Opinion

The Ogoni Cleanup and a Sense of Decency

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

The Ogoni Cleanup and a Sense of Decency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amaechi: The Quintessential Leader and His Endless Persecution

Posted on May 17, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

 

“Nigerians can now attest that Amaechi stands as the most vilified, persecuted politician in Nigeria for his bravery, patriotism and commitment to work for a better future for our country. I remain convinced that God who has seen him this far will always safeguard him from the Wikes and Fayoses, whose favourite pastime is their obsession to plot Amaechi’s downfall – a satanic project which Almighty God will continue to frustrate to the shame of all the Wikes, Fayoses and Fani-Kayodes of this world.”

Amaechi: The Quintessential Leader and His Endless Persecution                              

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

Preamble

Today, in the politics of Nigeria, the only major assignment of most politicians as they strategise for the 2019 general elections is how to either castigate or fabricate lies to run down Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the erstwhile governor of Rivers State and incumbent Minister of Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If they are not doing this, these misguided politicians are busy on how to ensure that his political structure is dismantled. Today, in the politics of our country, Amaechi stands out as one of the most vilified, persecuted and harassed politician in the history of our country. As a concerned Nigerian and one who has followed religiously the politics of this enigma and misunderstood leader of our time, it behoves on me to attempt to x-ray some of these travails and current strategy being explored to ensure the irrelevance of this man come 2019. Sadly, this is a man that ought to be celebrated for freeing Nigeria and Nigerians from the calamitous shackles of an administration that trades more in the arts and acts of looting of our common patrimony with impunity, instead, he is being vilified by those who would have preferred the promotion and sustenance of an administration that would have collapsed this country by now.

Some of the facts on how Amaechi suffers in the hands of these politicians are presented below for you the reader to judge:-

When it was very obvious that Amaechi has nothing to do with the $43 million discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a luxurious apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos State, the soon to be rested Ahmed Makarfi led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faction and her sponsors, in order to create sensation, they have to link Amaechi to the ownership of the said sum. Through her agents, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode who went to town shouting themselves hoarse to their shame and bewilderment of Nigerians that the fund not only belongs to Amaechi, that Amaechi is the owner of the said luxurious apartment. Governor Wike went to a ridiculous level by alleging that the sum was Rivers State Government fund looted by Amaechi when he was in office as Governor of the state. He threatened to sue the Federal Government, if it fails to return the money to the coffers of the Rivers State Government within two weeks. He claimed that he has documents to prove that the said sum belongs to Rivers State. It is now over a month after this threat; Wike is yet to sue the Federal Government in this regard.

The fact remains and it is on record that, apart from the Abuja residence of Amaechi, he has no other single plot of land in any part of this country, so linking him to the ownership of the contentious Ikoyi estate and the huge sum found in it is nothing but an invidious plot to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. It is sad and shameful that a frustrated and disgraceful group, with Wike and Fayose as the key actors, should attempt to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of Amaechi just because he collaborated with other patriotic Nigerians to oust a regime that is now exposed as the most corrupt ever in the history of Nigeria.

Recently, Mr Felix Obuah, State chairman of the soon to be rested PDP faction issued a statement celebrating a phantom court judgment authorising the Rivers State Government to go ahead to set up a judicial commission to probe some aspects of the administration of Amaechi during his tenure as governor of Rivers State. Mr. Felix Obuah who was once saved from the pangs of death by Amaechi derives much pleasure these days in carrying out his master-task of ridiculing Amaechi and calling for his sack from the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria.

 

Recently also, these enemies of democracy have taken their trade to another level are currently strategising on how to dismantle all the political structures belonging to Amaechi. In this regard, they have engineered divisions in the Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure that the party is not united, strong, and viable to salvage the state from the hands of those that have turned the state into ‘Rivers of blood’. Today, the only thing we hear from Rivers State is Amaechi’s faction, Abe’s faction, Dakuku’s faction and, maybe, by tomorrow they will come up with Eze’s faction. Let me state without equivocation that Rivers State APC is one united family under the able leadership of Rt. Hon Amaechi as its leader as the factions only exist in the minds of those who want the continuous killing of our people with impunity. All these lies and attempts of a divided Rivers APC are aimed at setting confusion in the party that is being restructured and positioned as one egalitarian, viable, virile and credible structure to salvage the state from the hands of those whose only source and means of leadership is the ceaseless and senseless killing of Rivers State people.

It may interest you, dear reader, to know that all these desperate, mischievous, wicked, diabolical, evil attempts are aimed to run down an innocent man, whose only crime is that he led APC to defeat a party that prides itself as the largest political party in Africa. It is very sad and unfortunate that over two years that Amaechi led APC to dust PDP in the 2015 general elections; the soon to be rested PDP factional leadership has refused to forgive Amaechi for disgracing them out of power and salvaging our nation from a system whose corruptive tendency is not only contagious but legendary.

Let me state that this group not only is deadly but is ever ready and capable to do anything in order to ridicule, rubbish and bring Amaechi down including praying for the death of President Muhammadu Buhari if that will enable them get at Amaechi as soon as possible but they seem to forgot that they are not God who assisted Nigerians to elect Buhari as the President of Nigeria and that this God is very capable not only to protect but secure the life of Mr. President until it is his time for him to join his ancestors. Even as we know that the efforts and schemes of this group will amount to an exercise in futility if the spiritual meanings of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi are anything to go by – Chibuike means “God is all Powerful and “Rotimi” an abridged version of “Oluwadurotimi” meaning “the Lord stands by me”, while Amaechi means “who knows tomorrow?”

Let me state that I intend in this treatise after formally presenting to you the reader the person and personality of Amaechi attempt to expose other steps both past and present this group has adopted in their single mission of destroying Amaechi and then leave you the reader to take your own stand.

Profiling Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON, Hon Minister of Transportation

Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who was on Nov. 11, 2015 sworn-in as Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Transportation, was born in Ubima, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, to the family of late Elder Fidelis Amaechi and Mrs Mary Amaechi. University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State, was where Amaechi laid the foundation of his political life, participating actively in student union politics, especially in the National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS), of which he was president, and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). After graduation, he cut his teeth in politics as secretary of the now defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, from 1992 to 1994 he was Special Assistant to Dr Peter Odili, then deputy governor of Rivers State; member of the Board of West Africa Glass Industry as well as Risonpalm Nigeria Limited. He was secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the Rivers State Chapter of the disbanded Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) in 1996 during the transition programme of the Gen Sani Abacha junta.

In 1999, Amaechi contested and won a seat to become a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly to represent his constituency. He was subsequently elected Speaker of the House of Assembly as well as Chairman of Nigeria’s Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies. He was re-elected into the State House of Assembly in May 2003 and equally re-elected Speaker. A master’s degree holder, Amaechi’s assumption of office as governor of Rivers State, based on a Supreme Court judgement after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dumped him, despite his convincingly winning the party’s gubernatorial ticket, remains a mystery to many political watchers in the country. He was a two time Governor of Rivers State and two time Chairman of Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). His unprecedented feats in the transformation of Rivers State have won him many international and local awards as well as the respect of great world and Nigerian leaders.

Amaechi was the rallying force behind mobilising the governors under PDP to support the presidential aspiration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan during the PDP Presidential Primaries that produced Jonathan as the PDP flag-bearer and during the 2011 presidential election proper ensured that President Jonathan got over 2 million votes from Rivers State – the highest by any state in Nigeria then. A misunderstood but an amiable personality; his forthrightness and boldness to stand by the truth attracts so much enemies to him, particularly those who cannot withstand his manner of approach to result-oriented feats. His numerous ‘sins’ will be highlighted later.

Amaechi, holder of the National honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), is a Christian of the Catholic faith where he is a Knight of St John. Amaechi was appointed Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign. The team led the party to victory in the March 28, 2015 presidential election in which a sitting president was roundly defeated for the first time. He is the incumbent Minister of Transportation.

Amaechi and the wrath of his people

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

Chief Nyesom Wike, sadly, allowed himself to be used as a tool by former President Jonathan, his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, and their collaborators in their blind ambition to destroy Amaechi, whom they saw as a threat to their continued plundering of the common patrimony of our nation. The third factor was the gathering or unification of those that see Amaechi as a threat to the realisation of their political ambitions in Rivers State.. The last, but not the least, was the ambition of Chief Nyesom Wike to govern Rivers State, which many never knew until it was too late to stop him. It was his ambition and readiness to provide himself as a tool for the realisation of the goal – which was to destroy Amaechi by any means – that united all these other groups. They embarked upon this project with zeal without knowing the end but, knowing what future portends for Wike, Amaechi and Jonathan, I did my best to dissuade them from this unwarranted struggle; but Wike and Jonathan refused to see reason. The result was the failure of Jonathan to survive the 2015 general elections.

How Amaechi became the rallying point for the decimation of PDP

John Maxwell and General Montgomery must have had Amaechi in mind when they stated respectively that, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” and “My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence”. These quotes by these great men simply attest to the ability of Amaechi to conceive the way and mobilise Nigerians to send packing a party that prides itself as the largest and biggest political movement in Africa. How did he achieve this uncommon feat is stated below.

The decimation of PDP commenced when in its desperation the PDP Leadership then embarked upon a journey codenamed “Why Amaechi must be destroyed”. This drive led to Amaechi’is departure from the party, alongside six other PDP Governors, to form the New PDP, with five of them later joining the mega opposition political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Explaining why he joined APC, Amaechi said: “Unfortunately, recent events within the PDP have given me reason to reconsider our collective interest as people of the South South and indeed as Rivers people. At various times, as the one whom you gave your mandate, I had cause to complain about the marginalisation of our State and our people despite our huge contribution to the national coffers and our unflinching commitment and support for the ruling PDP. While the political and economic importance of Rivers State cannot be contested, we continue to hold the shorter end of the stick.

“A few instances may suffice: Our demand that the Federal Government return oil wells belonging to Rivers State to us has gone unheeded and been treated with levity under this administration. Rather, our oil wells have been ceded to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom states. Even after we got a judgment that the oil wells were wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom State and should be returned to us; only dry wells that were no longer producing oil were returned.

“In the specific case of the Soku oil wells, despite a decision reached that the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters concerning it are resolved, the Federal government continues to pay neighbouring Bayelsa State the revenues meant for Rivers State in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is indeed noteworthy that we have made several representations formally and informally on this matter.

“A second instance is the total absence of federal presence in Rivers State. The ‘National Good Governance Tour’ provided a good opportunity for the Federal Government to showcase its presence in Rivers State. The tour, if nothing else, proved that there was not much to show in a state that is the cash cow of the federation. The East-West Road remains abandoned, work has been deliberately slow on the Port Harcourt International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country, while all airports started along with it have long been completed and commissioned. The Bonny-Bomu Road that leads to the only functional liquefied natural gas project remains uncompleted. In the midst of all these, our administration went ahead to fix federal roads to the tune of N103 billion. Several representations and letters after, not one kobo has been repaid. The Federal Government is actively discouraging investments in Rivers State.”

Endless persecutions

Despite Amaechi’s great show of love to former President Jonathan, he was subjected to monumental humiliation by the Jonathan’s Administration. A few examples: The plane of the Rivers State Government was grounded for no just cause, the PDP Structure in Rivers State was taken away from him, and his election as the Chairman of NGF duly certified and acknowledged worldwide was annulled by ex- President Jonathan and his cohorts. As if that was not enough, Amaechi was suspended from a party he so much loved and spent so much to build. Indeed, if not for divine providence, he would have been illegally impeached by five legislators in a House of 32 members; a Police Commissioner by name Mr. Joseph Mbu was posted to haunt, insult and abuse him publicly, calling him a despot. What is more, some ex Governors that came to visit him were stoned by Wike’s boys! In the eyes of Nigerians, Amaechi stands as a great man while in the eyes of those haunting him he is a persona non grata.

Amaechi was ambushed and refused entry . . . into Ekiti by military personnel acting on orders from above and was made to turn back and return to Akure where his chartered aircraft was parked but was chased and rounded by armed soldiers and security personnel in Odudu, Ondo State. According to the captain who led the operation, he had orders not to allow the Amaechi entry or exit.” There was also an attempt later made to detain him at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, when he went to felicitate with the then new Emir of Kano, HRH Alh Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Wike’s single agenda

Chief Nyesom Wike’s desperation to drag Amaechi’s name in the mud in order to frustrate his nomination or appointment as a minster, made he (Wike) to sponsor a satanic documentary on Amaechi aired on Africa Independent Television (AIT). This satanic documentary was part of Wike’s propaganda war against Amaechi, for which he earmarked billions of naira in his wicked plot to destroy and decimate the person and character of Amaechi. Other propaganda tools planned and deployed during this period, in the war against Amaechi, include sponsored publications such as advertorials, columns, editorials and Op-Ed articles in major international, national and local print media; sponsored personality discussion programmes in the electronic media and sponsored special documentaries on television and radio through independent groups and organisations.

This insidious plot by Wike include commissioning a team made up of persons within and outside Rivers State to ‘initiate, formulate and contrive false damaging reports bordering on alleged corrupt practices by Amaechi, which were circulated to individuals and institutions within Nigeria and abroad with a view to damaging the incorruptible character and rising profile of Hon Rotimi Amaechi, in order to blackmail and put pressure on President Buhari not to appoint the former governor into his government. These cooked reports to the shock of many Nigerians was sent to the Senate and presented through one misguided Senator Thompson Sekibo, which the Senate referred to the Ethics Committee of the Senate, which caused the delay in Amaechi’s screening and confirmation as a minister. Amaechi has through both the immediate past Secretary to the Rivers State Government, George Feyi, and the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Chamberlain Peterside, and others denied any form of corruption against him by Wike and his cohorts.

