand of governance. An ardent hand at grassroots mobilisation. Chief of Staff to Governor Amaechi from 2007 to 2011 and from 2011 appointed by ex President Jonathan as the Minister of Education State of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Currently, he is the Executive Governor of Rivers State and one of the main Pillars of PDP both in Rivers State and at the national level.

Being the Director General of the Campaign Team that executed successfully the second bid venture of Gov. Amaechi to the Rivers State Government, it will be assiduously on his side to come out from this dance unscathed no matter how hard he tries. How far he can go in this his latest move will be determined in future.

He is currently at the centre of the macabre dance currently going on in Rivers State aimed at destroying Amaechi and the APC both at the State and the National level, how far he will go will be determined in few months.

3.      Most Distinguished Senator Magnus Ngei Abe

Distinguished Senator Magnus Abe joined active Politics in 1999 and was elected into the Rivers State House of Assembly where he served as a Minority Leader and later served as Commissioner of Information from 2003-2007 and stand as the best Commissioner for Information ever from Rivers State. Under the administration of Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, he was called to serve his fatherland as the Secretary to Rivers State Government. He later resigned to join the race for the position of a Senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District. He was re-elected as a Senator after a very fierce battle.

His aspiration to govern Rivers State come 2019 is the centre of the crisis engulfing the Rivers State chapter of APC

 4.      Sen. Andrew Uchendu

ANDREW IGBONULE UCHENDU an Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).and recipient of the Federal Government 1992 National Productivity Merit Award. This award is the highest honour that can be conferred on any Worker in the Public Service in Nigeria. Andrew Uchendu disengaged from the services of Risonpalm in September, 1993 where he distinguished himself and and in 1994, the Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organization drafted him into politics, thus becoming the first Ikwerre man to be so honoured by his people. He represented Emohua, Ikwerre and Obio/Akpor LGAs in the 1994/1995 National Constitutional Conference. He fought with other Compatriots in Ikwerre to ensure that the Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality was not split into two separate proposed States during the Conference. He has since then been in active politics. From 2003 to 28th May, 2015, he represented the Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency and is now the Seantor representing the Rivers East Senatorial District.

During his tenure as a Member of the House of Representatives, he sponsored three fundamental Bills in the House. There are: the Standard Tendering Procedure for the Award of Contracts in the Public Service, (popularly known as Due Process), the National Youth Development Programme and the Amendment to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund Act. In 2007 – 2011 he served as the Chairman of the South-South Parliamentary Caucus and is presently the Chairman, House Committee on Public Service Matters.

 He is the current Senator representing the Eastern District of Rivers State

5.      Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside

Dakuku Adolphus Peterside one of the most educated politician from Rivers State and an alumnus of University of Port Harcourt, Georgia State University Atlanta and Harvard-Kennedy School, University of Harvard where he was an outstanding student  union leader who gave hope to his generation and exhibited great passion about a bright future that lies ahead..

He was elected to represent Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Area in the House of Representatives in 2011-2015. While in the lower chamber he served as chairman of the strategic Petroleum Resources (Downstream) committee that oversees the management of the key driver of Nigeria’s economy (Petroleum Industry). He is also served in the House most important committees of Anti-corruption, National Ethics and Values; Drugs, Narcotics and Financial crimes; Co-operation and integration in Africa, Electoral matters; Industry; Communications and Works.

Prior to being elected into the House of Representatives, Peterside  served twice as Rivers State Commissioner for Works (2007-2011) where he anchored Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s phenomenal transformation of roads and infrastructural landscape in  Rivers State;

He was the All Progressives Congress (APC) Rivers state Governorship Candidate in 2015 general elections and is currently the Director General of NIMASA and first Nigerian to head the African Maritime Industry. A member of Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), fellow of Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria (IMCN) and member, Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences of Nigeria.

6.      Ambassador Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa

 Nyimenuate Ngofa is a son to a no-nonsense Chief Ngofa, who was a renowned teacher, unionist, politician and one-time State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT who later became an Honourable Commissioner for Education in Rivers State.

Ambassador Ngofa graduated from the famous University of Calabar with Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Literary Studies with emphasis in Comparative Literature in 1991. He later added a Post Graduate Diploma, PGD, in International Affairs in 2000 from the University of Port Harcourt

On the political sphere, Ambassador Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa’s name has become a brand in Eleme in particular and Rivers State in general since his divine nomination by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as its chairmanship candidate, including this election and subsequent swearing in as the Executive Chairman on 25th April, 2008. He has within six years in office initiated, constructed and commissioned several landmark projects, which have changed the aesthetic landscape of Eleme.

Ngofa’s brilliance performance as Council Chairman led to his elevation and election as three time Executive Chairman of Eleme Local Government Council is of course a record as it broke the aged-long jinx that nobody in Eleme was allowed to run for a second tenure in office despite what might have been his performance in office.

He was elected Vice Chairman of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) Rivers State, until when his second tenure of Eleme Council Chairman elapsed in May 2014. His superlative performance was seen by Governor Chibuike Amaechi who graciously re-appointed and swore him into office as Chairman of Caretaker Committee, Eleme Local Government Council, on 31st May, 2014 and subsequently elected as the State Chairman of ALGON.

Like a golden fish that has no place to hide, amidst hearty cheers and great relish, he was elected the Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at its first National Convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja on Saturday 14th June, 2014.

On 14th July, 2018 he has the singular honour of becoming the first Ambassador of Nigeria to Netherlands to host his visiting President when he hosted President Muhammadu Buhari who was on a State visit to Netherlands.

Hon. Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa, is an orator, a speaker extempore, speech writer, grassroots mobilize and is currently the Ambassador of Nigeria to Netherlands.

7.      Senator Wilson Ake

Two-term Senator that represented Rivers West and hails from Erima town in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government area.

 8.      Elder Chidi Frank Wehioka

He is a former political leader of APC in Ikwerre LGA and a popular son of Elele. A graduate of Rivers State Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, and one-time Lecturer in the Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Elder Wehioka cut his political teeth in 1999 as a protégé of Dr. Peter Odili. A kitchen cabinet member of erstwhile Governor Amaechi and a political warlord and strategist of note, he is elected member of the Federal House of Representatives under the platform of APC representing the Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency.

9. Hon. Barry Barinada Mpigi

He is a progressive politician from Rivers State, Nigeria. He is currently a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, representing the constituency of Tai–Oyigbo–Eleme. First elected in 2011, he was reelected to a second term in December 2016. So far Tai area is concerned politically; he is the Commander in Chief.

10.      CHIEF ALLWELL ONYESOH

A seasoned and sound Political activist with strong pedigree in supporting a winning Governorship candidate having done the same thing in 1998/1999 when he joined forces with Dr Peter Odili against the then popular chief Sergeant Chidi Awuse of Peoples Democratic Party-PDP. And Dr. Peter Odili finally won the Governorship election in 1999. Allwell Onyesoh immediately turned around successfully RESTORATION FAMILY a political pressure group of Dr. Peter Odili that later metamorphosed into PDP, he was appointed Commissioner For education 1999-2003 and Commissioner for Sports from2003 to 2007. When in 2007 he put his neck for Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s Governorship candidature as against the popular PDP substitution of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi with his first cousin Barrister Celestine Omehia at the end of the legal challenge it was Amaechi’s Supreme Court Victory that instantly made Allwell Onyesoh a political juggernaut and he earned an appointment as Chairman of Senior Secondary Schools Management Board to which he performed creditably by making Amaechi’s Administration School revolution a legacy project in Rivers state history. Today, Chief Allwell Henacho Onyesoh is behind the Governorship aspiration of Senator Magnus Ngei Abe and he had joined hands with other political pressure group of Senator Magnus Abe.

11.  Hon. (Chief) Tony Chidugan Okocha

A Master’s degree holder in Philosophy from University of Port Harcourt and a political strategist of note, the Rumuigbo in Obio/Akpor LGA strong man was a member of the kitchen cabinet of erstwhile Governor Rotimi Amaechi. He was the former political leader of Obio-Akpor. The immediate past Chief of Staff to the erstwhile Governor Rotimi Amaechi and one-time Chairman of the Care-Taker Committee of Obio/Akpor LGA one of the richest LGAs in Nigeria and one of the most populous in the country. An unassuming but with powerful character.