Wike did not stop at these but went further to set up Justice George Omereji Panel, to investigate the administration of Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi. Though the panel did not found any wrong-dealing, or corrupt practices by Amaechi, Wike went ahead to issue a white paper indicting him of embezzling the sum of N53 billion, How on earth can someone in his right senses describe funds withdrawn with the approval of the legislature and spent as prescribed by the state budget to be missing? Wike, in his desperation to stop Amaechi’s appointment as a minister, resorted to dancing naked in the market place.

But as God will have it, and contrary to the expectations of Chief Wike and his gang of miserable ingrates, their ferocious campaign to blackmail, disparage and portray  Amaechi as a very corrupt person unfit to be appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, failed to achieve the desired objective; as on September 30, 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari went ahead to list and submit the name of Chibuike Amaechi along with those of 20 other great Nigerians as ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.

And to the shock and chagrin of Wike and his cohorts, the Senate, after three sittings on the ministerial screening of the ministerial nominees, screened Amaechi on October 22, 2015 and formally confirmed him on October 29, 2015. He was subsequently sworn-in with the 35 other ministers on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, by President Buhari, who as a further mark of confidence in the Lion of Ubima assigned to him the strategically important Ministry of Transportation.

Conclusion

Nigerians can now attest that Amaechi stands as the most vilified, persecuted politician in Nigeria for his bravery, patriotism and commitment to work for a better future for our country. I remain convinced that God who has seen him this far will always safeguard him from the Wikes and Fayoses, whose favourite pastime is their obsession to plot Amaechi’s downfall – a satanic project which Almighty God will continue to frustrate to the shame of all the Wikes, Fayoses and Fani-Kayodes of this world.

Let me urge and plead with the Wikes, Fayoses and their cohorts to try and listen to Thomas Babington Macaulay who postulated that, “To punish a man because we infer from the nature of some doctrine which he holds, or from the conduct of other persons who hold the same doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, is persecution, and is, in every case, foolish and wicked” and try and leave Amaechi alone.

I will conclude this treatise by using the quote of Rita Levi-Montalcini a Nobel award winner, “If I had not been discriminated against or had not suffered persecution, I would never have received the Nobel Prize” to encourage Amaechi that he should not be dismayed as one day Nigerians will gather to celebrate him for offering himself as a rallying point to ouster an administration that never meant any good for this country.

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

 

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The Audacity of Peterside: His Stewardship as NIMASA DG, Rise as Africa’s No. 1 Maritime Administrator & His 2019 politics

Posted on May 4, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

President Muhammadu Buhari captured the mood and minds of most Nigerians in his congratulatory message to this enigma of a leader on his election as the new chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrators, at the end of the third annual conference of the continental organisation in Abuja. The President noted: “Peterside’s unanimous election is not only a personal honour and affirmation of confidence in his ability to lead AAMA, but also places Nigeria in a pivotal position to rally other maritime administrations in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) towards safer global maritime activities.”

The Audacity of Peterside: His Stewardship as NIMASA DG, Rise as Africa’s No. 1 Maritime Administrator & His 2019 politics

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze 

Preamble

Carl von Clausewitz a Prussian general and influential military theorist noted famously for his military treatise Vom Kriege where he stated and I quote, “If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.  In this treatise, I intend to unveil to the world a young dynamic Nigerian leader (Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside) who has pursued his vision with audacity and strength of will to somersault all obstacles to become Africa’s number one Maritime Administrator.

John C Maxwell a renowned Philosopher may have had this new revelation in the leadership circle of Nigeria (Dr Dakuku Peterside) in mind when he postulated: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. In living this truism, prior to being appointed the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the agency was more of cash-cow for Nigerian politicians, without any focus and direction, until he brought his Midas touch and changes the face and perception of the agency.

It was based on some of the feats by this new revelation in the leadership circle that brought the bests in maritime industry in Africa under the auspices of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) on Friday, April 21, 2017 in Abuja, the Nigeria capital, gathered to honour and elect one of the newest and finest Nigeria leaders as the Chairman and President of AAMA during its three-day third edition of AAMA Conference, by maritime administrators from 32 countries, from 19th to 21st April 2017. It was a historical and epochal day when Nigeria made history through Peterside, the incumbent Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, to become the chairman and president of AAMA. Peterside succeeds Mr Sobantu Tilayi, who is presently the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Administration.

President Muhammadu Buhari captured the mood and minds of most Nigerians in his congratulatory message to this enigma of a leader on his election as the new chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrators, at the end of the third annual conference of the continental organisation in Abuja.

The President noted: “Peterside’s unanimous election is not only a personal honour and affirmation of confidence in his ability to lead AAMA, but also places Nigeria in a pivotal position to rally other maritime administrations in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) towards safer global maritime activities.”

His spokesman, Femi Adesina, in the statement said President Buhari believes that given NIMASA’s encouraging performance under Peterside, especially in the fight against sea piracy through inter-agency cooperation, he has no doubt that his new position provides him with even bigger platform to forge ahead in doing the nation proud, by meeting the objectives of AAMA. The President, while wishing the new chairman of AAMA successful one-year tenure, expressed confidence that within this period, the Federal Government’s renewed focus on growing the Nigerian economy through increased maritime resources will be further enhanced.

This pride of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Nigerians started his public political life principally when he was appointed Commissioner of Works under the administration of erstwhile governor of Rivers State and incumbent Federal Minister of Transportation, Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, from 2007 to 2011, where he (Peterside) excelled, redefined and created most of the major roads, flyovers and bridges in Rivers State. Since he left office in 2011, Rivers State is yet to get a reputable replacement for that office till date. This was a man who used midnight for the supervision of most of the key projects under his watch.

A former House of Representatives member and immediate-past governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, Peterside has demonstrated a sterling leadership quality that is by today acknowledged by the world and African leaders to warrant this type of elevation. He has proved that his appointment by President Buhari, based on the recommendation of Amaechi, was in order. He has by this feat proved that the Rivers State spirit is in him, by positioning himself as one of the new revelations in the leadership circle in Nigeria. I can now agree with our amiable President Buhari, who spoke through Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo – during the unveiling of the new of symbol of NIMASA – that Peterside has made Nigeria proud, by regenerating NIMASA and making it a centre of excellence for other countries to emulate.

An astute and charismatic politician and a seasoned administrator with an amiable personality, Peterside 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.

Peterside as NIMASA DG

The appointment of Peterside, the Rivers APC standard-bearer in the 2015 general elections as the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is well-deserved. It is a case of putting a square peg in a square hole.

As a tested and trusted reformist-minded administrator, who has all it takes to reform and transform NIMASA into the pride of Nigeria and Africa, Peterside has proven that his appointment was not misplaced.

“Dr Peterside who met a primitive NIMASA comes well prepared for the task of breathing a new life into NIMASA. Apart from boasting of a sound academic background that includes a degree in Business Administration (Management) and certificates in Leadership and Project Management, he holds a doctorate degree in Organizational Management with research interest in Corporate Political Strategy.

Dr. Peterside is reputed as an authority in corporate strategy and business-government relations. He acquitted himself creditably in all his previous assignments, including as Commissioner for Works in Rivers State and a distinguished member of the House of Representatives and Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) during the Seventh Assembly.

He is a well-known champion of reform and strengthening of institutions as key to unlocking development potentials. Dr Dakuku Peterside, a legislator par excellence has served at all levels of government in Nigeria: local, state and national and, is fast establishing himself as a national reference speaker on oil and gas policy and legislation matters.

Peterside has been a most sought-after resource person in international conference: he was a major speaker at the 2013 Middle East Downstream Week held in Abu Dhabi in May, 2013 and the 2013 World Refining and Petrochemical Technology Summit in Doha, Qatar, among many other speaking engagements around the globe. I have no doubt in my mind that he will excel on his new assignment as the NIMASA Director General,”

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s confidence reposed in Peterside, as evidenced in his appointment as the helmsman of a strategic parastatal like NIMASA and President of a big association like AAMA, was not misplaced based on his feats so far in this task.

His Mandate

To Dr Peterside, “our core mandate is to regulate shipping in Nigeria and promote indigenous shipping”. We have a presidential approval to set up new security architecture for four maritime domains. That is one area we have done well. In the areas of cabotage law enforcement, there has been a lot of improvement. We have more Nigerians on board cabotage vessel than we had one year ago. We have more cabbotage vessels than we had one year ago. One year ago we had less than 300, now we have more than 300 cabbotage vessels on our register. Now that we have a downturn in oil and gas, most cabotage vessels support oil and gas activities and so, if you ask me, vertically and horizontally, we have made a lot of progress. Nigeria is becoming a stronger voice globally in the area of maritime.

We have hosted the Association of Maritime Administrators in the 32 member maritime association in Nigeria in April 2017. We are also bidding to return to IMO council. Something we lost many years ago. Smaller nations are in the council. Liberia is in the council. We are not supposed not to be there. We drew attention to the fact that of all cargos headed to Africa, minimum of 60 per cent will end up in Nigeria and it means we have significant interest in the maritime industry. So, we are being acknowledged as the real voice of Africa in the industry.

In ISPS compliance, you saw that the Americans were here recently. Before now, we had achieved less than 12 per cent compliance with the ISPS code but in the past two years, they have rated us above 75 per cent compliance. The ISPS code is a very important instruction in the international shipping industry. We have been rated very highly by the US coast Guard.

 

Finally, we subjected ourselves to what is called International Maritime Auditing scheme and the IMO auditing scheme had had rated us highly. So, in every aspect, we are recording great successes that are undeniable. I think we have done well.

His Reforms

According to Dr Peterside, about a year ago, when we assumed office, we discovered that the agency was still struggling with the framework of the two federal parastatals that were merged to form it. This conflict of identity was inevitable as the two previous bodies had been separate entities with peculiar objectives, business processes and operational complexities. To merge them required a sustainable process for management of results and expectations. To achieve this, we set about what we christened the 3R model, which is to reform, restructure and reposition it for the new roles and responsibilities within our core mandate. We developed a strategic document which has short, medium and long-term components to serve as our roadmap.

This document has been approved by our board of directors. Within our first year in office, management ensured the promotion of staff, particularly those in management cadre. This was a legacy achievement because this type of promotion only happened once, in 2007.

We have injected into the agency a completely new work ethic and energy by creating a smart vision, a mission statement and core values. We have also introduced knowledge transfer sessions to improve on internal capacity at minimal cost.

One major part of our reforms at NIMASA has been the restructuring of the agency’s operation, leading to devolution of powers to the zonal offices. This is to remove avoidable bureaucratic bottlenecks while reducing time for business transactions with the agency. This is a work in progress and we are optimistic that the decentralisation will be amplified in the next 90 days.

His Challenges

Dr. Peterside in enumerating some of his challenges knowing very well that he has numerous associates and need to aid some of these followers, admirers stated, At the time we got here, several persons were coming to us: “award a contract to us”. It is distracting! It makes it impossible to concentrate on your core mandate, which is to regulate shipping in Nigeria and promote indigenous shipping. In the recent past, somehow NIMASA reared off its core mandate and went to award contracts, so people thought it is the standard. NIMASA’s functions do not include contract award at all.

We have absolutely no business awarding contracts, and so, it becomes a bit of challenge managing peoples’ expectations. And we are always inundated with all sorts of proposals. The one that relates to us and the one that are not related to what we are doing. Many persons will underrate the impact of that on what we are doing. Most of the time, we are dealing with what has no bearing with what we are doing.

His Feats and Giant Strides in Nimasa Just After One Year

Israelmore Ayivor foresaw many years ago the passion and audacity of Dr. Peterside in pursuance of any task set before him when he stated, Have a peculiar passion, audacity and boldness that see farther and further into the outer space.”

Peterside, who is known for his Midas touch anywhere he goes, is leaving no stone unturned at ensuring the agency gets a new lease of life and under him, NIMASA has witnessed mind-boggling transformation. Before Peterside’s assumption of office, it was believed that NIMASA was a money making agency with no direction and focus beneficial to Nigeria. Though the agency rakes in much money for the country, its effects and reasons for creation had not been achieved.

Meanwhile, within a year in office, NIMASA has started realizing its objectives with the new strides brought to the fore-front by the DG who insists it is not going to be business as usual.

According to Peterside, the reforms he will engage in at the agency were in line with the ‘change’ agenda of the Buhari administration which is committed to the diversification of the nation’s economy.

“On the public perception of NIMASA over the years, the agency under my leadership will completely change the narrative from the negative perception of corruption, inefficiency and abandonment of its core mandate to that of a Maritime Administration that is alive to its responsibility intent on making Nigeria the preferred destination for maritime activities in Africa”, he stated.

With this mind-set, Peterside began with the change agenda in NIMASA and his strides cannot go un-noticed.

  1. One of his major achievements is the total rebranding of the agency which was unveiled at Abuja on April 22 by President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, the need to rebrand NIMASA was borne out the fact that the agency must align with other foremost maritime administrations in the world.

2,. Another area of achievement of his administration is the promotion of over 300 staff members of NIMASA in the last 12 months. People are familiar with the agency will know that several staff and directors had been stagnated for a decade. With his promise to rebrand NIMASA, Peterside came with a mandate to introduce a completely new work ethics and energy in the agency.

3…Taking into consideration the importance of hi-tech, the Peterside administration instituted a medium term strategy through digital transformation to hasten processes at NIMASA. The process allows stakeholders to register their vessels and transact all other transactions digitally with a click of a button on their laptop.

  1. Other achievements include the repositioning of Nigeria in the international maritime politics. Nigeria is said to be out of the Council at the International Maritime Organization, IMO, for over half a decade thus relegating the country at international politics in the maritime sector.
  2. Arrangements are concluded to recruit 1,000 rescue marshals to protect our water ways.
  3. In a bid to reposition the Nigerian maritime sector and make Nigeria a global voice again, the Heads of African Maritime Administration converged in Abuja in April 22 for the 3rd Association of African Maritime Administration Conference to elect Dr. Dakuku Peterside as its President. With feats like these, the Nigerian maritime sector has being repositioned to take the lead in the comity of maritime nations.
  4. For the Safety of the country’s waterways which is one of the core mandates of NIMASA, the agency under Dr Peterside’s watch has successfully hosted two sub-regional technical committee meetings to build a formidable regional network. The network has increased our level of alertness, thus improving our capacity to respond to distress calls, which has ultimately led to a considerable reduction in the cases of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

In its qur quest to achieve a safer maritime domain the agency has been working on an anti-piracy bill. The agency has received the president’s backing to acquire assets that will be deployed at strategic locations, thus enhancing her ability to improve the safety of vessels within her maritime domain. Having realised the need to enhance the safety of boat users in Nigeria, the agency has secured the approval of the Minister of Transportation to increase the number of Search and Rescue marshals from 100 to 1000.

  1. In ensuring that Nigeria gets a seat in the International Maritime Organisation Council, Dr Peterside and his team are working hard to get a permanent seat in the IMO Council, on which they have received the backing of Mr. President. This will enable the agency assert herselves effectively in IMO. As a major step towards attaining a more effective global implementation of its conventions, the IMO Assembly in December 2013 made the Member-State Audit Scheme mandatory. The audit of Nigeria was successfully conducted by IMO in June 2016.
  2. For effective improvement in its surveillance and maritime domain awareness, the agncy under Dr. peterside now operates a 24-hour surveillance system, which captures all vessels in the Nigerian maritime domain, irrespective of weather conditions.she now achieve a complete profile analysis, which includes the flag, registered owner, operator, beneficial owner and movements over a specified period. This system enables her to take swift decisions, real-time, on any targeted ship. Currently, all offshore areas of interest have been electronically cordoned off with a guard zone via our surveillance system and we can at once view live-feed (activities), especially in the oil fields and on crude oil platforms.
  3. On empowerment of indigenous shipowners, the agency in consciousness of her mandate to promote the development of indigenous commercial shipping in international and coastal shipping trade is poised, more than ever, to achieving this obligation. According to Dr. Peterside, We understand it requires a great deal of capacity building, especially human, infrastructural and tonnage capacities of our indigenous shipping operators. We have reviewed the participation of Nigerians in the industry and are not satisfied with the outcome. The summary of our findings revealed a low indigenous participation in international commercial shipping trade in Nigeria. As far-fetched as it sounds, there are no Nigerian-flagged ocean-going vessels known to us. In the course of our review also, we observed the salience of cargo availability to the commercial fortunes of a shipowner/operator and to our national tonnage growth. We noted also that commercial shipping will less likely develop without conscious, proactive, well-structured and monitored government intervention, as is done in other sectors. One area of such intervention urgently needed is cargo availability.
  4. Developed maritime nations have at one time or the other consciously supported, and are still supporting, their indigenous operators in building their commercial shipping capacities.

Recently, a bipartisan bill was brought before the US Congress aimed at strengthening indigenous participation in shipping. The bill seeks to allow US-flagged vessels carry up to 30 per cent of the US LNG as a matter of both economic importance and security concerns.

On our part, plans are on to use our existing enabling laws to make public cargo available for indigenous shipping operators in order to improve their commercial fortunes and competitive advantage over their well-capitalised and established foreign counterparts. We are out to enforce sections 36 and 37 of the NIMASA Act 2007 towards building indigenous capacities in shipping. This is already at executive management level and we are determined to take it to the highest level of bureaucratic, legislative and executive engagements necessary. We shall also involve our esteemed stakeholders at the right time because we understand they have roles to play in the entire process.

  1. NIMASA will soon take delivery of the 5th largest modular floating dockyard on the African continent. This dockyard will earn the Nigerian government, at least, $100 million annually in direct savings from the dry-docking of vessels operating in Nigeria, which is mostly done outside the country at the moment. It is our desire to partner the private sector to run the dockyard.

More Facts about Dakuku Peterside

Peterside is widely accepted as a symbol of unity, visionary, egalitarian and most importantly a patriot whose love for Nigeria is infectious. In addition, he has earned a reputation as a charismatic and disciplined leader, creative and hard-working, a broad-minded fellow with strategic insight. He brings integrity, compassion, pro-poor perspective and intellectual dimension to bear in tackling tough national issues. His loyalty to friendship and bridge-building skills is remarkable. He is respected as one of the most result-oriented, meticulous, consistent, trustworthy and god-fearing political leaders in Rivers State today. In all the public offices he has held, he has brought innovation to bear and made remarkable impact that has endeared him to compatriots. He is a role model and mentor to several young persons, who look up to him for inspiration.

Peterside treads where even angels are afraid to tread. Even though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has made the state unsafe for opposition, and had severally attempted to assassinate him, he goes about as if he has a spare life. When I confronted him on why he is not scared about all the killings, harassment and intimidation in the state, he simply answered: “Chief Eze, if I get scared what do I tell my supporters? Besides, I am a Christian and my God is capable of protecting me in the hands of the evil-minded fellows in PDP.”

The Forces That Will Determine the Fate Of Dakuku Peterside Come 2019

Let us hear the answer from Dakuku Peterside himself – “That will be determined by my party and the Rivers people. Three things will determine whether I have my eyes on the seat or not. First is the Almighty God. Second is my political party and third, the people of Rivers State. If God says run, I will put myself forward and I have a relationship with the Almighty God.

The second thing is if the party says we won’t give you our ticket, I wouldn’t bother myself one day, despite the passion I have for Rivers State. I have totally subjected myself to group dynamics. Finally, even when the party says run, I have to see that Rivers people are really ready for change and if they are ready for change, then I will partner them to bring about that change for the good of the majority of our people.

What should matter to us is the interest of our people. Nobody should want to be governor for the pomp and pageantry of the office – for his own ego. I don’t have to be a governor for my ego. I believe I have attained a status that I deserve the kind of respect a governor gets, and so, I am not driven by ego; I am not driven by self-interest. You get to a time in life that you make up your mind to sacrifice your comfort for the good of the people and posterity. I am not in a hurry. God’s time is the best and He will always order our steps”.

Conclusion

Let me conclude this treatise by presenting the type of NIMASA Peterside intends to bequeath to whoever that will succeeds him at the end of his tenure, “I want to leave a model regulatory agency that will be a model of reference on the continent of Africa, an agency that understands that it is set up to serve the Nigerian people. If I accomplished that – an institution that understands that the force of authority that we have is the force of the Nigerian people – not for fun, not for show – that we have the force of authority of the Nigerian people to do good to the majority of our people. If I left an agency that is a reference model, I will be pleased that I have accomplished much”

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

 

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Abakaliki: The Rising Sun and Umahi Leadership Magic

Posted on March 23, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

Abakaliki: The Rising Sun and Umahi Leadership Magic

By Philip Nweze

Yesterday as I drove casually along the not-so-busy streets of Abakaliki, I marvelled at how much more cars graced the refurbished roads. During my school days, there were fewer people, fewer businesses, fewer cars on the roads, and the hustle was there but it was mellow, unlike the crab-like hustle you feel, see and smell in Onitsha or Lagos.

Another thing struck me; the number of brand new cars plying the roads, the young mothers leisurely driving to meet up with school runs, the number of young father’s dressed professionally in suits picking up their young children from school lessons to get them home, have a quick lunch and then dash back to the office just in time before lunch break is over. A lot has really changed in my home state.

Real estate in this once sleepy civil service town is on the rise. Everyone is looking to buy, build, refurbish, sell, develop, and whatever one can imagine. All in all, the once sleepy town has awoken to the fresh and vibrant opportunity that lies within. Young people are no longer in a hurry to flee the coop as we had once done in the past. I recall in the early 80s and 90s, we couldn’t wait to pack our bags and bid the dusty red earth Igbo speaking populace a hearty farewell for a holiday trip to a favourite relative in the west or north. All that has changed.

Through audacity, far-sightedness and an ability to hold its nerve through financial crash, Abakaliki people have created a futuristic mega city; from the Abakaliki dust to what has now become a tourist draw in the South east. Abakaliki has sought to transform itself from a little satellite town to an investment and tourism hub. Today, she seems undeterred by the bumpy ride and continues to wax stronger, with a dozen mega projects underway to wow the hordes of visitors trickling into the virgin city.

As excitement mounts in the day time, wait till nightfall. As soon as the lights flick on in the salt city, you’ll be completely astonished by the exquisite transformation  in the metropolis. This serves as a cue to the ceaseless night activities that invite pleasure-seeking strollers.The state is brimming over with fantastic changes. After crowning the city with twin fly over bridges that dazzle the onlookers, the state government is still bent on turning the town to a cosmopolitan society with a wide range of attractions.

If you haven’t been here, you really do need to give it a shot. Someone I know was transferred here many years back, and he almost died from anger and resentment. Now, you couldn’t pay him  to move his family back to Lagos. Life is easier, has more quality to it, you live in a more comfortable place for less, kids are in good schools, you actually have time to mind the kids, and oh, you sure can have fun. Abakaliki has joined the league of delightful cities, a far cry from what obtained in the past.

Just few years ago, calling someone an Abakaliki man was equivalent to calling him a northerner. Every available indices at that time showed that Abakaliki people lagged behind, and in fact, in literacy levels, they were the worst in the whole of southern Nigeria. Ebonyians made up of old Enugu (Abakaliki zone) and old Abia (Afikpo zone) were victims of marginalisation in their old states. This was the main aim of the agitation of state creation. Government impacts were not felt in the old Abakaliki zone. Our entitlements were taken by our oppressors. This made us stagnant in terms of material and human development. A lot of scholarship opportunities belonging to us were traded to the highest bidder. Our job chances were sold, given to other people, while we were branded nitwits and laggards.

Today, we seem to be breaking through those negative opinions and continuing to make amazing progress in all facets of life. With what is obtainable in Ebonyi today, even Anambra may be overtaken by the sprightly young state in a couple of decades. The next generation of Ebonyians will move with supreme confidence, youthful exuberance and joyful pride among their contemporaries. Tongues will wag, mouths will drool and eyes will widen at the visible changes occasioned by the tons of architectural wonders dotting the state. The journey would be slow and steady. Abakaliki may hit notable snags over the comng years but she won’t be deterred. And never will be.

The Umahi-magic has paid off big. We have joined the realm of elites in all the magnificence of that term. Disciplined by childhood of deprivation, Governor Umahi has brought into governance a responsible financial management and a frugality that many consider crippling. His thirst for infrastructure and modernity might be mocked today by a cynical populace of sadists but posterity would judge him fairly, and delight in his achievements. Generations will sing his name like a favourite song. And history will appropriate him a well-deserved space.

Now I understand why the cars on the roads have grown in numbers, why new and modern buildings are springing up, why I see a lot of younger people behind the wheels and the old spectacle-wearing retirees slowly moving along while you time behind them with all your youthful impatience because the road ahead is free and you are late for your engagement. It’s the Umahin magic.

Ekubaroha is working!

 

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Amaechi’s 8 Years a Waste?: Insider’s Assessment of Security Situation under Amaechi and Wike

Posted on March 16, 2017. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Amaechi’s 8 Years a Waste?: Insider’s Assessment of Security Situation under Amaechi and Wike

 

Written By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

Preamble

 

It was Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside, Director-General of NIMASA, former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on (Downstream) Petroleum and 2015 All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Rivers State who stated in an article titled ‘How to tackle insecurity in Nigeria’: “Security, law and order are the major preoccupation of any government. Once a government gets this priority right, it has made the very first right step. Growing insecurity on the reverse side is the first sign of a failing state.

Petersides’s view on security tallies with that of poet and political philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who had stated: “The three great ends which a statesman ought to propose to himself in the government of a nation are:

  1. Security to possessors
  2. Facility to acquirers
  3. Hope to all.”

 Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi concurred by stating: “Government must not be for one section of the society. It must be for the rich and the poor, emphasising the upliftment of the poor…”

With the above quotes, the main aim of this attempt is to unravel the insecurity and security challenges facing Rivers State in Nigeria, particularly now that Chief Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State. In his recent interview with The Sun newspaper described his mentor, benefactor and predecessor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s eight years administration in Rivers State as wasted years. It not only behoves but becomes imperative for those of us who witnessed these eight years to actually put the records straight and avoid the misconception before the public domain envisaged by the said interview.

Based on this challenge of putting or straightening the facts, my continuous efforts to appraise and review the activities of the enigma they call Amaechi, the indefatigable former governor of Rivers State and incumbent Minister of Transportation with much emphasis on his eight years tenure, continues this week with my torchlight beamed on the insecurity challenges in Rivers  during the period of the eight years administration of Amaechi and what the state has become since the departure of this great leader from the leadership of the state.

Although I have in the past two weeks attempted, in other articles, to put some aspects of Amaechi’s feats during his eight years administration in Rivers State in its proper perspective, to put lies to Wike’s commentaries in the said interview. And as I did promise, that henceforth I will be presenting on weekly basis some of the feats of Amaechi’s administration. In fulfilment of that pledge, I will by this week’s treatise use insecurity to further establish that Amaechi’s administration was not a waste, as being postulated by Wike and his cronies.

In doing this, I will present the insecurity episode during the period of Amaechi’s administration and how he curtailed the menace; and how Wike created the current insecurity in Rivers State and, for you the reader to judge if his eight years was a waste or not.