Now that the major characters in the ongoing macabre dance of determining who fly the flag of the APC come 2019 are presented, I will at this juncture presents the issues and how it plays out.

*The Bond amongst These Great Political Strategists

Apart from Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who is the major target of the ongoing self ignited crisis in Rivers State chapter of APC and excluding Dr. Dakuku Peterside who is also the second major target, Senator Andrew Uchendu and Ambassador Oji Ngofa who are bonded with Amaechi, it is undeniable fact that all these other great minds (Wike, Abe, Ake, Wehioka, Allwell Onyesoh, Mpigi, Okoroacha and others are bonded on how to ensure that Amaechi’s relevance in the politics of Rivers State is whittled down. Today, this great and one time political strategists of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi have all teamed up to destroy and decimate not only the person but the political structure of their erstwhile ally and political leader in pursuit of the obvious elusive gubernatorial vision of Senator Magnus Abe.

These great leaders and generals in their various political enclaves have assisted Amaechi in his political journey and Amaechi has played pivotal roles in their political journey as well.

*The Genesis of the Struggle to Unseat Amaechi

To some onlookers, the struggle for the realisation of the gubernatorial aspiration of Senator Magnus Abe that ignited the current crisis in the Rivers State Chapter started when the Rivers State Leader visited Magnus in his Abuja residence and asked him to step down his gubernatorial ambition and assist in rebuilding the party. According to Senator Abe,  “The truth of the matter is that the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi came to my residence in Abuja on the 29th December, 2016, few weeks after the rerun elections for what I initially thought was a normal visit. My entire family received him with much joy. After some chitchats, he asked to speak with me in the presence of my wife. He then disclosed that the real reason he came was that he had heard from two very important Nigerians that I was interested in running for the governorship of Rivers State in 2019, and he came to warn me not to dare it.”

Since after the above incident, Amaechi has come under severe attacks and castigation particularly in the Social Media by most of Abe’s Media Team and associates. Apart from Senator Uchendu and few others that occasionally try to defend and present the side of Amaechi other APC leaders were just watching how Amaechi was been disparaged and reduced almost to nothing on daily basis because of his stand on rebuilding the party before any member of the party should start canvassing for support in his or her gubernatorial aspiration.

But the above scenario is actually not the genesis of the struggle for the realization of Senator Abe’s gubernatorial aspiration that has kept the party divided and weakened.

The truth of the matter is that this struggle and division of APC along Abe and Dakuku started as far back as 2014. Records show that ahead of the 2015 elections, Senator Magnus Abe was said to have buckled to the supremacy of the ex- governor, Rotimi Amaechi albeit grudgingly when Dr. Dakuku Peterside was chosen as the governorship candidate. The disaffection created by that situation was believed to have, in part, deepened the setbacks which resulted in the failure of the party to win the governorship contest. Ahead of the 2019 governorship contest, Abe’s body language suggests that he is not prepared to acquiesce to Amaechi’s superiority this time.

His insistence of pursuing his gubernatorial aspiration without the support and approval of the Rivers State APC Leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is the major cause of the situation of things in the Rivers State chapter of APC by today.

*But how and why was Dakuku chosen ahead of Abe?

Throwing light on how Peterside emerged as Consensus Candidate to fly the flag of APC during the 2015 general elections, the then State Party Chairman, Dr Davies Ibiamu Ikanya said: “Rivers State APC was divinely set up to address three principal injustices visited on some sections of Rivers State. One of them is addressing the unjust situation of the Riverine areas of the state not occupying the seat of power since 1999, after the eight years of Dr. Peter Odili and the eight years of the incumbent Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi – all from the upland section of the state. The second injustice is that of the Ogoni, a key tribe of the state, not producing a Governor, Deputy Governor or Speaker of the State House of Assembly since the creation of the State as far back as 1970. The last injustice is that of the South-East Senatorial Zone not producing the Governor since the creation of the state; Rivers East having produced Dr. Odili while Rivers West produced Governor Amaechi, leaving the South-East in the cooler all these years.

Ikanya further stated that addressing these three major issues at the same time was a hectic task for the leadership of Rivers State APC and being a human organisation, it will be too much of a demand to achieve these three major goals at the same time. Therefore, in the wisdom of the party leadership they achieved two of the three goals by conceding power to the South-East Senatorial Zone and also resolved to shift power from the upland to the riverine area of the state. This zone presented four great leaders in the persons of Most Distinguished Senator Magnus Abe, who is representing the zone in the upper chambers of the National Assembly, Engr Tele Ikuru, the then Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Hon. Dr. Dakuku Peterside and Barr. George Feyi, the then Secretary to the Rivers State Government, among other great leaders. Any of them so chosen will still defeat whatever any other party may present in the 2015 elections but in a every given contest, one person must emerge and when the party decided to address the riverine issue Hon. Dr. Chief Dakuku Adol Peterside from the Riverine area of Opobo/Nkoro LGAs, member of the Federal House of Representatives and Chairman of the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) who is a symbol of unity of both to the Ogoni people and both the riverine and upland sections of the state, becomes the general acceptance to fly the flag of APC in the 2015 gubernatorial election of Rivers State.”

*This Decision Did Not Get Down Well With Abe and His Camp

Three days after the election of Dakuku to fly the flag of APC some youths were mobilized against his candidature. Reacting to the protest against his nomination by some youths said to be from Ogoniland, Dakuku Peterside said: “I heard that some 150 young men and women were at the Government House, Port Harcourt, three days ago, Ogoni people love me and are very hospitable. I grew up in Ogoni, where I spent over ten years. I still have many childhood friends from Ogoni. The protesters are not Ogoni, but people from other political parties, who want to cause confusion. The opposition parties sponsored the 150 youths to protest. It is nothing to worry about. I was at the forefront of Ogoni struggle in 1990, when the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) was put in place.

Ogoni people are peace-loving and not violent. It was when I was Rivers Commissioner for Works that most of the roads in Bori (traditional headquarters of Ogoniland) were tarred.

I will continue to protect Ogoni interests. Distinguished Senator Magnus Abe is my brother and friend and we have had useful discussions. APC in Rivers State cannot be in reverse gear. We will place emphasis on equity, justice and fairness. We will ensure inclusive government. Everybody will be carried along. I am an Ijaw, but I will be the governor of Rivers State. We can together build a greater Rivers State.”

This persuasion by Dakuku Peterside makes no impact to Abe and his Team as they have already resolved on how to ensure that he never merits the Brick House. We enter the battle to wrestle power with a seasoned political warlord and strategist like Wike with a divided house while PRETENDING to be working together. The consequences of such unfortunate division is what most of us are still suffering.

*How They Played on the Humility and Innocence of Dakuku Peterside

After the elections they came together and succeeded to influence Dakuku of the need of him footing their Tribunal cases which he obliged. What later happened is before the public domain.

*Strategy to Undermine the Chances of Dakuku in the 2015 General Elections Adopted

The Abe’s camp adopted a strategy with 2019 general election in mind. In their calculation if Dakuku Peterside wins the 2015 general elections then he will ask for second term come 2019 so the best option is to whittle his chances in 2015 gubernatorial election so that Abe will still have a chance to contest come 2019. To achieve this, they collected all the necessary tools to mobilize our people in their villages and wards and kept them in their hotels in Port Harcourt until after declaration of Governor Wike as the Governor-elect thereby leaving most of our people at the mercy of Wike and his boys. They came back to Port Harcourt to collect their tools and to celebrate the success of the first stage of their plot.

If we critically observe the caliber of persons in league with Abe – Senator Ake, Elder Wehioka, Chief Allwell Onyesoh, Hon. Barry Mpigi Chief Okocha etc these are people you can’t see Amaechi without recourse to them and these are people that can match Wike in any type of political game he can think of but what happened they all lost at their various catchment areas in the gubernatorial election except Ambassador Ngofa who stood his ground and marched Wike to his type of game and got him thrashed in all the polls at Eleme.

Funny enough the same group resurfaced by 2016 to set up the second stage of their plot – canvass for the gubernatorial ticket of Senator Magnus Abe thinking that Amaechi will be intimidated by their regrouping. It is Amaechi’s refusal to buy into their plans that made them to go public and teaming up with Wike who is very keen and interested in any project that will undermine Amaechi and his political structure.

*Steps That Amaechi Took to Address the Danger Ahead

When Amaechi saw the danger and pronounced division and struggle for power and relevance between the camps of Abe and Dakuku as a result of the nomination of Dakuku Peterside as the consensus candidate, he cut short his national assignment as the Director General of the Presidential Campaign Team of then General Muhammadu Buhari to address the stakeholders, elders and leaders of the party at the Council Chamber of the Government House. He used the opportunity to caution with the strongest words the Dakuku’s Camp over what he termed overzealousness and neglect of the Abe’s Camp. He pleaded to us all that he is just sure of succeeding to get the Presidential ticket of APC for Buhari and getting him elected as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but will he be able to carry all of us along if we loss Rivers State. He pleaded with all and sundry to unite and ensure that we win the Rivers State Government so that none of us will be neglected. We reassure him of our resolve to work as a Team to deliver the State accordingly.

*Why Wike’s Involvement

Not minding the thinking of anybody, Governor Nyesom Wike is a political strategist who knows the implication and the dangers ahead of him should APC captures Rivers State but if he fails two options await him – either to go on exile or prepare himself for s long stay in any of the maximum prisons in Nigeria. To avoid any of these deadly options, he embarks on any plot that can destroy Amaechi knowing very well that if Amaechi is destroyed APC both at the State and the centre will be weak to constitute a problem to his political empire. He sees Abe as an easy prey and capitalized on his plot to assist him destroy both Amaechi and the party.

*Implications of This

Senator Abe is one of the best brains in Rivers State politically so no one can deny him the fact that he doesn’t know what he is currently doing. He is fully aware that with the situation of things and assuming that he succeeds to secure the APC ticket and with Wike as the PDP Flag-Bearer he has no chance of defeating Wike at the 2019 polls. I said assumingly if he secures the APC ticket but the truth is that he is aware that he will not succeed if all the damages his boys have inflicted on both the leaders of the party and the party itself are anything to go by.

Abe is a personal friend whom I have too much respect for but how he will survive the macabre dance he has initiated can only be determined by God.

Conclusion

Facts are sacrosanct and I have to let this out based on what Abe and his Team continue to dish out to the public on daily basis disparaging and ridiculing both Amaechi and Dakuku and making them to be wrongly judged and assessed by the public.

By January, 2019 I will be 61 and if at this age I continue to hoard the truth then I don’t merit such an age. Whoever that doubts these facts presented is free to contact those mentioned or close watchers of the politics of Rivers State.

Part two of this treatise will be who flies the APC ticket in Rivers State.

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt and can be reached through: ezemediaconcept2020@gmail.com

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July 14: Nigeria and Ondo’s Mistake Ekiti People must not Make

Posted on July 15, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

July 14: Nigeria and Ondo’s Mistake Ekiti People must not Make

By Jude Ndukwe

As we inch closer to the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State, stakeholders are putting final touches to their preparations to ensure not only a hitch-free election but also that the deserved party wins and continue to take the State on an upward projection. The news that the police hierarchy is deploying as much as 30,000 police personnel to Ekiti for the election is an indication of how seriously our security agencies are taking the exercise. The only concern here is, why so much number of policemen for an election, a civic exercise in a very peaceful State while Benue, Plateau and other flashpoints in the country are lacking in police personnel to help stem the growing ugly tide of mass murders we have witnessed in the country recently? That would be an issue for another day.

However, the massive deployment of police personnel to Ekiti underscores how seriously various stakeholders take the forthcoming election. It is the penultimate election before the 2019 general elections with the Osun governorship election standing between them, thus, making the Ekiti election serve as a yardstick for how well various institutions, particularly INEC, are preparing for the 2019 general elections. It would also be used to measure INEC’s true independence from influence and powerful extraneous interests and forces.

So, in more ways than one, the Ekiti election should be of utmost priority not only to the good people of Ekiti but also to all well meaning Nigerians as it will be a pointer to the trajectory the 2019 election will take. Beyond these, Ekiti people are going to be greatest beneficiaries of a free, fair and transparent election but would also be the worst victims, both in the short and long terms, should the exercise go wrong and be tainted with irregularities.

To this end, the people themselves have huge roles to play. By now, it is expected that the parties would have done enough in terms of voter education, much of which must centre on the need for the electorate not to allow themselves to be influenced by money or such other fleeting gifts that might be offered to them by desperate politicians to buy their conscience and sway their votes their way.

It is instructive to note that those who have brought hunger to the land might have deliberately done so in order to find it easy to induce the electorates, pauperized by shallow and failed government policies, during elections.

It was the mistake people of Ondo Sate made. Allegations of heavy inducement by critical actors at the November 2016 election filled the airwave as it was alleged that the electorates were offered between N1,500 and N5,000 for their votes depending on location and importance of polling areas to those behind the inducement, for the people to vote for them.

And, of course, with the level of hunger in the land, a majority of the people were said to have grudgingly accepted the inducement as a palliative to their hunger, an action which radically changed the expected outcome of the election to favour those who made the offering to the voters.

However, what such voters refused to realize was that they were actually selling away their future and birthright for pittance. Just about two years after a new government took over the seat of government in Akure, pregnant women took to the streets in lamentation, wailing and gnashing of the teeth on how the new government had cancelled the free childbirth policy run by the previous government which, by the alleged inducement from another party, was voted out.

That protest by pregnant women in Ondo State was one never witnessed in a long while in the history of our nation where pregnancy is held in high esteem and treated with enormous care. But on this day, the pregnant women threw caution to the wind and took to the streets protesting the imposition of what they described as exorbitant fees on their medical care by the State government. Unfortunately, some of the pregnant women could have participated in the electoral largesse by politicians at the Ondo State governorship election, voted against their conscience, and a government of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that had hitherto provided them with free medical services.

When the APC government took over, the women accused the government of increasing their ante-natal care fees from N1,000 to N4,000, and an imposition of N500 fee for every appointment they had at government hospitals, appointments they acknowledged used to be free under the PDP-led government of Dr Olusegun Mimiko. The major grouse of the protesting pregnant women was the N25,000 fee imposed on them for normal delivery, a service that used to be absolutely free before the November 2016 governorship election.

As if taking a cue from the pregnant women, and right about the same period, students of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAUA) also took to the streets to demonstrate against the hike in fees by the current Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu-led Ondo State government. The fees, according to the protesting students, were hiked from N25,000 and N30,000 under the PDP-led government of Dr Olusegun Mimiko to between N120,000 and N250,000 under the Akeredolu-led APC government.

Sadly, some of the students could also have partaken in the electoral largesse politicians threw their way on election day, and they sold their long term benefit of having a considerate government that cared for them in power for a short term benefit of even meagre cash that would not last them more than a day or two.

Long after receiving the pittance to buy their votes, pregnant women, students and other indigenes and residents of Ondo State are now crying and regretting their mistake.

As Ekiti governorship election takes place, some might have also prepared to replicate the vote buying system allegedly deployed in Ondo to Ekiti, as the principal actors allegedly behind the money-for-vote action have since relocated to Ekiti to perpetrate the same ignominious act. The people must resist the temptation of eating sumptuous meals for a day or two with the money they get induced with only for them to be faced with long term realities of economic hardship, social dysfunction and draconian policies after having helped put a rudderless government in place.

The Bible says it is always better to eat vegetable where there is love than to eat meat where there is hate (Proverbs 15:17. Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose has proved that he loves his people; he stood by them in the darkest hour and prevented the State by going the bloody ways of Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Zamafara et al when he braved the odds and against a dangerous tide, signed the anti-open grazing bill into law. The people must allow themselves to be guided by their conscience. No State deserves to add to itself the enormous suffering and hardship imposed on Nigerians by the APC-led federal government. that would amount to double jeopardy!