With the above, let me therefore state that the main treatise of this attempt is to review the strategies adopted by the Rivers State Government under the watch of Rotimi Amaechi in tackling the menace of insecurity in Rivers State, prior to his assumption of office on 28th October, 2007 and how Wike, the incumbent governor, instead of adopting the model Amaechi used to tackle insecurity in Rivers State, created the ‘Rivers of blood.’

For matter of clarity, Rivers State is the hub of oil industry in Nigeria and very rich in hydrocarbons from which the nation draws its major revenue and because it was confronted with key security challenges especially the challenges of illegal bunkering, piracy, kidnapping and armed robbery this attempt is embarked upon.

The Challenges and Causes of Insecurity in Rivers State

One of the major forces behind the menace of insecurity in Rivers State was class challenge and Lady Dorothy Alison captured this aptly when she stated, “The horror of class stratification, racism, and prejudice is that some people begin to believe that the security of their families… and communities depends on the oppression of others, that for some to have good lives there must be others whose lives are truncated and brutal.”

Affirming the truism by Lady Alison, former Governor Amaechi enthused, “When we took over the reins of governance in the State we met a situation where people were being given cash, but we decided to take the extreme position of not giving money to people, but doing projects that would impact positively on the lives of the majority of our people”. This stand of the Amaechi to stop the method which was the practice hitherto of sharing State funds to some seasoned politicians and groups who in turn use it to sponsor militia groups that constitute security challenges in the State.

Apart from class challenges as postulated above, insecurity in Rivers State was occasioned by greed for power; empowering and arming our youths with sophisticated arms in order to undo political opponents in the State. Another great influence of insecurity was the wickedness of the politicians in undermining the future of the youths and misuse of public and the common patrimony of the State. Instead of investments that will create jobs for the teeming youths, the funds are distributed amongst friends and relations.

To Rotimi Amaechi, “inability of elected leaders to provide adequate security for the citizenry is an impeachable offence. The first offence governors commit is when they are unable to provide adequate security for the people. This is because the first oath taken by elected leaders is to protect life and property. It is the responsibility of the government to provide security for the people.”

The Type of Rivers State Inherited By Former Gov Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi!

According to records, Port Harcourt, the State capital of Rivers State that Amaechi inherited was more like a war zone or aptly put a jungle where the fittest determines the fate of the lesser animals. It sounds pretty surprising but not unexpected that the city of Port Harcourt, a once very glamorous city, was ranked among the three most dangerous cities in the world by then. The human resources unit of New York-based Marsh & McLennan Cos. had ranked Port Harcourt with Baghdad, Yemen’s capital of Sana’a and Khartoum in Sudan, as the world’s most dangerous cities. Going by the ranking published by Bloomberg, Port Harcourt ranked with Baghdad as one of the world’s most dangerous cities for foreign workers as criminal gangs and militia groups seeking greater control of energy revenue step up attacks.

Ahamefula Ogbu, a Journalist with Thisday Newspapers described one of the scenes in the State at this period in these words ‘Rambo could not have done better. With automatic rifles in their hands and hate, revenge and murder hanging around their necks, warring cultists took Port Harcourt, Rivers State, by storm yesterday for the second day running. Pandemonium broke out as residents ran for safety. It was sorrow, tears and blood. At the end of it all—or, more aptly, at the interval, for no one knows the end yet—15 persons had been dispatched to their early graves’ and true to this unsung prophet nobody knew the end as the next few days saw about eighty innocent souls wasted by an agitation uncommon to our people in the Niger Delta.

While to my late friend and brother, Mr. George Onah reporting for Vanguard Newspaper captured Port Harcourt before the assumption of office by Gov Amaechi in these words; “For many residents, the capital of Rivers State, hitherto the Garden City where life was lived to the fullest is no longer the place to live in as rivers of blood flow ceaselessly following an unending siege by militants, kidnappers, cultists, and criminals of other hue.

Violence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has gone full circle and the guns are still booming. The casualties are pilling, even as blood of defenceless citizens’ flow endlessly. Neither the Police nor the government has answers to the brigandage. Security outfits do not have official figures, record or reliable estimates of casualties in the Rivers State orgy of killings.

Even the number of deaths during the Nigerian Civil War had a consensus of informed opinion on the number of deaths, on both sides, which hovered, realistically around 600,000 and below. But the rapidity of casualties in the onslaught by gunmen on Rivers State cannot simply be pigeonholed. The currency of killings is alarming and the growth of the economy of the state is heading for the deep.”

The pattern of the crime ranges from kidnapping of expatriates and children of wealthy parentage, to outright violent robbery. Cultism and political vices equally occupy a frightening position on the crime chart. The volatile atmosphere appears to have annulled whatever achievement of the peace and reconciliation committee of the government.”

 

As if both Ogbu and late Onah did not capture the picture correctly, Okey Ndibe, a respected opinion leader on national issues in Nigeria in his article during this period published by the Sahara Reporters one of the leading online media on Nigerian political activities titled ‘a blood soaked city’ described the happenings in Rivers State then in these words ‘That the once idyllic Port Harcourt was now a scarred place, a war zone, a city soaked in blood; the city under siege with thousands of citizens displaced; that its once quiescent boulevards and avenues were now ruled by marauding militiamen and by the fierce soldiers deployed to dislodge them. Sudden death by bullet was now a generalized hazard for the city’s trapped and hapless residents.

Affirming the unfortunate state of Rivers State then, an icon and Prince of Niger Delta Politics, Prince Tonye Princewill in an interview during this period stated thus, “Rivers State, when Amaechi took over was a garrison state. Now that things have changed, people refer to him, like they do to Fashola as a performing governor though the only difference between the two is that Fashola had a foundation in Tinubu but in the case of Amaechi, it was not so!”

Strategies Adopted to Address the Menace Of Insecurity

According to Noam Chomsky, “the U.S. international and security policy … has as its primary goal the preservation of what we might call “the Fifth Freedom,” understood crudely but with a fair degree of accuracy as the freedom to rob, to exploit and to dominate, to undertake any course of action to ensure that existing privilege is protected and advanced”. The fact remains that it seems that former Governor Amaechi on assumption of office adopted this US security policy in tackling the menace of insecurity in the State as he went out exploiting every means humanly possible to arrest this ugly trend. Apart from declaring war on all the militia groups in the State and refusing any form of dialogue or negotiations with them, he ensured that the security organs in the State were well motivated and trained to tackle the menace of insecurity in the State.

Explaining further on how former Governor Amaechi handled the security challenges of the State at this period, Dr Dakuku Peterside stated as follows, “When I had the privilege of serving in the government of Rivers State under the leadership of Governor Amaechi, I observed that he placed high premium on security because he believed that security was the foundation upon which progress in every other facet of development depends. This is aside from government’s proactive disposition which drew substantially from intelligence gathering, surveillance and the fact that law enforcement agents could reasonably predict potential crime with near perfect accuracy.

Another interesting aspect of the Rivers model is the deployment of technology. Without sounding immodest, I can confidently say that the state’s security network is driven by excellent modern technology. Rivers was the first state to acquire a mobile scanning van known as back scatter. Around the Port-Harcourt metropolis, there are Gantry Scanners at strategic entry locations in Onne- Eleme Road, East-West Road, Choba Road, Oyibo Road, Ikwere Road, Aba Road and Mbiama Road among others.

Throwing more light on the postulations of Peterside, a security expert and CEO, MPD Security Systems, Engr. David Meyer stated as follows, “The first step we took in Rivers State was to raise capacity among selected police personnel, over 200, through local and overseas training in Israel and other parts of the world on modern crime fighting techniques and intelligence gathering,” Meyer explained. Working with modern gadgets and substantial logistics including an Israeli trained concealed weapon detecting dog, these crossbred police team had since been strategically placed at main outskirt check posts witnessing mass movement in and out of Port Harcourt City. Others lead a number of metro patrol teams responding to security emergencies around the town and environs. These are far as the public can see.

Beyond public view, as part of Rivers current long term vision of security, Meyer pointed to underground application of ICT aided security hardware and software helping the police to sense and react to security situations with dispatch. This network of technology managed by experts from a hub which Meyer would not disclose its location for security reasons, employs the C4I urban surveillance cameras watching over the city and active 24hrs of the day in Port Harcourt and environs.

The interactions between the seen and unseen infrastructures, according to Meyer, account for the recent security operatives swift bursting of some of failed organized crime operations, including an attempted raid of a bank in the Mile 4 area of the city last year. “These measures have been working well and while the public may not know, it has lead to several arrests and we have gained convictions against suspects on account of the improved network”, he emphasized.

Supporting the views of Hon. Chief Peterside and Engr. Meyer, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Chibuike stated,. “We have done a lot about security. We are doing more. Before we came to office, kidnapping was a serious challenge. We have dealt with it substantially. We are finishing December, 2012 without a single report of kidnapping or armed robbery. We have specially trained policemen handling security. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, any moment from now, the Rivers State Government’s security web would be two surveillance helicopters stronger, laying foundation for a standing air wing to give the state 24-hour security coverage.. He said the helicopters; costing $30m (N4.5bn) with surveillance cameras to fly all over the city of Port Harcourt and other parts of the state would arrive at the end of December and commence operations in January, 2013. He stated that Rivers now has in place a technology reliable for tracking criminals and their hideouts. But sadly, Chief Nyesom Wike and former President Dr Jonathan ensured that these helicopters never arrived Rivers State until few weeks ago in 2017

The former Governor who is a major proponent of State Policing postulated, “If we have State Police, Rivers would be able to train its police the way it wants. It would not have suffered the loss of those 500 policemen it trained. Most states are spending a lot of money improving the police which are not under their control. States can use the same resources to fund their own police. Only those with something to hide are afraid of State Police.

The impacts of the Rivers of Peace under Amaechi

The results of the peaceful state of Rivers State under the watch of Gov Amaechi has resulted not only attraction of foreign investments but during this period Port Harcourt was the haven of both International and National championships. Apart from hosting one of the best organised National Sports Festival ever in Nigeria, the School Sports was hosted by the State including the Police Games. Port Harcourt apart from Abuja and probably Lagos was the only State to have hosted US-Nigeria bie National Conference. The city during this golden period hosted the Miss ECOWAS Beauty Pageant, Pan African Parliamentary; Garden City Literary Festival, hosted CARNRIV involving several foreign countries to showcase the rich culture, potentials and beauty of her people, the 2nd Dr Claude Ake Memorial Lecture, Rivers State Investment Forum and Governor’s Interactive Session with Rivers State Youths amongst several other meets the city has hosted to prove its acceptability as the most peaceful and progressive city in Nigeria.

Kudos of course must go to Alh, Suleiman Abba the then Commissioner of Police and former Inspector General of Police for his commitment and no nonsense approach to crime in the State; the then Brigade Commander, the Air force Commander, Director of SSS for their commitment in ensuring that Rivers State was recovered from the hands of these hoodlums! Kudos also goes to the then Secretary to the Rivers State Government now a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dist. Senator Magnus Abe whose office then was coordinating and spearheading this onslaught against insecurity in the State.

Wike’s ambition and creation of the ‘Rivers of blood’

Chief Wike’s ambition to succeed Amaechi as the governor of Rivers State may be shocking to most political watchers started from his days as chief of staff to the then Governor Amaechi. The fact remains that while Amaechi was busy providing dividends of democracy to the people, Wike, on the other hand, was busy undermining Amaechi and using all the connections and goodwill of the Rivers State Government not only to station his men in strategic positions in government, but to empower most of them financially through award of contracts, initiation and other means. He tested the ground of his ambition when he was appointed as the director- general for the re-election of Amaechi as governor of Rivers State in 2011. A position he ensured that only his men were appointed to strategic fields to serve as key mobilisers at the grassroots level. By the time he was appointed minister of state in the Ministry of Education, based on the recommendation of Amaechi to Dr Jonathan, Wike went further with his gubernatorial ambition plot by forming the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), a political pressure group he used to deceive the public, that it was formed to assist in the re-election of then President Jonathan; but, in fact, the outfit was formed to pursue his gubernatorial ambition. He used the outfit to formally recruit his foot soldiers for the battle ahead. Under our nose, this body was heavily financed and motivated, and its presence was established in all the constituencies of Rivers State.

It was this group that he used to dislodge over 11 key Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members that wanted to contest the 2015 governorship election under the PDP platform. Those that wanted to play games were properly beaten up and molested at the party’s national secretariat at Abuja. Before this time, Wike, based on political exigency, tactfully suppressed his gubernatorial ambition from public view. Instead, he offered himself as a tool to spearhead the political battle between Jonathan and Amaechi. He gave everything within him to execute this, with the PDP ticket as a target.

Towards creating the ‘Rivers of blood’

Recruitment of militants

Apart from creating the deadly and infamous GDI, Wike, while serving as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria paid visits to some notable former war lords from the Niger Delta dislodged by the Amaechi’s administration, soliciting their support for his gubernatorial ambition. In this regard, it was reported that he donated his six months’ salary to Tompolo Foundation. Stanley Azuakola of TheScoop, in his report entitled, Nyesom Wike donates 6 months’ salary to ex-militant Tompolo Foundation stated: “There are reports that the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, who is currently involved in a bitter struggle with the current Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has donated his salary for the next six months, which amounts to about N11.742 million, to the Chief Tompolo Foundation.”Link:http://www.thescoopng.com/report-nyesom-wike-donates-6-months-salary-to-ex-militant-tompolo-foundation/

Implication of the donation

An online media platform, Newsdiaryonline, which also reported the donation and its purpose said: ‘The donation by the Minister is seen as part of covert moves to consolidate plans to work with Mr Tompolo to disrupt the peace in his home state, Rivers State. This is seen as part of the plot to oust the incumbent Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who is seen to have parted ways with President Goodluck Jonathan. Reports indicate that Mr Wike has boasted that he will deploy his wide contacts within the judiciary to recruit everyone necessary to ensure he has his way in Rivers State. No one has yet made any response on behalf of Rivers State Government to this revelation. However, reliable sources reveal that residents of the state have sighted a gradual resurgence of ex-militant groups that had hitherto taken flight from the state due to the tough stance of the Amaechi-led administration on militant activities. Most of these militants had fled the state for more accommodating havens like Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom states, and Abuja in the face of the onslaught on criminal activities by the Rivers State Government. With the frosty relationship between the governor and Presidency, and with the controversial complacent role of the State Commissioner of Police, these ex-militants are now finding their ways back to the state.

‘Some residents who prefer to remain anonymous have expressed concern that the sudden return of these ex-militants to the state hold very ominous signs for the state, and that their intentions cannot be good.’ This fear is now loudly very imminent in Rivers State today, as residents now sleep with two eyes wide open.

In another development, according to TheScoop publication of January 20, 2014 titled Amaechi has not started crying yet – boasts Nyesom Wike; Segun Odeleye reported that Wike was quoted as saying: ‘We are free of any arrest; no police will arrest any member of GDI or interrupt their activities or gathering in this state. Don’t forget, it is Amaechi who was ordering police to arrest GDI members anywhere they are gathering. Now he is the one crying over arrest and disruption of APC gathering in the state. He has not started crying: the police will continue to chase them until they learn how to follow the due process before hosting any meeting or rally. Rivers State is for PDP. The best thing for Governor Ameachi is to resign and have peace, because as long he remains the governor, he will never have peace.’ Link: http://www.thescoopng.com/amaechi-has-not-started-crying-yet-boasts-nyesom-wike/

Comments

A versatile public commentator, Uche Igwe, a doctoral research fellow at Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption, University of Sussex, titled “Of Nyesom Wike And President Jonathan’s Conflict Entrepreneurs”,  described  Wike as ‘a tough and undiplomatic man with a thug-minded determination and a deep-pocket that thrives in a policy of vindictiveness.’Known as Eze Gburugburu by his admirers, the former Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government is acclaimed to be a brutal schemer who maximised his position as chief of staff in Brick House to stockpile enormous financial resources for himself. The bulkily framed politician is also someone who understands and believes in the power of money and readily deploys it as a political tool to achieve helpful and, most times, unhelpful political ends. Another former loyalist described him as ‘a merciless politician with a limitless capacity for mischief.’

Sam Nda-Isaiah, a frontline APC Presidential candidate and Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, in his reaction to WIke and Jonathan’s absurdity in Rivers State in an article published by TheScoop of August 12, 2013 titled, “Why does the President enjoy the company of gangsters? stated: ‘The Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, who is at the centre of the crisis in Rivers State with the clear support of the President, Goodluck Jonathan, and the co-president, Patience Jonathan, now operates above the law in the state. To worsen the joke, he has even declared for the governorship of the state. It is very hard to believe that a serving minister would make that kind of statement and still be kept in the cabinet by the President. But that has been our lot since Jonathan became President.’ Link: http://www.thescoopng.com/sam-nda-isaiah-why-does-the-president-enjoy-the-company-of-gangsters/

Given the forgoing, why should blood not flow in Rivers?

Before and during the March/April 2015 General Elections in Rivers State, it was reported that about 100 members of All Progressives Congress (APC) were slaughtered, with their local secretariats at Andoni and Okirika bombed. The live telecast by Channels TV during the shootings on the APC Rally at Okirika should be very visible on the minds of Nigerians.

During the 2016 rerun elections of April 2016, the APC’s National Working Committee, in a press statement, noted: “APC members in Rivers State are fast becoming [an] endangered species.” That was after scores of members were killed in recent weeks. The committee released a list of 32 party members it claimed had been killed by a variety of methods: “several were beheaded, others clubbed to death and one man burned alive.”

Till date, under the watch of Governor Wike, about 200 Rivers State citizens have been killed.

Wike’s ‘Rivers of blood’

Kennedy Friday, a social commentator, in a recent presentation painted the present situation in Rivers State thus: “They were killed and beheaded in Ula-Upata community in Ahoada East Local Government Area. After that, their corpses were set ablaze! In this 21st century, this bestiality happens every day in parts of Rivers State, almost unchallenged. Insecurity is at its most rampaging level. Oh God, what is happening to Rivers State? We have this very dire challenge and people look the other way and pretend that all is well. This barbarity happens every day in one part of the state or the other. When will these killings stop?”

In the words of Ibrahim Modibbo, a social commentator based in Abuja: “Not even under the evil and satanic regimes of Mobutu Sese Seko, Emperor Fidel Bokassa or legendary Idi Amin of Uganda did we see such a fascist regime that displays optimum barbarism and primitive parochialism as in Rivers. The state is currently buckling under the full weight of a heartlessly ravenous political brigand, where life has lost its meaning and value. A cabal that swims in obscene opulence has made political power to be so critical to its survival that any opposition that stands on its way, even if it’s a fly, must be crushed with a sledge hammer. I am, therefore, not surprised that opponents are now hunted like a game: with many beheaded, clubbed to death or buried alive like chickens.

Jimitota Onoyume, Vanguard Newspaper Correspondent reported on May 17, 2016, how 5 cops, 6 civilians were butchered in Rivers. According to him, “Mortal fear has seized the people of Rivers State since last week when armed marauders murdered five police officers, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Muhammadu Halidu, and six civilians at Okobe in Ahoada West Local Government Area. The rampaging gunmen laid ambush for the police officers, attached to the 30 Mobile Police Force, code-named 30 MPF, Bayelsa State, on their way back from a national assignment in Yobe State and stole their rifles, after snuffing the life out of them.”

Reacting to the ugly scenario, Senator Magnus Abe stated: “But the point I want to make is that there are reasons here in Rivers State why we should not and cannot celebrate democracy day. Just yesterday, somewhere in Ahoada, I hear over eight people were killed, including the oldest man in the village. As we speak now, in my own village, boys are going around with guns; nobody slept last night. I was told they even chased somebody to a church, and macheted him right there in a church, with people scampering for safety. As we talk now, in Luawii and Kapnyo, several people are dead, houses burnt… You know, all over… Yesterday, a friend of mine stopped at a fuel station at Rumoula to buy petrol, and while at the filling station, some people brought out guns and robbed everybody, right there in Rumuola. This is what is going on all over Rivers State.

In such circumstances, do we really have much to celebrate? The first responsibility of government is the maintenance of law and order. If people are free and safe, they can look for water, they can look for light, they can look for food. But they cannot look for security if they’re not safe. So, I think the governor should really do something to address the issue of security in this state. And until he does that, there is really nothing to celebrate in Rivers State.”

The socio-economic impact of the insecurity challenges

Who else could explain the economic impact of the insecurity situation in Rivers State more than Hon Rotimi Amaechi, who threw light on this while speaking at the Annual Lagos Traffic Radio Lecture Series in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. He accused the incumbent Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, of driving away investors from the state due to growing insecurity and crime, which had led to the plunging of the internally generated revenue (IGR), from N8 billion to N4 billion. His words: “Do you know that people are now migrating away from Port Harcourt? When I was the governor of Rivers State nothing like that happened. The crime rate in the state has now increased and the IGR dropped. As the governor, the IGR of the state was N8 billion. And that was why I have often advised Nigerian public office holders not to play with figures. Due to the crime rate in the state, people have started migrating away from the state and the IGR has dropped to N4 billion. The state governor (Wike) now moves like chairman of a council, asking traders and others if they had paid their taxes. But when I was the governor, I don’t engage in that.”

According to Amaechi, “Migration is either voluntary or involuntary. But in the case of Rivers State, it is involuntary. They are forced to relocate from the state. The man complained that I am corrupt. But I have asked him to go to court but until today, he is yet to bring evidence forward to buttress his claims.”

If Wike is wise and interested to curb insecurity in Rivers State what stops him from humbly going to Amaechi for tutorial on how to govern a sophisticated state like Rivers State.

Conclusion

But not minding the above sad and negative reports on Governor Wike, the Rivers State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) and SUN Newspapers applauded Wike’s style of leadership by given him ‘Apostle of Peace’ And ‘Governor of the year’ Awards respectively.

Reacting to these unfortunate developments, an icon and face of Media in Rivers State, Lady Oby Ndukwe described these awards to Wike in these words, “Yes, Wike deserves these awards! Yes, he won because he was in the news more than any other governor in 2016 in these nefarious areas – “Judiciary scandal, Electoral Fraud, Fake Amnesty, Rig and Die Threats, Excessive Bank Loans, Highest political fights with APC, FG, Army, Police and INEC, Suspicious Church hosting, IPOB links, Four CPs in two years, Audio evidence of rigging and death threats, Avengers, and a whole lot more. The SUN correspondents must have filed more stories about him than his colleagues did in other states!

The bottom line is, to win, make headline news either in popularity or notoriety!
The latter suits the best reason for this misunderstood SUN NEWSPAPER MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD!

I have nothing else to add than for you the reader to judge between Amaechi and Wike whose tenure is a waste 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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Wike and Amaechi: Who’s Satanic and Needs Psychiatric Attention? An Insider’s Inpu

Posted on March 2, 2017. Filed under: Opinion |

 

 “Wike’s very best, can never equal, not to talk about surpassing Amaechi’s sterling, innovative, radical, trend-setting and absolutely revolutionary records as Rivers State Governor. Take it or leave it, Amaechi remains a hero of global reckoning.”

Wike and Amaechi: Who’s Satanic and Needs Psychiatric Attention? An Insider’s Input

Written By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

Preamble

The urge and need to embark upon this treatise titled, “WIKE AND AMAECHI: WHO’S SATANIC AND NEEDS PSYCHIATRIC ATTENTION? AN INSIDER’S INPUT’ became compelling and imperative when I read some of these sad and unfortunate headlines in the media – “Amaechi is a Lucifer, psychiatric patient – Wike, “Amaechi is Diabolic, He is A Devil Wike“ and “Amaechi Is Satan, He And His Boys Should Go For Psychiatric Test – Nyesom Wike – all of which were attributed to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State recently about his mentor, predecessor and benefactor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, former Governor of Rivers State and incumbent Federal Minister of Transportation.

According to Wike in his unguided outbursts, You are all aware that the Acting President came and held a stakeholders’ meeting with all of us, irrespective of affiliations. Even the Minister of Transportation was there. But, as you know, a chameleon will always be a chameleon and you know Satan will never sleep. Lucifer will always stay awake. Anywhere Satan sees light; he will always want to turn it into darkness. Just because the Acting President decided to stay in Rivers state, Lucifer went on rampage. I had no problem with the fact that Prof. Osinbajo wanted to hold a meeting with his party members. They are all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but I was surprised that a meeting they tagged APC stakeholders meeting turned out to be something else. They left what they gathered for and started making demands for the people of Rivers State. Who sent them? If I were them, they should go for psychiatric test. I have never been treated by a psychiatrist. I don’t even have one as my doctor, but when your personal doctor is a psychiatrist, then you should know there is a problem.  I don’t want to talk about what his (Amaechi) boys (Dakuku Peterside and Magnus Abe) were saying but, I was happy for one thing. I was happy that the Minister of Transportation could not believe his eyes when he came into Government House. It was like a paradise. When he came to the Presidential Lodge, he couldn’t believe it and he entered my car, my BMW 7 Series with the Acting President”. What a comic and unfortunate statement from a fellow occupying the exalted position of a Governor of a State?

According to records, let me explain what prompted the need of the meeting of APC stakeholders with Prof Osinbajo: Wike and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders that gathered to act as if they were the only recognised organ to speak for Rivers State people ensured that the APC stakeholders were denied entry to the Rivers State Government House, during the assumed stakeholders’ meeting with the Acting President, Prof Osinbajo, coupled with the fact that APC’s banners and signposts welcoming the Acting President to Rivers State were all destroyed by Wike and his boys.

Under this situation, one can only applaud the doggedness, sagacity and wisdom of Rt. Hon Amaechi in initiating the APC stakeholders’ meeting with the Acting President, who is of the APC extraction at, least, to ensure that the positive side of the demands of Rivers State people are tabled and discussed. Most of the needs of the Niger Delta region tabled before the Acting President in both forums were needs that Wike, in collaboration with some of these misguided PDP leaders, killed during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan. I will discuss this further later in this treatise.

Although one can’t fathom why the meeting by Prof Osinbajo with Rivers’ APC stakeholders could be a reason for Wike to berate his mentor and benefactor with such harsh and derogatory statement, calling him Satan, diabolical and psychiatrist, but sadly, this is not the first time that Wike will utilise any opportunity to abuse and run down Amaechi before his cohorts, associates and the general public. At times, one wonders if Wike was actually prepared for governance or he just found himself in the government house, unprepared and at a loss as what to do, except on how to run down Amaechi for recommending him to former President Jonathan as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

For Wike to call Amaechi – his mentor, benefactor and whose influence in his life is not in doubt – Satan is not any issue that can be swept under the carpet, just like that. It is probably on this that Israelmore Ayivor stated, “Do not rush to judge someone unless his/her fruits reveal the truth. However, don’t forget; mostly, it’s not the fault of the tree to produce bitter fruits. Sometimes, the soil determines that; blame the source! Deal with the soil! Don’t deal with the tree! Other trees are there that the same soil can influence! Don’t deal with your enemy, deal with the Satan that sponsors them”. It is based on the need to reveal the truth or otherwise of Wike’s stand that prompted this research, of unearthing between Wike and Amaechi, who is actually satanic and psychiatric.

Wike and his cohorts copied the speech of Amaechi on why he joined APC, to present to the Acting President during his visit to Rivers State.