They should remember that their vote is their right, their power and should not be exchanged for any filthy lucre that commits them into a world of paid silence in the face of maladministration. They must be vigilant and ensure that those who have played a part in dragging the entire nation into its current comatose state of anomie where insecurity, unemployment, flagrant abuse of citizens’ rights, selective obedience of court orders, economic hardship etc have become the lot of Nigerians, do not have a foothold in Ekiti.

It was the same mistake Nigerians had made earlier that the people of Ondo State made at their last governorship election, hence, they suffer double tragedy as policies of their state government do not appear people-oriented or friendly thereby giving room for avoidable demonstrations, coupled with the obvious ineptitude exhibited at the centre.

Almost all the states that made the same mistake Nigeria made at the last presidential election in 2015 where the current ruling party was voted to power are in one form of turmoil or the other today. From Benue to Zamfara to Nasarawa to Kaduna, to Adamawa etc, their people are now wailing in regret. The people of Ekiti have enough examples to learn from that they have no excuse whatsoever to make the same mistake others before them made only for such people to turn around in regret and start demonstrating shortly after.

The people must vote for the party that has not only spoken against the invasion of their state by marauding and murderous herdsmen terrorists but has demonstrated enormous capacity and the needed political will to protect them from the mass murderers and prevent the same orgy of killings in other states from happening in Ekiti despite mounting pressure to do otherwise. They must not make themselves open to the temptation of mints and other items of inducement no matter how attractive, or else they will be exposing themselves to immediate danger and their children to a future of uncertainty.

Apart from attempting to induce the people with cash and other items, the people should also beware of those who come to them with flattery, vain eloquence and empty promises. Some Nigerians allowed all these to sway them in 2015 and today, we are all suffering because of it. Ekiti people must prove that they are not as gullible. They should know by now those who made promises but could not keep them rather they have driven the country to a state far worse than they met her; such people promise paradise but what they actually carry in their bosom for delivery is hell. Ekiti people must watch out for such people. They must not allow themselves to be intimidated or hoodwinked by any means to look away from guarding their votes from the polling units to the final collation centre. It is a battle for the soul of the State, and vigilance is the ultimate price for safety.

Will they be intimidated? Yes, the intimidation has already begun? But Ekitikete must stand their ground; Ekiti must not be sold or handed over to those who have proved that they mean no good with their rudderless performance at the centre.

Those who are deployed to the State for one assignment or the other whether as security officials, INEC officials, observers, pressmen etc, must ensure that they carry out their duties with utmost sense of patriotism and not cooperate or participate in any attempt to rob the people of their electoral choice. The eventual outcome of the election must reflect the people’s voice and will. This is the least that these and other stakeholders owe not only the people of Ekiti State but also Nigerians, and, indeed, the entire world.

As the clock ticks towards D-Day, it is imperative to remind voters of the local proverb which says that when the frog in front jumps into a deep hole, it teaches the other ones behind a lesson. Ekiti people must learn from the costly mistake Nigeria made in 2015 and avoid same on July 14. This is the least they owe themselves and posterity. They should allow sound judgement based on history and good conscience guide their choice at the election.

—jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk; Twitter: @stjudendukwe

 

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Monica Ada C. Eze: 26 Garlands to DUNAETA President and Founder

Posted on July 8, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

Monica Ada C. Eze: 26 Garlands to DUNAETA President and Founder

By Eunice Eze

Monica Ada Eze

Monica Ada Eze

By 11th July, 2018, Ebonyi State will be celebrating one of her finest and splendour Media gurus. On that auspicious day lady Monica Ada Chidinma Chukwuemeka -Eze who was born on the 11th of July 1992 will be celebrating her 26th birthday.

A detribalized Nigerian with Ibo parents who can as well claim to be a Northerner as she was born at the Specialist Hospital situated in Jimeta-Yola the State capital of Adamawa State in the North Eastern region of Nigeria. Monica who hails from Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State is the first child of Chief and Evang. (Mrs.) Augustine Eze.

According to her records, she started her Nursery and Primary School at the famous Abti International Nursery /Primary School, Yola and proceeded to Federal University of Technology Secondary School Yola where she got her Senior Secondary School Certificate in 2008. A graduate of Our Savior’s Institute of Science, Agric and Technology (OSISATECH), Enugu where she studied Public Administration and obtained National Diploma (ND) certificate which enabled to secure direct entry admission into Caritas University where she studied Industrial Relations and Personnel Management.

Public Service/Politics:

With this Amazon of a lady in mind, Ann Tran stated and I quote, “Humility, gentleness, and helpfulness go so much further and open doors you cannot imagine. Think from a higher level and try to see beyond today. Some hard work and insight will bring you to paths that will reward you so highly, it’ll make the little inconvenience you incurred so worth it.”

Monica is a reputable Blogger and Publisher and in line with Ann Tran’s quote is a workaholic, philanthropist per excellence, humane, humble and obedient person whose weaknesses is kindness. She is kind to a fault but resists anybody who wants to take advantage of her kindness and humane nature. She loves being committed to anything entrusted in her hands and appreciative of whatever one does for her no matter how little it is. This lady whose writings have assisted so much in propagating the ideals and vision of the Ebonyi State Government under the able leadership of her uncle, Engr. (Dr) Dave Nweze Umahi ( FNATE, FNSE) is the President/Founder of David Umahi Nweze Akubaraoha Ebonyi Transformation Agenda (DUNAETA) a vibrant, virile grassroots NGO whose main aim is to ensure the re-election of Governor Umahi come 2019 and which she uses to issue press statements in defense and promotion of her boss, His Excellency Engr. (Chief) Dave Nweze Umahi) and his government.

Her article titled, “How Umahi Turned Ebonyi Into One Huge ConstructionSite” is a must read anytime any day and have since her appointment wrote over twenty inspiring articles on the positive activities of the present administration in Ebonyi State.

This fiery lady is a member of the greatest political movement in Africa the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and currently serves as the Technical Adviser (TA) on Media to the Ebonyi State Governor; she is known in some quarters as Ada Ebonyi and doubles as the Secretary of the Committee of Media Aides to His Excellency.

Monica and her mission:

According to Laozi, one of the greatest Philosophers of all times with Monica in mind, “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”

In defining her mission, she stated thus, “Immediately after my appointment and considering the enormous challenges of my new task of propagating and projecting the great image of an outstanding and ever busy Governor of the status of Engr. David Umahi and after briefs from my superiors I entered into the field. Within the period under review, I was able to form and join a lot of Social Media groups be it Face-Book, Instagram, vimeo, printest, whatsapp, LinkedIn,YouTube, Twitter etc in order to circulate releases and information pertaining to the activities of Governor Umahi and his administration in Ebonyi State to the entire world.

According to this lady of the moment, “Apart from my normal work schedule, I have gone extra miles to introduce live media stream of all the events that I attend. I have established a website through which I use to publish my works and most of the press statements from the Ebonyi State Government and Ministries. These feats notwithstanding, I have the singular honour among my peers to donate three Gold Trophies as follows in support of our 2019 project:

1.  Akubuorah Gold Cup for Quiz Competition amongst Secondary Schools in Ohaozara Local Government Area.

2.  OGOO NWANYI GOLD CUP for Choir Competition amongst Churches in Uburu Town.

3.  DUNAETA GIANTGOLD CUP for the best performing Commissioner under this administration for 2018.

These Gold Trophies awaits the approval of His Excellency for formal presentation before public presentation.

Monica and Affirmation of her Philanthropic gestures:

Pam Moore to further explain Monica and her philanthropic activities better stated, “You can never go wrong by investing in communities and the human beings within them.”

The following comments by some of those who may have come across Monica’s works will convince you the reader how she is appreciated –

Explaining what Monica is to Ebonyi State and her people Eze C.Collins stated, “Today is the first Sunday and the first day of the month of July, 2018, besides new month wishes I received, a lady surprised me, through this text, “Collins, you are doing well, let me know the network work you prefer or I transfer some amount of money to your account for your good works in support of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. David Nweze Umahi’s re-election bid come 2019. Please send me your account details. This is exactly the words from Ada Monica Chidimma Eze, the Technical Assistant to the Executive Governor of Ebonyi state and the founder and the President of David Nweze Umahi Akubaraoha Ebonyi transformation Agenda (DNUAETA). Seriously, I really had skeptic because I never expected such from her even though she is really doing excellently well. Everyone talks good of her especially her generosity. The Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State had extolled her hardworking. The Commissioner of Information, Sen. Emmanuel Onwe had one time described her as a true daughter of Ebonyi state and a tribalizer. When she texted me that she sent some amount of money, seriously i was really surprised. She is wonderful, caring and appreciative. Once again, thank you Ada Chidimma Miss.Monica Eze, the most beautiful daughter of Uburu”.

While to E. Darlington Chuka, “Monica has done well and you really deserve such appreciation for supporting the good work of our workaholic governor Engr Dr David Umahi Nweze. May God continue to bless both of you Amen”.

To J. Ogbaga ogba Immanuelrigmaster, “In as much as I’m hhhhhhmmmmmiinnnggg,  I won’t deny the fact that you are a fine asset.  The way you spoke, just did justice to your acclaim. But please remember to bring forth or push forth the changes demanded in some ways from this administration”.

kelechi Agaha Uche in his inputs pleads with Ebonyian thus, “Join me as I appreciate this noble lady, a lady with a heart of gold, a philanthropist per excellent, the highly focused and hardworking Technical Assistant to Ebonyi Governor on media. She is a beauty with brain, she is humble to the core and carries everyone along in discharge of her duties, a hard-working Nigerian youth, she is Hon Monica Ada Chidinma Eze (TA to Ebonyi Governor on media) Coming across her late last year has been one of the best things that happened to me last year, because in her, I saw a lady practicing her words, she’s never tied, always up and doing. Having carved a niche for herself as a humanitarian, she stands tall as an evangelist of giving. She is the brain behind the popular political organization known as “DUNAETA” a group that has done a great job for the re-election of Gov Umahi. She is a goal getter and achiever.Thanks dear for your kind gesture towards my person, I appreciate you greatly!”

To Evangelist Prince Nwoba Solomon, “Monica is a great Achiever!!! I must confess that three qualities that make a woman: character, intelligence and beauty, richies is an added advantage but it is irksome that no girl/lady/woman has it all. A girl is so pretty but empty skull, the other one is so intelligent but a monster, the other one so charming and intelligent but ill-mannered. Some other may be pretty, intelligent with a manageable character but a pauper. This is to prove the cliche that “no one has it all.”

What is popular may not be right and what is right may not be popular. Miss Monica Ada Chidinma Eze, one of the TAs to Enonyi State governor on media has outstripped herself from the cliche of “no woman has it all” Monica is a name for females which is traceable to the 4th century when the name was borne by North African Saint Monica of Hippo, mother of saint Augustine.

Miss Monica Adaeze has been a succour to those who are close to her both her fellow youths and the aged, especially the less privileged ones. Recall that she is the proprietress to the group/page DAVID Umahi Nweze Akubaraoha Transformation Agenda (DUNAETA)

This page has really paid, she has single handedly sponsored a recharge and win promo on the page where about ten thousand naira recharge cards were disbursed and at the end the eight persons that recharged highest were rewarded; the first, second, third and fourth winner went home with a bag of rice and a cash prizes, while the other four were given cash each, what a magnanimity?

Among the numerous TAs on Media, she is the most benevolent, selfless and the most approachable among them.

Her philosophy of “Givers never lack” has kept her and has paved way for her. She can hardly complain even from her meagre salary, she pays about ten of her followers monthly surprise package allowance.  She is exceptionally beautiful and intelligent yet accommodative.

In this era, where hardship and hard time has formed a chorus in everyone’s lips, she still give at liberal without condition. She is a devout and a practising Christian rather than what we have nowadays, Christian forming title for some fellows. So dedicated and devoted to her job.

Travel of a million miles they say, start with a step; she has proven to a great leader, an Amazon, a liberator to come. There is still hope of good leaders to come!!!!.”

G. Ibeabuchi Jonathan in his contribution stated, Monica Ada Chidinma Eze is not only philanthropic but she is a second God to people in times of help which am a living testimony of her good work to humanity, kudos dear Monica I pray God will take you to the highest level because you deserve more accolades”

Ogbonna David described Monica Ada Chidinma Eze thus, “you’ve proved to be an embodiment of goodness, in and out, a promoter of goodness and goodness icon. A dedicated lady with extraordinary commitment to duty and course. For blessing me today, you will never lack all the days of your life. Keep up the good works, posterity will always be kind to you.

While to Ekoyo Godwin, “Surprisingly this morning a Lady transferred a hug amount into my account to encourage me for the good works I have been doing in promoting the government of Ebonyi state and His Excellency Chief David Nweze Umahi. This lady is among the media officials who dedicated herself in promoting the good work of His Engr.David Nweze Umahi both day and night. She’s a lady with a good heart who can accommodate everybody within and outside her home. Sentiment and laziness is not in her dictionary and she likes working with progressive minds. People who knows her very well  and I can testify that she is a wife material and a home builder. Not all ladies can do this instead they will like to  milk men till we become dry in both physical,financial and spiritually. She’s no other person than Monica Ada Chidinma Eze ,Technical Assistant to Ebonyi state Governor on media and publicity and founder of David Nweze Umahi Akubaraoha Ebonyi transformation agenda (DNUAETA). Of a truth, I never except this surprised package from her and she made me proud by encouraging me to do more. I urge other people to emulate from her as these will burnout some desires in us to do more. Thank you Lady Monica! Thank you Ada Uburu!! Thank you my sister in-law!!! May God bless you”.

Monica and her Strong belief in her boss:

My senior sister Monica Eze is so committed towards the re-election bid of Governor Umahi come 2019 and will not mind whatever it will cause her to achieve this goal in view of the tremendous changes and infrastructural revolution he has brought to bear in Ebonyi State and according to this lady of the Pen, “Today, the Governor has become the new face of democracy and positive development in Nigeria that I wonder why some groups of people are attempting to frustrate his second term bid”. Let me at this juncture, commend and congratulate Governor Umahi for making the difference so far governance is concerned in Nigeria. Time and space can’t permit me to enumerate most of the feats of this energetic, visionary and outstanding Governor but I am convinced that no right thinking person will fail to acknowledge that Governor Umahi has delivered on his mandate. If President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria could attests to the great things Governor Umahi has achieved in Ebonyi State I expect most of the opposition political leaders to learn from our dear President and accord Engr. Dave Umahi his rightful place in the politics of Ebonyi State. I must reiterate that Engr Dave Nweze Umahi is one of the best things that have ever happened to the people of Ebonyi State”.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Ada Ebonyi pleaded with the great people of Ebonyi State to shine their eyes and ensure that the wonder performing Governor of Ebonyi State is reelected to enable him continue with his divine mandate to take our dear State to the promise land. Together, we will celebrate triumphantly come 2019. I urge all the oppositions to clear way as they have no chance in Ebonyi state let alone Ebonyi state government house. We did it in 2015 and we will do it again in 2019 even better than 2015.

My sister deserves to be celebrated and I am proud to present this workaholic, an Amazon of high repute to the world. Happy Birthday Monica! Happy birthday Ada Ebonyi!! Happy birthday the fiery lady of Pen!!!

Pharm. Eunice Eze is the Special Media Aide to the President/Founder, DUNAETA and can be reached through dunaebonyitransformation001@gmail.com

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Dr. Kelechi E. Igwe: 48 Garlands to the Most Humble and Loyal Deputy Governor

Posted on June 15, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

By Monica Ada Chidinma Eze

Prelude

Hurray! Hurray!! Hurray o!!! To the glory of almighty God my boss and friend, Dr. Kelechi Eric Igwe the amiable Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State is 48 as I plead with all my friends, fans, admirers and associates all over the world to join me to celebrate this man whose life defines what humility and loyalty is all about.