Reading through what Wike and his cohorts presented as the needs of Niger Delta region before Osinbajo, I don’t know whether to cry or to laugh at the characters of our so-called leaders from Rivers State. Read through – what Amaechi stated at the height of his persecution in the hands of Wike and some of these funny PDP leaders in 2014 – and then judge for yourself why these people can’t be said to be serious minded fellows. The desperation of the PDP leadership to completely destroy Amaechi led to his departure, alongside six other PDP governors, to form the New PDP, with five of them later joining the opposition party, APC, to dislodge PDP from the centre. I was privileged to be the spokesperson of this group then. But let us hear what Amaechi said, which Wike and his misguided group shamelessly reproduced and presented before Prof Osinbajo as the needs of Niger Delta region: Explaining why he joined APC, Amaechi said:

“Unfortunately, recent events within the PDP have given me reason to reconsider our collective interest as people of the South-south and, indeed, as Rivers people. At various times, as the one whom you gave your mandate, I had cause to complain about the marginalisation of our state and our people, despite our huge contribution to the national coffers and our unflinching commitment and support for the ruling PDP. While the political and economic importance of Rivers State cannot be contested, we continue to hold the shorter end of the stick.

A few instances may suffice: Our demand that the Federal Government return oil wells belonging to Rivers State to us has gone unheeded and been treated with levity under this administration. Rather, our oil wells have been ceded to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom states. Even after we got a judgment that the oil wells were wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom State and should be returned to us; only dry wells that were no longer producing oil were returned.

In the specific case of the Soku oil wells, despite a decision reached that the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters concerning it are resolved, the Federal Government continues to pay neighbouring Bayelsa State the revenues meant for Rivers State, in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is, indeed, noteworthy that we have made several representations formally and informally on this matter.

 A second instance is the total absence of federal presence in Rivers State. The ‘National Good Governance Tour’ provided a good opportunity for the Federal Government to showcase its presence in Rivers State. The tour, if nothing else, proved that there was not much to show in a state that is the cash-cow of the federation. The East-West Road remains abandoned, work has been deliberately slow on the Port Harcourt International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country, while all airports started along with it have long been completed and commissioned. The Bonny-Bomu Road that leads to the only functional liquefied natural gas project remains uncompleted. In the midst of all these, our administration went ahead to fix federal roads to the tune of N103 billion. Several representations and letters after, not one kobo has been repaid. The Federal Government is actively discouraging investments in Rivers State.

Let me reiterate that apart from all the listed attacks against Niger Delta region because of his hatred for Amaechi, Dr Jonathan took the proposed biggest dockyard in Africa meant for Bonny in Rivers State to Lagos State. When he lost the election, he revoked the project that was already 40 per cent done. He equally stopped the implementation of the cleaning up of Ogoni land, renovation of the Port Harcourt International Airport as well as repair of major federal roads in the state. To Wike and his misguided Rivers State PDP, Dr Jonathan is the hero of Niger Delta, while Amaechi is a villain!

What Amaechi is to Wike

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

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

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

Contrary to the lies in Wike’s interview with the Sun Newspapers, where he stated that he never wanted to be Governor of Rivers State, but the revelation that his ambition to succeed Amaechi as the governor of Rivers State actually started from his days as chief of staff to Amaechi maybe shocking to most political watchers. But the fact remains that while Amaechi was busy providing dividends of democracy to the people, Wike, on the other hand, was busy undermining him and using the connections and goodwill of the Rivers State Government not only to station his men in strategic positions in government, but to empower most of them financially through award of contracts, initiation and other means. He tested the ground of his ambition when he was appointed director-general for the re-election of Amaechi as governor of Rivers State in 2011. He ensured that only his men were appointed to strategic fields to serve as key mobilisers at the grassroots’ level.

By the time he was appointed minister of state in the Ministry of Education – based on the recommendation of Amaechi to Dr Jonathan – Wike went further with his gubernatorial ambition plot by forming the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), a political pressure group he used to deceive the public, that it was formed to assist in the re-election of then President Jonathan. But, in fact, the outfit was formed to pursue his gubernatorial ambition. He used the outfit to formally recruit his foot soldiers for the battle ahead. This body was heavily financed and motivated, and its presence was established in all the constituencies of Rivers State.

It was this group that he used to dislodge over 11 key Peoples Democratic Party members that wanted to contest the 2015 governorship election under the PDP platform. Those that wanted to play games were properly beaten up and molested at the party’s national secretariat at Abuja. Before this time, Wike, based on political exigency, tactfully suppressed his gubernatorial ambition from public view. Instead, he offered himself as a tool to spearhead the political battle between Jonathan and Amaechi. He gave everything within him to execute this, with the PDP ticket as a target.

Plot against Amaechi

Genesis of the creation of and manufacture of the in-fight with Amaechi, by Jonathan and Wike, stemmed from claims and rumour developed and spread around by members of their camp to win the hearts of Niger Delta people to their devious plot. That is, that the then Governor Amaechi will contest the office of the president or vice-president, with a candidate from the northern part of the country in 2015, thereby truncating the second-term ambition of President Jonathan who is from the same geo-political zone (South-south). This strategy sold like wild fire in the region. And, based on this evil assumption, Jonathan, using Wike as a tool, created the type of Rivers State and Niger Delta region where lives make no meaning, and the economy of the nation is being destroyed

Hostility by Jonathan, Wike against Amaechi

Despite Amaechi’s show of love to former President Jonathan, in order to humiliate and annihilate him politically, the following steps, among others, were adopted: A private jet of the Rivers State Government was grounded for no just cause; the PDP structure in Rivers State was taken away from Amaechi; his election as chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), which was duly certified and widely acknowledged, was annulled by President Jonathan and his cohorts; he also supported the destruction of the once vibrant NGF by supporting 16 governors against 19. Besides, on May 27, 2013 Amaechi was suspended from the PDP, a party he so much loved and spent so much to build. They followed this up with his expulsion. Indeed, if not for divine providence, he would have been illegally impeached by five legislators -(Chinda, Kelechi Godspower Nwogu (Omuma), Evans Bapakaye Bipi (Ogu/Bolo), Martins Amaewhule (Obio/Akpor I) and Victor Ihunwo (Port Harcourt III) – who were loyal to the then minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike, in a House of 32 members. Jonathan withdrew the security details attached to Amaechi. As if these were not enough, the ex-president used state power to prevent Amaechi, then a sitting governor, from reaching Ekiti, in the South-western part of the country, to support the re-election of Dr Kayode Fayemi, because they were in the opposition then. Above all, a Police Commissioner, Mr Joseph Mbu, was posted to Rivers State to haunt, harass, torment, insult and abuse Amaechi publicly.

Wike and Amaechi, who is satanic, diabolical and psychiatric? Be the Judge!

Chief Wike has shamelessly proved that his one single futile project: is to run down his predecessor, mentor and benefactor, former governor Amaechi, which he has carried out so religiously since he was erroneously declared the Governor of Rivers State by the Supreme Court at the expense of over hundreds souls of Rivers State people who were slaughtered in a bid to install him. Observers of the politics of Rivers State could have noted that since his assumption of office as the Governor of Rivers State on May 29, 2015, he has only emphasised and embarked on carrying out this sinister single agenda by throwing caution to the wind and there is nothing in the book of propaganda, dirty politics, blackmail and falsification of records that Wike has not employed and deployed in his desperation to drag Amaechi’s name to the mud. Apart from commissioning a commission of inquiry with the sole agenda: investigate, condemn and find Amaechi guilty and, if possible, arrest and imprison him. And to his chagrin, this kangaroo commission could still not found Amaechi culpable or wanting in all aspects of its investigations. Wike went ahead in his frustration to issue a white paper indicting Amaechi of corruption, without any recourse to the findings of the panel of inquiry set up in this regard.

Wike, through the then infamous CP Mbu, heartlessly dispersed 13,000 teachers who gathered to receive their employment letters, aided the five renegade lawmakers to attempt the impeachment of the then speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, barricaded and sealed the State Assembly for one legislative year, and even blocked the access road to Government House on one occasion, preventing Amaechi and his visitors from using the road. Wike, with the backing of the then First Lady Patience Jonathan, ordered his thugs to stone state governors who visited Rivers in solidarity with Amaechi, for the humiliation he suffered under the watchful eyes of then-President Jonathan. Wike later used the Police and the Army to forcefully break into the newly-constructed stadium, just to prove his powers.

Wike’s desperation to drag Amaechi’s name in the mud, in order to frustrate his nomination or appointment as a minster, made him (Wike) to sponsor a satanic documentary on Amaechi, aired on Africa Independent Television (AIT). This documentary was part of Wike’s propaganda war against Amaechi, for which he earmarked billions of naira in his plot to destroy the person and character of Amaechi. Other propaganda tools planned and deployed during this period, in the war against Amaechi, include sponsored publications such as advertorials, columns, editorials and Op-Ed articles in major international, national and local print media; sponsored personality discussion programmes in the electronic media and sponsored special documentaries on television and radio through independent groups and organisations.

Other insidious plots by Wike to undermine Amaechi include commissioning a team made up of persons within and outside Rivers State to initiate, formulate and contrive false, damaging reports bordering on alleged corrupt practices by Amaechi, which were circulated to individuals and institutions within Nigeria and abroad, with a view to damaging the character and rising profile of Amaechi; in order to blackmail and put pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari not to appoint him into his government. These cooked reports, to the shock of many Nigerians, was sent to the Senate and presented through one misguided Senator Thompson Sekibo, which the Senate referred to its Ethics Committee. This caused the delay in Amaechi’s screening and confirmation as a minister. Amaechi has through both the immediate past Secretary to the Rivers State Government, George Feyi, and the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Chamberlain Peterside, and others denied any form of corruption against him by Wike and his cohorts.

Wike did not stop at these, but went further to set up Justice George Omereji Panel, to investigate the administration of ex-governor Amaechi. Though the panel did not found any wrong-dealing, or corrupt practices by Amaechi, Wike went ahead to issue a white paper indicting him of embezzling the sum of N53 billion. How on earth can someone in his right senses describe funds withdrawn with the approval of the legislature and spent as prescribed by the state budget to be missing? Wike, in his desperation to stop Amaechi’s appointment as a minister, resorted to dancing naked in the market place.

But, as God will have it, and contrary to the expectations of Governor Wike and his gang of ingrates, their ferocious campaign to blackmail, disparage and portray Amaechi as a very corrupt person unfit to be appointed as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria failed to achieve the desired objective. On September 30, 2015 President Buhari went ahead to list and submit Amaechi’s name, along with 20 other Nigerians, as ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.

And to the shock and chagrin of Wike and his cohorts, the Senate, after three sittings on the screening of the ministerial nominees, screened Amaechi on October 22, 2015 and formally confirmed him on October 29, 2015. He was subsequently sworn-in with the 35 other ministers on Wednesday November 11, 2015, by President Buhari, who as a further mark of confidence in the ‘Lion of Niger Delta’ assigned to him the strategically important Ministry of Transportation.

What President Donald Trump of USA and Senator Modu Sheriff, PDP national chairman said about Wike:

When Trump, a world political leader and current President of the United States was told about one Wike from Rivers State, he sighed and in demonstration for his repugnance for most of the political actors in Rivers State expressly stated: One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace; good people don’t go into government.”

While to Sheriff, “I will engineer a restructuring of the PDP such that characters like Wike and Fayose cannot find a way through to attain any position of prominence in our party in the future. They have brought shame and agony through the application of their crude and godless politics, which is at variance with the principles upon which our founding fathers built our great party. We must find a way to sieve things so that only men of character and integrity can come through for positions of responsibility at all levels of our political engagement in the country. We must urgently steer the ship of PDP clear of the path of infamy which Wike and Fayose has brought our party, making Nigerians to mistake PDP as a training ground for thugs. I advice Fayose to resign immediately as the chairman of PDP Governors Forum, a thug cannot lead our governors. That is the urgent task we have. We cannot continue to advertise thug brand and expect Nigerians to take us seriously.”

Amaechi reacts

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

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

To throw more light on the level of betrayal by Wike, Amaechi – on February 15, 2014 at the thanksgiving service held in honour of Senator Magnus Abe (who had to be flown to London for further medical treatment) in Bera, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, after surviving the January 12, 2015 bullet shot by policemen during the inauguration of the pro-Amaechi’s Save Rivers Movement (SRM), at Obio/Akpor LG chapter – said: Wike used the names of his children to swear that he would not betray me. He told the congregation that a notable cleric earlier prophesied to him not to nominate Wike as minister, that he would betray him at last. I believe in prophecies. Apostle Suleiman said I should not nominate Nyesom Wike as a minister; that he would not only betray me, but would try to destroy me. When I confronted Nyesom Wike, in the presence of Chima Chinye, he swore with his children that he would not betray me. Any man that swears with the lives of his children is a wicked man. He does not appreciate those children at all. People who do not have character, you don’t give them political power. Nyesom Wike, Dakuku Peterside and Magnus Abe are among those I helped that passed through our friendship.”

Amaechi added that he intervened and assisted Wike to secure second term tenure, when the people of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area vowed to deny him a second term as chairman of the council over alleged disrespect for elders, arrogance and poor performance. “What is his political history? Without the rest, God did them through me?”

Rivers PDP Affirms Amaechi’s ‘Sins’

Supporting the attack against Amaechi, Rivers PDP, through Mr. Felix Obuah, the factional PDP state chairman, in a press statement stated: “We are, however, shocked that Amaechi, who has shamelessly brought so much insult to the people of Niger Delta, is playing a major role in pushing out the son of the Niger Delta as the president of this country, in preference for his new-found love, and killer of his kinsmen (no thanks to the military invasion of Rivers State) will, against all odds, be nursing the ambition to launch a come-back to the region, after inflicting so much pains and agony on the people.”

The Rivers APC, through its State Publicity Secretary, Chief Chris Finebone, reacted as follows: Much more than that, the statement, in some ways, underscores the nexus between the hurting of 2015 election to wailing wailers, the spate of destruction of oil installations by the Avengers and other restive youths in the Niger Delta, and the recent blowing up of Shell trunk line to Bonny Export Terminal. Little wonder the PDP in Rivers State fails to see the need for peace, which the Abuja meeting was meant to bring about in the Niger Delta. Is anyone still wondering those behind the ongoing bombing and bursting of pipelines in the Niger Delta? It is sad that an individual that sold his soul to Satan and connived with Wike to steal a political party structure in broad daylight could muster the courage to talk about betrayal. What betrayal can be more than that exhibited by a man that was shot and left to die, but was rescued and flown abroad to save his life. The same man turned around later to bite the hand that God used to save him. Indeed, Obuah should not forget to tell his children the true story of his miserable life.”

Who’s Amaechi?

Amaechi is an enigma that defies description. His erstwhile deputy, Engr Tele Ikuru, who seems to know him better than most of us, tried to give an insight into who this man is when, during the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court judgement that brought Amaechi to power, stated: “Today, we have come to celebrate a resourceful leader, a dogged fighter, a political enigma, a change agent, people defender, transformer, catalyst, trailblazer, phenomenon of our time, His Excellency, the Rt Hon Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, the executive Governor of Rivers State. A leader whose word you can take to the bank. A trusted friend and ally, a man who stands by his friends and confidants, both in good times and in times of difficulties and challenges. A man of conscience who does not hide under the veil of circumstances to betray his friends and allies; a compassionate leader whose love for the development of the state and its people has no parallel. A sincere and honest leader, who rather than cart away the commonwealth of Rivers people entrusted to his care, has diligently applied it to the development of the state to the admiration of the true Rivers people and even his traducers. A visionary leader who knows and sees his people first.” I don’t know if any other person can beat this definition of the enigma known as Amaechi.

 

To Victor Nwokocha, a renowned social commentator, “Wike’s very best, can never equal, not to talk about surpassing Amaechi’s sterling, innovative, radical, trend-setting and absolutely revolutionary records as Rivers State Governor. Take it or leave it, Amaechi remains a hero of global reckoning”.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I am counselled by Isaiah 33:1 “Woe to you, O destroyer, While you were not destroyed; And he who is treacherous, while others did not deal treacherously with him As soon as you finish destroying, you will be destroyed; As soon as you cease to deal treacherously, others will deal treacherously with you.”; and by Michael Bassey Johnson who stated: “When the devil wants to punish his worshippers, he uses the trick of karma.”

Finally, Senator Abe, representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, summarised this treatise when he described Wike as uncouth in public speaking, and his comments as embarrassing to every Rivers man. Reacting to a statement credited to Governor Wike, who described his predecessor, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi as Lucifer, Satan and chameleon, Abe said such foul language ought not to come from a governor of a state, despite their political differences, although the governor has a history of incivility in public speaking, for the fact that he is a governor should make him weigh his words, the import and the connotation to his image, before speaking. It was unfair for the governor to call the minister unprintable names, for accompanying the Acting President to Government House, Port Harcourt. But if Wike should refer to Senator Abe and Dr Dakuku-Peterside as Amaechi’s boys, he (Wike) should also refer to himself as Amaechi’s boy, because he is what he is today by virtue of serving Hon Amaechi, as it was on that strength that he became a local government chairman, chief of staff and, later, appointed a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

I have nothing else to say than to ask the reader to decide who, among Wike and Amaechi, is satanic and needs a psychiatric physician.

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

 

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Imaginary division in Rivers APC, Glory Emeh’s lone swan song propaganda

Posted on February 28, 2017. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: , |

Imaginary division in Rivers APC, Glory Emeh’s lone swan song propaganda

By Tonye Banigo

When he claimed he had joined the All Progressives Congress, APC, a little over a year ago, not a few members of the APC especially from his Emohua Local Government Area grumbled. Their grouse was that they know the man Chief Emeh Glory Emeh too well.

According to an Emohua indigene (name with-held), Chief Emeh is like a tiger that can never change its spots.

“We told our leaders that those of us from Emohua know this man very well but we were ignored. They welcomed him with open arms but today, like the typical political bird of passage, he has moved back to the PDP where he believes he has the opportunity to scam the governor of huge sums of money in the name of conducting propaganda against the APC,” he revealed.

It does not take much to realise that Chief Glory Emeh has already started work as a self-acclaimed propagandist and lie merchant. He seems to have nothing else in his propaganda scabbard to please and scam Gov. Nyesom Wike and the PDP than to create and project a singular agenda of an imaginary division in Rivers APC.

For the man who prides himself in being a ‘media’ man’ on account of planting gotcha stories in newspapers, started by planting a story of how the APC in Rivers State is divided along different lines. Two weeks after, he has just sent out  another story under a pseudo name (Iheanyi Ezinwo) titled “Crisis of confidence rocks Rivers APC….as members move in drove[sic] to ruling PDP.”

This line of propaganda or narrative serves Chief Emeh two purposes. He uses it to accentuate his imaginary dooms day for the APC in Rivers State, something the right thinking public know is not true. The second reason is to try and justify his ignominious and shameful defection to PDP in search of filthy lucre, a movement even his Personal Assistant (PA) refused to do with his boss. There is no gainsaying that his closest associates rebuffed his persistent attempt of luring them to leave the APC and join the PDP. Tuth is that the man who regales in having made a fortune from former Governor Peter Odili through propaganda went alone to the PDP.

The real battle for Chief Glory Emeh should not be against Rivers APC, the uphill task before him should be how to launder his image as a notorious liar and serial betrayer before his old pals in PDP. He is known to have betrayed everyone else that has crossed his part in life. The list of his victims is too long for the space available here.

Undoubtedly, Chief Glory Emeh has a penchant for big ideas and sees opportunities to make money from propaganda where no one else does. He confesses to anyone that cares how he made so much money selling media-related dummies to former Gov. Peter Odili when he served under the latter. Emeh often narrates how he created some local tabloids, cloned existing ones all for the purpose of propaganda according to the textbooks of Chief Emeh.

While in APC, he attempted to lift from his old scripts but did not find easy victims to sell his dummies to. His motives were carefully studied, uncovered and ignored. Obviously his failure to sell those dummies for big money contributed to his decision to return to his old PDP camp where the Rivers State governor could be made to buy his schemes while Chief Emeh smiles to the bank.

However, he may face a huge stumbling block as there are already several handlers of the governor’s media activities. Beyond trying to personally bulldoze his way to secure something for himself directly from Gov. Nyesom Wike, Chief Emeh is likely to find out that like the good old saying goes, ‘all that glitters is not gold.’

By far, the most daunting challenge for Chief Emeh Glory Emeh is having to extract the confidence of most of the PDP members and Gov. Nyesom Wike who know Chief Emeh so well and perhaps more than they know the back of their palms.

Given the opportunity, I would advise members of Rivers APC not be worried with the planted articles and other lies under all types of pseudo names emanating from Chief Emeh as he has only one objective: to paint Rivers APC as balkanised and diminishing. When the public fail to see that happen, he will naturally run out of ideas as his only objective is to eke out big money from his new victims. Nothing more.

Tonye Banigo is a Port Harcourt based social commentator and political analyst

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Ebonyi 2019: Opposition’s Grouses against Umahi Exposed

Posted on February 15, 2017. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Ebonyi 2019: Opposition’s Grouses against Umahi Exposed

Written By Monica Ada C. Eze

Preamble

gov-dave-umahiFew weeks back, we monitored nocturnal meetings in Abuja, Abakaliki and Enugu of major political heavy weights that lost out in the 2015 general elections in Ebonyi State, with those who felt that they are not carried along by the present administration of Governor Dave Umahi and the group that have some political scores to settle with the governor, as well as those who felt that he is going too far in his transformational agenda and must be stopped by any means before he rubbishes their political leanings that Ebonyi is beyond any form of redemption. In all these meetings, the single agenda was strategies to uproot the Umahi from the Government House come 2019.

The argument that Ebonyi South, through Umahi, is entitled to a second term as was the case with Senator Sam Egwu from Ebonyi North zone and Chief Martins Elechi from North-Central zone who all spent eight years in office failed on deaf ears, not considering Umahi’s commitment, based on physical and people-oriented projects scattered all over the state towards the development and emancipation of Ebonyi State and her people. This does not make any meaning to this clique that feels that without them Ebonyi State can’t be governed by any other person, except those anointed and who are ready to bring the state treasury to them, before embarking on any project.

We are not against any group of persons gathering or strategising on their political future, as doing that will be going against the main tenets of democracy, which centres on groups and people gathering to scramble for political powers and positions, but one’s concern is that such gatherings should be centred on the greatness and better future of Ebonyi State, as noting less than that will and will not have my blessing or that of any focussed youth of this state. Theodore Roosevelt, one-time president of the United States of America captured my mind when he stated: “The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.” And I pray that the opposition in Ebonyi State will listen to Roosevelt and let us play this politics with decency and Ebonyi greatness as our main hallmark.

It is in consideration of this fact, as a concerned daughter of Ebonyi State whose future and that of my fellow youths are at stake by this type of unholy machination to jeopardise and scurry the ongoing systematic strategies by Umahi’s administration to wrestle our state from the doldrums and woods that informed my decision to embark on this treatise, aimed at finding out and exposing the grouses of these misguided elements who feel that they have the power to scuttle the obvious current efforts to revamp both the economy of Ebonyi and make the state an Eldorado for the benefit of all and sundry.

I am not afraid of all these nocturnal meetings, because if God was the one that anointed Umahi to be Governor of Ebonyi State, no amount of gatherings will scuttle God’s will for Ebonyi State. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a lawyer, politician, and the founder of Pakistani State, captured very succinctly the Ebonyi opposition misguided tactics when he stated: “Let those men who still have these misguided ideas, let those men who still have these hallucinations, realise that by anarchism, by dastardly crimes, they cannot bring about good government; let them realise that these methods have not succeeded in any country of the world, and are not likely to succeed in India”; Ebonyi State inclusive.

100 Grouses of the opposition against Umahi

  1. The first major sin against the opposition by Umahi is allowing himself to be appointed as Acting Chairman of PDP, Ebonyi State chapter, by Dr Sam Egwu in 2007. This was the office he used to fight to ensure that the PDP candidate in the 2007 gubernatorial candidate, Chief Martins Elechi, was duly elected and sworn-in as the second civilian governor of Ebonyi State.
  1. The opposition will like to know why Umahi allowed his businesses and personal outfits to be burnt and destroyed in his home town, Uburu, because of PDP politics.
  1. Why did Umahi, as substantive PDP chairman, make the party under his watch a cohesive, vibrant, united family and a political lethal force in the state, ready to pull down any form of opposition, using its grassroots appeal as a strategy and reputed to have built the best State Secretariat of PDP in the country?
  1. Why on earth did he accept the Office of the Deputy Governor during the second term of Chief Martins Elechi, during the 2011 gubernatorial election in which he contributed so much financially, materially and spiritually, to ensure that Chief Elechi was duly re-elected as governor of Ebonyi State.
  1. Why should Umahi take his fate in his hands and resort to God – and with the help of the then Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Pius Anyim, Dr Sam Egwu, and others – to reclaim the mandate as the PDP gubernatorial candidate; after then governor Elechi had formally told him that he is not his candidate?
  1. Why has he decided to expose to the entire world that Abakaliki can look like a state capital, instead of leaving it as a glorified local government headquarters it was used to?
  1. Who told Umahi that Abakaliki is due for a fly-over, talk less of three at the same time?
  1. Why did he increase the salaries of civil servants in the state and be paying them regularly, while other states are not paying their civil servants for months: what is he trying to prove?
  1. For making Ebonyi State the number one Agriculture State in Nigeria, he must be dealt with.
  1. Who is Umahi to recognise traditional rulers and even give them jeeps as official cars, thereby trying to elevate them to the status of monarchs in other states?

 

  1. Why must he always dedicate the state to God, even refusing to enter the Government House immediately he was sworn in, until he embarked on a five-day fasting and prayer, against the norm?
  1. Why must Umahi restore peace to the land of the Ezza-Ezillo crisis that has claimed more than 200 lives, and property worth millions of naira destroyed when the state needs blood for sacrifices?
  1. In whose authority did he send buses to convey our people from Kano, Ibadan, Lagos, Jos, Port Harcourt, Onistha and other major towns in Nigeria, to convey our people to and fro to spend their Christmas and New Year festivities in Ebonyi? (Something that was never done by past administrations.)
  1. Today, Ebonyi State is termed as one huge construction site: why must he embark on too many people-oriented projects at the same time?
  1. Why must Ebonyi State be rated as number one in the revolution of agriculture and was declared as the best state in the elimination of malaria and healthcare delivery under Umahi?

16.Not minding the current recession ravaging the country which made most states unable to pay their staff salaries for many months, yet the administration of Umahi in Ebonyi State has not only increased the salaries of its workers by 5 per cent, but pays regularly on 15th of every month?

  1. Who taught Umahi that there is something like 13-month salary, since the departure of the British from Nigeria, when Ebonyi workers were paid extra one month after their December, 2016 salary? This is a fallacy and must be stopped henceforth.

18 On what premises is Umahi’s administration ensuring that there is no family or community in Ebonyi State that is not feeling the impact of governance in Ebonyi?