Having this unassuming, indefatigable, humble and great son of Ebonyi State in mind, one of the best Chinese philosophers, Lao-Tzu also known asLaozi or Lao-Tze credited with founding the philosophical system of Taoism who died in 533 BC described the special attributes of Dr Igwe thus and I quote,”I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”

When I was appointed by my uncle and Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Apostle Dave Nweze Umahi as one of his Technical Assistants on Media in 2016 and was introduced to Dr Kelechi Igwe the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, I asked myself if someone so educated and occupy the second highest office in a State can be this humble. It was then that I took special interest on this man whose life truly redefines humility and loyalty. I can now understand why John Ruskin stated, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.”

Dr Kelechi Eric Igwe an astute and consummate politician was sworn in as Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on May 29, 2015. This core politician who has the trust and confidence of his boss, Governor Dave Nweze Umahi was born on June 17, 1970 to the family of Chief Francis Igwe of Onu-Nwakpu, Ndufu Alike in Ikwo Local Government. He  attended the Umunneato Central School, Oun-Nwakpu Ndufu-Alike, where he graduated with First school leaving certificate and finished his post primary school at Abakaliki High School (Presco) in 1988. He obtained both the General Certificate of Education (GCE) and Senior Secondary School Certificate same year. An Alumni of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka in Anambra State (1989-1993) and attended the Law School, Lagos (1994-1995). He further attended University of Jos where he obtained his M.Sc in Human Resources Management and in 2015 obtained his Ph.D in Law.

Dr Igwe was a member of Governing Council, University of Jos between 2010 and 2011. He also served as Special Assistant, Operations and Mobilization to the Umaru Musa Yar’adua Presidential Campaign in 2007, Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Industry between 1999 and 2002, Principal Partner, Kellys Chambers from 2002 until his election as the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State. He was also the Personal Assistant to the National Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Abuja from 1998 to 1999.

He once served as Executive Director, Dr. Sam Egwu Presidential Campaign and one of the great leaders of the ruling party PDP in Ebonyi State and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Institute of Credit and Risk Management of Nigeria. 

Dr. Kelechi Eric Igwe and His Journey to the Ebonyi State Government House

John Stott one of the best Philosophers of our time could be attributed to have defined the force behind the rise of Dr Igwe to his present status when he stated, “The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.”

But in case Scott’s stand didn’t satisfy you then listen how one of the best Philanthropists of all times, Bill Gates captured the rise and rise of Dr Igwe and where he rightly belongs, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Thousands of Ebonyians who have benefitted one way or the other from this child of God could attest to the fact that Dr Igwe lives and loves the act of given which is the hallmark of his boss, Apostle Dave Nweze Umahi and the partnership of this two great sons of Ebonyi is the testimony of the great feats and remarkable changes currently taking place in Ebonyi State.

The account as told by Governor Umahi and Senator Egwu of how they formed prayer quartet against erstwhile Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martins Elechi through which Dr Kelechi Eric Igwe rose to the office of the Deputy of Ebonyi State is like a fairytale account and this testimony below should truly amaze you.

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and former Governor Sam Egwu narrated how they outwitted the immediate past governor, Martin Elechi and his allies to emerge victorious in the April 2015 elections during a thanksgiving service by Egwu who is the current Senator representing Ebonyi North senatorial zone, in Umuebe in Ohaukwu Local Government Area. They stated that they formed a prayer quartet and handed over their struggle to God and the results are the current offices that they are occupying.

While Egwu, who was the first to disclose this, described Umahi as the arrow head of the struggle, “I remember a particular day, myself, Pius Anyim,David Umahi, and Kelechi Igwe   sat down in the dining room  of the former SGF(Anyim) and we prayed about our mission. We asked God to support us in the mission we had embarked upon. We knew it will be difficult, very, very difficult but we committed it into the hands of God. Four of us prayed that we were going by the grace of God to contest the elections; we prayed that Engr. David Umahi becomes the Governor of Ebonyi State; myself to be the Senator and Kelechi Igwe to be the Deputy Governor. Of course, Senator Anyim said he was not going for any position, but he would solidly be behind us. We thanked God for answering our prayers but I must hail Governor Umahi and Senator Anyim who was the force behind our victories and the face of the struggle in Abuja. With what God did in our lives, I must call on political office seekers to always seek God’s endorsement.

Governor Umahi, in his own remark, also narrated the struggle with former governor Elechi, even after he (Elechi) was advised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to allow Egwu and himself to contest the elections. He disclosed that after their prayers at SGF’s home, they became stronger and more determined to contest the elections. According to Governor Umahi, ” We can’t thank you enough our dear Senator Anyim; we can’t thank you enough. You got all the important personalities to help us; you also brought the funds needed alongside with your friends. At a time, we were more interested in former governor Egwu going to Senate than myself going for governorship position. I must praise Eunice Egwu for lending her support to the struggle as she was our main political consultant.

Finally, Senator Anyim said, I am elated because our prayer for Umahi to become the Governor of Ebonyi State, Kelechi Igwe as the Deputy Governor of the State and for Egwu to become a Senator was answered by God. 

Governor Umahi, Dr Igwe and the 2019 Project

Contrary to the experiences of most Deputy Governors both in the past and present in Nigeria on how they are treated shabbily and reduced to nothingness but in Ebonyi State the story is totally different. In this regard, Gov. David Umahi the wonder working Governor of Ebonyi in support and approval of the inputs of his supportive Deputy have declared to the entire world, that he is happy with his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, and would pick him as his running mate during the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Ebonyi State.

Explaining further, the peoples Governor during a civic reception to honour Dr Igwe organised by the people of Ikwo Noyo, Igwe’s home clan at Onuebonyi Echara in Ikwo Local Government described Dr Igwe thus: “Igwe has been very special; he has been extremely loyal and honest. He has assisted me greatly within these three years in office,. I am lucky to have Igwe as Deputy, declaring that his (Igwe)’s position was “not negotiable and by God’s special power, both of us will continue together beyond 2019.”

Governor Umahi who can be described as the modern Emancipator of Ebonyi State considering his relentless efforts to develop every area of Ebonyi State during the event further stated and I quote, “In Dr. Igwe’s  honour, I shall extend the 18km road that traverses the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), to the rice mill in the area. Work has already commenced on this preoject since March, 2018.”

He directed the Council’s Chairman to “rehabilitate” those that defected from the All Progressive Congress (APC), “so that they will appear differently after defecting to the People’s Democratic Party”. The Governor during the reception also appealed to Ikwo people to re-elect both members of the Ebonyi House of Assembly from the area in 2019, saying that both had garnered useful experience that would help the law making process.

“I will be here, again, to beg you to return Chike Ogiji (PDP–Ikwo South) and Humphrey Nwuruku (PDP—Ikwo North), because I want the House of Assembly to be intact beyond 2019,” he said.

Chief Austin Umahi, the PDP South-East Zonal Vice Chairman, in his remark, urged the governor to listen to the clarion call of the people and seek re-election in 2019. “I am a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and will not allow it assign you greater roles in 2019 because Ebonyi people need you more.”

While Sen. Obinna Ogba (PDP—Ebonyi Central) promised that national assembly members from the state would support the governor’s re-election bid in 2019, saying that they were all proud of his achievements.

Also speaking, Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi, the State’s PDP Chairman, said that the governor’s good work had endured him to the people, making his re-election bid easy.

The governor was given the traditional title of “Okwuoha I’’ (Peoples’ benefactor) of Ikwo, in addition to a bus, a horse, several piece of yams, among others during the reception.

Ebonyi State Politics in the Eyes of Dr. Igwe

One could captures the mind of this great son of Ebonyi State on what he thinks about the future of the State when he opened up on why Ebonyians embarked upon massive rallies in almost all the Local Government Areas of the State and according to him, “The rally evolves from the people of the state to show solidarity to the state governor, Chief Dave Umahi for the good works he is doing in the state and also support the construction of that ring road. The ring road is very important for an Ebonyi man; whether you are from the Central, North or South because that ring road is a key to unlocking the economic potentials of the state. People have been clamouring and calling on the governor that we learnt that some people went to court to challenge the effort of the government to reconstruct that road and people of Ebonyi are saying ‘Governor, please make yourself available, we want to show you solidarity, we want to show you support.’ Unfortunately, the governor was not around. He has travelled for a meeting with Mr. President. The people are saying that they want to converge at the local government areas to demonstrate their support for the construction of the ring road and we cannot stop them. What we can do as government officials are that if we have the time, we will go to various local governments and see what the people are saying, to see whether they are speaking from their mouth or they are speaking from somewhere else.”