  1. Governor Umahi had the audacity to have invited Engr Babachir Lawal, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), to the state and permitted him to state: Well, I cannot in all honesty understand how these works have been achieved within this short time and, indeed, in the climate of dire economic shortages of government. I am impressed that you (Dave Umahi) were able to do these works within the cost you mentioned. I can, in all honesty, tell you that the work is far beyond the cost. Now, this is a standard for other states and the Federal Government to emulate. To me, Governor Umahi is one of the few persons who believe that meagre resources could be used to achieve much, if we remove greed, which breeds corruption. Without mincing words, Umahi, is better than some governors in my own party, the APC.” Why and why should this happen?
  1. Why should Ebonyi State be rated as one of the most outstanding growing states in Nigeria, as Umahi embarks on total rehabilitation of the dilapidated roads in Abakaliki, and construction of roads in all the senatorial zones of the state? This is not fair and, therefore, unacceptable to us in the opposition.
  1. On what premises should the Chairman, Senate committee on Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba said that, the developmental strides of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State are unprecedented in the annals of governance in Ebonyi State.Umahi has returned the twenty years old state to the path of progress. His aggressive infrastructural pursuit and actualizing the dream of the founding fathers of Ebonyi state is commendable. With the rate the governor is tackling rural and urban development; the state has entered into the record books as one of the fastest developing states in Africa”. To the opposition this assertion is not acceptable to us and must be withdrawn
  1. The statement credited to Chief Austin Umahi, the National Vice Chairman of PDP, South East Zone about the administration of Gov. Umahi that, “You ain’t see something yet until Ebonyi become the second Dubai. The fact remains that the current developments ongoing in Ebonyi is just a starting point as Ebonyi will soon be competing with high profiled cities like Dubai” is not acceptable to us and must be withdrawn
  1. For the Governor to be addressed as Akubaraoha which he uses to touch the lives of many Ebonyians is not acceptable and must change such a title if he wants us in the opposition to give him any respite.
  1. The plot to develop and build a model of school in each of the 13 local government areas of the state to serve as a benchmark for what all public schools should be in a no distant future is not acceptable to the opposition as the current state of schools in the State is okay by them.
  1. The Governor must bury the thought of engaging the German Environmental Sanitation Development Company on establishment of a new city to be known as Salt Lake City and the development of a land belonging to the state government in Abuja. Those in the opposition are contented with lack of ideas and initiatives to develop the State in any form.
  1. The idea to use expatriates to train our farmers on the use of the mechanized agricultural equipment procured by the government thereby revolutionizing agriculture in the State by the use of modern mechanized agricultural equipment is a top dream so far we concerned and should be discarded.
  1. For Umahi’s administration to approve N100m to enable the State Ministry of Power to continue with the ongoing urban street light project coupled to be systematically handled with the ongoing rehabilitation of 200 kilometres of urban street roads by the state Ministry of Works to ensure that each road reconstructed will be accompanied with street light, water and environmental sanitation facilities must be discountenanced.
  1. The Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, is not fair to the opposition by expressing the readiness of his administration to key into the programmes of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to enhance the well-being of women and children in the state and stressing his resolve “to ensure that no woman dies during child birth under his watch.
  1. For Umahi to spend a whopping of N8.1 million to defray medical bills of some indigent patients in the hospital thus demonstrating the fact that politics in Nigeria, could possibly be harnessed to wipe the tears off the eyes of suffering masses and assuage the pains of sufferer to the opposition is a taboo.
  1. The Governor was taken too much by hosting the Octogenarians who had spent their years serving the society in various public and private capabilities during their hay days to a banquet organized in their honour. These elderly men drawn from the thirteen local Government Areas of the State were visibly exhilarated as they danced old school tunes with the governor at the glorious Banquet hall of the Governor’s lodge reminiscent of their youthful years. They were showered with Executive gifts of materials and cash and advised on tips to safeguarding their health by the Commissioner for Health, Daniel Umezurike. Why should these abandoned individuals be brought to a place like the Government House of the State
  1. Why on earth should Barrister Anselem Enigwe, the Caretaker Chairman of Ebonyi Local Government state that: “I thank God for the choice of His Excellency, the workaholic Governor of Ebonyi State…He is simply too much. He has done more than good to the people of the State. He has demonstrated the fulfillment of the Biblical injunction to celebrate the elders alive…” He described Governor Umahi as a selfless an altruistic leader who put other first.
  1. Governor Umahi should as a matter of urgency call for a stakeholders meeting to disannul the various communities in Ebonyi State resolution to endorse him as the sole candidate for the 2019 general elections as a demonstration of appreciation of gratitude to his unprecedented feats.
  1. it is not acceptable that a barely a year after assuming office, Umahi should exhibit and impact his vision so visibly that Nigerians now boast and celebrate that truly a new visionary, focused, determined, patriotic, revolutionary, egalitarian leader. Indeed that makes everyone to agree that Umahi is one leader cast in the mould of Dr Akanu Ibiam, the first Governor of the defunct Eastern Nigeria, who happens to come from the same section of the state like Umahi.
  1. Umahi must change his mission statement which seems to centre on the welfare of the Ebonyi State people in order to accommodate the unprogressive position of the opposition,  “Our mission in Ebonyi State is to enhance the welfare of our people, and empower all Ebonyians to be self-reliant, through the compassionate delivery of transparent and God-fearing governance, based on integrity and dignity.”
  1. To the opposition Hon Linus Okorie, representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives must be recalled for observing after due consultation with various communities that came in thousands during the Christmas and New Year homage to the Governor, moved the motion that Umahi must not only stand for the second term in the 2019 general elections, but must be the sole candidate of PDP and other progressives parties desirous of the greatness and future of Ebonyi State.
  1. Hon Odefa Obasi Odefa the Deputy Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly must be a joker for seconding the motion, stating that if the feats of Governor Umahi less than two years in office are anything to go by he should stand as the sole candidate of all the functional political parties in Ebonyi State during the 2019 gubernatorial elections. ‘The fact remains that we in Ebonyi State are not only blessed through Umahi who has exposed our state to unprecedented revolution and transformation of our dear state, but we can proudly stand before any state in the federation in terms of having a visionary leader whose impact is very visible, even to the blind.’
  1. Why must the Senior Technical Advisers and Technical Advisers to the Governor through their leader, Mark Onu state that: “We are happy with you. Your second tenure is assured. We can only disagree with you if you refuse to present yourself. But I know the good Lord will guide you in all your dealings.”
  1. The people of Ezza North according to the opposition erred by pleading with Governor Umahi not to go to Abuja until he completes the “good works” he is doing in the state, by contesting the 2019 polls. Through their spokesman, Mr. Hygienus Nwokwu,: Your Excellency, we are highly pleased with the good works you are doing in this our state. We are particularly pleased that our LGA has been well favoured in the area of infrastructural development. You have ensured equity in the spread of projects and appointments. We are happy with you, sir. But, your Excellency, we want to plead with you not to go to Abuja yet. We say this because very soon, people in Abuja will soon ask you to come to the centre. But we say don’t go yet, until you have completed the good works you have started. That they did not want a situation where the governor’s “massive projects would not be completed.”
  1. For Umahi to state that, “As a government, we are thankful to God that Ebonyi is among the few states of the federation where civil servants went home with their salaries from January to December, and are paid by 15th of every month. We have even done more than that by paying 13thmonth salary to all civil servants. This we have done for two years running. That Ebonyi is counted among the few states that do not owe salaries is not only remarkable, it is a testimony of rare ingenuity on the part of my administration”, to the opposition this is suffocating to them.
  1. Umahi is suffocating the opposition by maintaining thatAs we begin 2017, the story will not change. It is equally worthy to note our achievements in the area of agriculture, the health sector, and road construction in the year just ended. The opening up of our rural villages through massive road construction and street light projects across the three senatorial districts is eloquent testimonial of our successes within our 18 months in office. In the capital city Abakaliki, urban renewal and beautification were given priority through streetlights and road rehabilitation/construction.”
  1. Umahi the enigma compounding the position of the opposition the more stated, “Agriculture is one area we have regained national prominence and accolades, even from President, Muhammadu Buhari. It is a thing of joy that Ebonyi is now a reference point in terms of agriculture. I am highly glad that Ebonyians keyed into our vision to make agriculture our principal income earner. We will not lose our focus and vision in this area in 2017. We cannot be talking about achieving self-sufficiency in agriculture without opening up our local roads, for effective and efficient evacuation of farm produce to our urban markets. Thus, this year 2017, we shall strive assiduously to ensure commencement of work on the Abakaliki Ring Road, which cuts across most of the local government areas in the state.
  1. “In 2017, we shall take our rural electrification project to all the three senatorial districts. Health and Education sectors will not be left out. They will witness quantum leap in terms of improvement in facilities, manpower and, of course, performance. Our intention is to make life in our villages comfortable. By this, we will be able to keep the youths at home where they can engage in noble ventures, especially agriculture.
  1. “To fight poverty in 2017 and effectively too, we shall continue with our empowerment programmes. More of our youths must be engaged through deliberate empowerment policies of my government. Women will not be left out. We shall empower the women in several ways, to ensure they are engaged in productive ventures. Tell me with these innovations, what are the opposition in Ebonyi State talking about
  1. “In the area of security, my government is awake to the challenges of securing lives and property in the state, and will remain so ever. Ebonyi is no longer a safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers. I am glad to tell Ebonyians that throughout the Yuletide, there was no news of kidnapping or armed robbery in any part of the state.
  1. the opposition will like to know why Umahi must embark upon all these roads considered unworthy of government attention by the previous administration- These are: Water Works Road, Ogoja–Onuebonyi–Rice Mill Road, Gunning Road, New Market Road, Nkaliki–EBBC–EBHA–Abakaliki LGA Road, Hosanna Park, Hosanna Street, Ezika Street (Yam market), Old Park, Jos Street, Obiri Street, Nwodo Street, Mberi Street, Awolowo Street, Nsugbe Street, Uga Street, Ezza Road, Udensi Roundabout–Mile 50, Adiq Suite Road, Gulf Roundabout–Quarry–Fide Mbam Road, Hausa Quarters, Onwe Road, Vanco Junction to Government House, Convent Road, Meat Market, New Market Road, Udemezue Street, Arondizuogu Street, Nkwogu Street and Zik Avenue.
  2. Why must Umahi embark upon the following projects in the Ebonyi North District – Ezzamgbo–Effium road, Hill Top–Nwofe road, Ishieke–Odomoke road (Nwiboko Obodo road), Amike–Abegu-Ozibo bridge, Amachara–Oferekpe–Ovuduechi road.
  1. What is Umahi trying to prove by remembering the Ebonyi Central through Enyibichiri Ikwo Road, Ndufu–Alike–FUNAI Road, Nkalagu–Ehamufu Road.
  2. For Umahi to remember the forgotten  Ebonyi South Sentorial Zone through the following projects – Amasiri–Okposi–Uburu road, Ezzama–Oshiri-Onicha-Isu-Uburu Road, Amasiri–Nguzu–Owutu Edda Road, Amangwu–Owutu Edda Bridge, Ihenu channelisation/culverts, Ntezi–Agba–Isu Road is an abomination to the opposition
  1. In which other State in Nigeria are Ex-lawmakers, Chairmen to Earn Monthly Pay except in Ebonyi State therefore the Governor must discard such an idea if for nothing for the interest of the opposition in Ebonyi State. According to the Governor. “My aim is to carry everybody along, especially the political class. That’s why I will be approaching the House of Assembly to ask them for approval so that those legislators that are not on seat now, we start paying them some stipends. Former local government chairmen will also be included. I believe this is how we can get them to help in developing and creating wealth in our state, and will assist to douse tension and allow me some concentration with them so that we can complete the work we have started.”
  1. it is totally unacceptable to the opposition that Umahi should within one month construct and equip a multi-million naira modern virology centre in FETHA II, Abakaliki where suspected cases of Lassa Fever and other acute hemorrhagic fevers will be diagnosed and managed This is the first of its kind in the South-east. This project started because of the governor’s love for his people, who before this period has lost so many lives due delays in sending and receiving sample results from Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.

Conclusion

I have about 100 grouses of the opposition against Umahi but space can’t allow me to mention them all in this piece but don’t be dismayed as I have put all in a booklet once I have a sponsor for its printing, the public will be privileged to know more of what this enigma call Engr Dave Nwaze Umahi has done for his State less than two years in office.

This notwithstanding, if all these feats by Umahi in less than two years in office are the sins he has committed to warrant being persecuted and kicked out by 2019, we, Ebonyians, will urge him to commit more of these sins in order to reposition our state to a better and greater height.

Watching the opposition politics in Ebonyi State, I can now understand why Donald Trump, a world political leader and current President of the United States, in showing his repugnance for most of the political actors expressly stated: “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace; good people don’t go into government.” But, fortunately for us in Ebonyi State, we have one good man spearheading the affairs of governance and delivering dividends of democracy to our people. His name is Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi, the Akuaboraha, he whose wealth touches all and sundry.

Umahi has not only redefined governance but has achieved within less than two years, what past administrations of the state could not achieve in the 20 years of the creation of the state.

To my friends and leaders in the opposition, I think we can listen to the following counsel of Bayard RustinIf we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end”

In conclusion, let me counsel my principal and my leader that he should not have any fear, as all the good people of Ebonyi State are behind him but most importantly, God has the final say in his case. And he has already ruled in the book of Isaiah Chapter 54 verse 15: “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. (King James Version).

Monica Ada C. Eze is the President and Founder, DUNATA & TA on Media to Governor Dave Nweze Umahi and can be reached via quintrelking@gmail.com & dunaebonyitransformation001@gmail.com

 

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Rivers State and Wike’s Concept of Good Governance

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

Rivers State and Wike’s Concept of Good Governance

Written By Ogbonna Nwuke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nigeria: Time to Domesticate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250

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

Nigeria: Time to Domesticate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250

By Lawal Rafiu Adeniran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Basorun, Ibadan, Oyo State

 

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