On the allegation that the Ebonyi State Government is borrowing money to fund its 2019 general elections, Dr Igwe said, “Anybody who is misleading you with false information that the Ebonyi State government is borrowing for the forthcoming general election is really an enemy of the government and the people of Ebonyi state. Some persons made no investment to ensure that this government came to be. Some persons feel that we removed food from their table because it was like ‘come and chop’ for them.

Government and governance was ‘come and chop’. They felt they needed to fight back and return to power so that Ebonyi State can be looted once more, so that this government can have nothing to show for. Knowing that if the ring road is completed, added to the newest project that the state government has constructed, it will be a very tall order for anybody to rise up and say he wants to contest for the office of the governor of Ebonyi State. In knowing that, they think that one of the strategies to confront them will be to raise a campaign against the approval of that fund.”

Conclusion

When the news about this great and tested leader’s birthday got to me on my sick bed, I asked the Pneumonia attack that kept me hospitalised for two weeks to step aside so that I could put my thought about this man on paper.

Dr Igwe, an astute and charismatic politician and a seasoned administrator with an amiable personality is a phenomenal reformist whose cult-followership stature among the youths and god-fearing people puts him as a leader to be admired, watched and associated with.

Indeed, Dr. Igwe has become legendary for showing limitless benevolence to the downtrodden, associates, colleagues and practical display of immense love and compassion to everyone that has crossed his path in life and I thank God for allowing me cross the golden path of this great son of Ebonyi State.

I will like to conclude this by quoting Rick Warren, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.” And John Maxwell, “Authority is not the power a boss has over subordinates, but rather the boss’s ability to influence subordinates to recognize and accept that power.

Happy Birthday my boss! Happy Birthday the most humble and Loayl Deputy Governor in Nigeria!! Happy Birthday to one of the most educaed Deputy Governor in Nigeria!!! God bless you for us and grant you better and greater years ahead!!! In Jesus Name!

Finally, Dr Igwe is married to the Amazon and elegant Nnenna Igwe and are blessed with three children.

  • Monica Ada Chidinma Eze is the President, DUNAETA & Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor Dave Nweze Umahi and can be reached through: dunaebonyitransformation001@gmail.com or quintrelking@gmail.com
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Child Bride: Issue facing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) attainment in Africa

Posted on June 14, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

Child Bride: Issue facing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) attainment in Africa

By Ekene Odigwe

Noura Hussein Hammad was forced to experience the misery of child marriage at the age of fifteen. Despite her refusal, she got married on paper to one of her relatives at 15 years old, and three years later the husband – along with her family insisted to complete the official wedding ceremony. Miss Hammad escaped to stay with her aunt in Sinnar city to avoid her fate, but was deceived by her father who convinced her to return, claiming that the family stopped the marriage ceremony. Upon her return, was surprised with the preparations of her own wedding which ended up happening against her will. She went to Khartoum with her husband and stayed in an apartment in Mohandiseen as part of their honeymoon. Noura refused to consummate the marriage for five days and on the sixth day, her husband brought his brother and cousins and they held her while he raped her. The next day, on May 3rd 2017, the husband tried to rape her again, but she stood up for herself and stabbed him in the back with a knife that he brought into the bedroom to threaten her into sleeping with him. After she stabbed him in different parts of his body, she ran to her family’s home where she admitted what she had done. Her father took her to the police station. Subsequently, her family abandoned her, never visited her or provided any support. On April 19th 2018, Noura was charged under article 130 of the criminal act and on the 10th of May 2018 sentenced to death and some activist lawyers are appealing her case. This is the most recent scenario in The Sudan a country in Northern Africa that is number 5 on International ranking of Child marriage rates, statistics from UNICEF in 2017 shows that 9% were married off by their 15 years while 52% were married by 18, this implies that approximately 1 in 3 girls in the Sudan are married before their 18th birthday.

Well, In Nigeria the story is not so different as 43% of girls are married off before their 18th birthday. 17% are married before they turn 15. According to UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017 report, Nigeria currently sits at international ranking of 11 on Child marriage rates though the prevalence of child marriage varies widely from one region to another, with figures as high as 76% in the North West region and as low as 10% in the South East. Available Data shows a 9% decline in the prevalence of child marriage since 2003 however action is still needed to prevent thousands of girls from being married in the coming years.

Child marriage directly hinders the achievement of at least six of the Sustainable Development Goals. Child marriage violates girls’ rights to health, education and opportunity. It exposes girls to violence throughout their lives, and traps them in a cycle of poverty. The indigenous African traditional system restricts the education of the girl child to the well-known form of Informal domestic education in which she receives training at home on hygiene, cooking, laundry and general home management. Some parents would easily give their girl child’s hand in marriage to some older wealthier man believing that the marriage will bring some economic gains their way.

Nurah Mohammed 35 was arrested after he tried to kill his 13 year-old wife Ai’sha. His young bride had angered him by fleeing their home to stay with her mother after enduring years of abuse from her husband and mother-in-law. Nurah came to the mother’s house to kill Ai’sha for leaving their home, and ended up stabbing Ai’sha’s grandmother multiple times as well when she tried to cover Ai’sha with her body to protect her. Ai’sha was engaged to Nurah when she was only a 1-year-old and was married at 9. As a premature bride, she lacked the skills to be a proper wife, which resulted in the abuse she received. Ai’sha’s mother, Latifah, said, ‘I kept my daughter at my house and hoped to explain to my son-in-law why he should not beat her, but he barged into the house and tried to kill her.”

In the eastern part of Nigeria, there’s a saying “ogo bu chi onye” literary meaning that someone’s in-law is his god. It is so because they believe those in-laws bring succour and that can only be an act of god. This is majorly economic succour that’s why at a tender age they restrict the training at home.

Father of a bride, Obi Oko, 60, said he is unhappy giving his daughter away at such a young age, but has no choice due to severe poverty. ‘I am very poor and have many problems,’ Obi Oko said. ‘I need money and I have three other daughters. Do you think I want to marry my daughter so young?’ the daughter Nnenna is 9 and married off to 58 year old Dimgba.

Apart from obvious reasons of poverty, major factors are responsible for child bride; these include traditional practices, religious or customary laws and social/ family honour. According to the UN, 37,000 girls under the age of 18 are married each day. We now have the greatest number of married girls and girls at-risk of child marriage than ever before, therefore 1 in 3 girls in the developing world are married before 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15. If the present trend continues, more than 140 million girls would be married before the age of 18 in the next decade.

Though some believe that this idea is fast becoming a thing of the past considering the ever-dynamic nature of people and culture all over the world, these recent stories beg to differ. It is not becoming a thing of the past rather it is becoming less pronounced but still in effect. These are just few recorded stories around here, a lot of persons are scared of speaking up, and they have been told that “ala” the god of the land will strike them dead if they dare tell anyone, so they just keep enduring the violence, the trauma, the agony and the evil it brings. Child marriage violates the rights of children; it affects both boys and girls, but it is more common among girls and child brides are also subject to extreme domestic and sexual abuse, causing psychological, physical harm and dangerous pregnancies.

Recent research by UNICEF shows that worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. 17% of them, or 125 million, live in Africa and for a place like The Sudan where Child bride are sold for cows with the refusal resulting in a death sentence like in the case of Noura one can only imagine what will be the possibility of achieving the 17 SDGs with its 169 subsections.

With inadequate legislative framework and the state of a country’s civil registration system in place the implementation of African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child is only but a dream. In 2003, Nigeria signed the International Human Rights convention agreement on the rights of child. It was officially passed into law in 2003 by Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the Children’s Rights Act 2003 (CRA). It was created to serve as a legal documentation and protection of Children rights and responsibilities in Nigeria but the question is has the law being implemented especially as it concerns child marriage?

Understanding that all these goals are interconnected and to achieve one is to achieve all. It dawns on us all that we cannot cheery pick any one and tweaks it to suit our narrative then ignore the rest. Child marriage effectively ends a girl’s childhood, curtails her ability of acquiring education, minimizes her economic opportunities, increases her risk of domestic violence, and puts her at risk of early, frequent, and very high-risk pregnancies with deteriorating health conditions. Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s and face higher risk of pregnancy-related injuries, such as obstetric fistula. Child brides are often unable to negotiate safer sexual practices and are therefore at a higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The negative consequences of child marriage reach beyond the girls themselves: children of child brides are 60 percent more likely to die in the first year of life than those born to mothers older than 19, and families of child brides are more likely to be poor and unhealthy

So in order to achieve sustainable development goals and meet the aspirations of Agenda 2063 that envisions the “Africa We Want”, Africa must accelerate and increase strategic investments in its young people no matter their sex or gender and rebuild our women especially our girl children. Our judicial institutions should do better, embrace what is coming and begin to restructure to protect our children. Government and civil society organisations should make plans of taking this message to the grassroots, invite all stakeholders: from high influencers / low interest to low influencers/ high interest groups to the table. Training and seminars should be organized for Religious leaders, Town union Presidents’ general, Traditional rulers and the Media. Empowerment programmes, hygiene education, family planning training need to be coordinated for the girls already trapped in this cycle. They should be nurtured as children that they are, allowed to be children and not brides.

Introduction

@Ekeneodigwe is OAP @coalcity929fm Advocate @afrikaYM Fellow @YALINetwork

SDGs Champion & Social media campaigner

#Activista with 7 honours & 3 Fellowship awards

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Why a Social Contract Is Inevitable for the Common Man

Posted on June 10, 2018. Filed under: Opinion |

By Adebayo Raphael

Fellow Nigerians,

There is a saying in Nigeria that when you have a behemoth ahead of you, you fight it; when the behemoth is behind you, you face it and fight it, too; but when you are alone, you must rethink your strategy.

For a country endowed with immense human and natural resources like Nigeria, fifty-eight years is too long a time to be plagued by lack of basic amenities and leaders who are primarily driven by self-greed than they are common good.

It is almost a commonplace assertion that when leaders fail to provide solutions, they are unworthy of their appellation. The trend of failure in leadership in Nigeria has been emblematic of betrayal, incompetence, and executive dereliction. The decades-long demonstration of goodwill and selflessness by we the people of Nigeria have brought us nothing but brutal betrayal of faith and trust by political leaders. By engaging in dereliction of political obligation, leaders in high and low chambers of power have remorselessly sabotaged our commonwealth. Now we are at the precipice of the Rubicon River and, we have the option to either return to the manacles of executive lawlessness and political slavery or press on to reclaim our collective wealth. For there is no better way to demonstrate patriotism than to pursue a cause in which the common man may derive fulfillment.

Suffice it to say, peace and development are mere words where injustice, tyranny, and anarchy reigns.

Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic on 29 May 1999, politics in Nigeria has been a one-sided affair. Rather than politics of inclusion, what has been in vogue is the politics of deception and oppression. And when deception goes on for too long, in a particular society, it becomes the norm. Whereas oppression is easily noticeable, deception is not. And when oppression goes on for too long, the people, out of fear or personal benefit, become mute and numb. The greater good, for which leaders are democratically elected, is often relegated for self-good when the people fail to hold leaders accountable.

Again, it is often deliberate, when leaders neglect their political obligation and democratically practice dictatorship, and sufficiently preoccupy the people with inanities and frustration, while they loot and plunder, as we have seen in recent times. This Machiavellian style of leadership has been more evident in Nigeria’s polity than not. The cycle is a vicious one that derails governance completely.

As heart-breaking as this may seem, what is perhaps more strikingly begging attention is the pervasive non-resistance from the most critical and most affected divide between the two parties in question – we the people. Suffice it to say, that there are two parties in Nigeria; we the people on the one hand, and the politicians on the other. While we the people are law-abiding, the politicians are not. While we the people are honest in our dealings, the politicians are not. While we the people are desirous of the greater good, the politicians are not. While we the people are patriots primarily concerned with the common good, the politicians are not. And when in a union, a party is dishonorable in its conduct, the purpose of such union is often defeated, easily. It is, however, the responsibility of the party which is more honorable in such union to visit upon the dishonorable other, a sanction for betrayal.

To be exact, the process through which a leader emerges in a democratic society is enabled by the collective will of the two parties earlier mentioned, to be so committed. But it is important to note, that we the people have all the aces at this initial stage of the union; to either vote for the politicians or not. For it is a great sacrifice and unparalleled display of courage, that we the people are yielding our natural right to govern, to a person or persons, who will represent and protect our collective interest, while we remain law-abiding, and perform our social and civic obligations.

It is also important to note, that a contract is born, at the point where both parties pledge their absolute commitments to the union. This contract is also called a social contract. For it is indeed a social contract when we the people commit ourselves to the process of democratically electing a leader or leaders, who in exchange for our votes, bring prosperity, development, and peace to our society, ensuring that not some, but all of us, are beneficiaries of good governance. However, I must emphasize that social contracts are born to protect the interest of the parties involved. When one party fails to honor the deed of the social contract, it is incumbent on the other party to the contract to visit consequences upon the one who first broke the contract. In our case, we the people of Nigeria have the supreme power in a social contract, at any point in a democratic space; whether before, during, or after an election, so long as we remain honest to our obligations in the contract.

To be clear, when for instance, a party seeking a contract before election promises to create three million jobs per year and generate, transmit and distribute at least 20, 000MW of electricity within four years; Ban all government officials from seeking medical care abroad; State and community policing, public declaration of assets and liabilities, among other vain promises, and fails to honor these promises after election into office, it behooves the other party to such contract, in this case – the people, to effectuate mass public disobedience throughout the tenure of such party in power until he either concedes to the people or, if he remains arrogantly defiant in power whilst his honor and integrity is shredding away, be punished by means of denial to cast a vote for him during a re-election bid.

It is also important to note that a social contract between the people and politicians is a critical tool to dissuade and eradicate corruption and boost moral integrity in our electoral process. The politics of stomach-infrastructure is endemic in Nigeria’s electoral process, so much so that it permeates every nook and cranny of the polity.  This ignoble tradition is harmful to our collective moral integrity. It threatens collective reasoning, stifles development, and empowers corruption on a mass scale. However, if we must demand a social contract, we must do so with absolute honesty and emulous morality. It is simply hypocritical, to demand a standard to which one stands aloof, from others.

It must be emphasized, however, that the primary importance of a social contract is to define mutual obligations between we the people and the politicians. It is to enhance the ideals of rationalism and criticism. For he is a dunce, he who enters a contract without the intention of demanding accountability when his counterpart defaults dishonorably. Again, when we the people demand a social contract before voting any politician, we create a room for accountable democracy in our polity. Nevertheless, it is not enough to demand a social contract before an election and return to sleep afterward. For slumber enables non-resistance, which ultimately encourages misrule in governance. For it is human nature, to be selfish and unaccountable when there are no checks and balances.

As recently seen with Park Geun-Hye of South Korea, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and even Jacob Zuma of South Africa; corruption thrives easily in an environment where the people fail to ask questions. The collective will of the people is ultimate and unassailable.

In conclusion, therefore, I must emphasize that the responsibility of we the people is to act as the ultimate watchdog in a social contract. Politicians cannot be trusted. However, we stand a better chance at good governance when we demand a social contract than not. For there is a similitude between a social contract for the common man and a soccer team captain. In a common man contract, a politician is democratically elected through a collective will of the people to give up their right to govern, for the politician to deliver good and accountable governance for all. Likewise in a soccer team, a captain is chosen to represent the common interest of the team and demonstrate capacity by gingering the team to win. However, when a team captain is sluggish and dull, he gets replaced quickly. In the same vein, we the people of Nigeria must create a precedence to hold our leaders accountable by joining the OurMumuDonDo Movement to propagate the significance of demanding a social contract from politicians especially as the 2019 general election is fast upon us.

Our Mumu Don Do!

Adebayo Raphael is the National Secretary of OurMumuDonDo Movement. He writes from Abuja and can be reached via Twitter (@adebayoraph) or email (Raphaeladebayo@ymail.com).

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