Tag: 2015

Africa?s leaders agreed to end hunger by 2015

image003Africa?s leaders unanimously agreed to end hunger and cut poverty in half by 2025 with the signing of the Malabo Declaration at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government last month.

?Accelerated growth is essential if Africans at all levels are to achieve their aspirations for prosperity,? said AU Chairperson H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (http://www.au.int).? ?It is time for heads of state to put agriculture at the top of national development agendas and lead the way on a sure path to development for their people. Prosperity is within reach ? it?s in our hands.??

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At the summit, African leaders committed to new priorities, strategies and concrete targets around agriculture-led growth to achieve food and nutrition security for shared prosperity for their people. Building on the positive growth performance of many agricultural sectors in recent years, the new targets will push governments to move faster in creating a policy and infrastructure environment in which agriculture can thrive and generate income opportunities at all levels.

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Specifically, they agreed to:

?????????? Recommit to the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process

?????????? Increase both public and private investment finance in agriculture

?????????? End hunger in Africa by 2025

?????????? Halve poverty by 2025 through inclusive agricultural growth and transformation

?????????? Boost intra-Africa trade in agricultural commodities and services

?????????? Enhance resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate change variability and other related risks

?????????? Commit to mutual accountability to actions and results

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Through CAADP, the African Union will drive and measure progress so that countries, and their leaders, are held accountable for results. The declaration committed African leaders to a systematic regular review process, using the CAADP Results Framework. The leaders further called for an immediate design of a strategy and roadmap for implementation of these comments.

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?While their collective pledge is important, it is now time to move beyond words and for Africa?s political leadership to act.? Africans cannot prosper on just hopeful summit declarations,? said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.?

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Agriculture is Africa?s solution to long term social and economic development issues including food security, youth unemployment, gender inequality and climate change.

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?A strong agricultural sector will provide employment and generate economic growth which means jobs and incomes for Africans,? said AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E Rhoda Peace Tumusiime. ?But public and private sector investment in agriculture is essential.?

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Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the African Union Commission (AUC).

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Governor Akpabio,A Major Subject Of Terrible Criticisms

By Uwemedimo Umanah

wpid-godswil-akpabio-potrait-akwaibomnow0.jpgIn recent times, notably, as the tenure of the present administration in the state is winding up, the state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio has been a subject of terrible criticisms, both in the media and in political circles, by some of those who were once his friends, political associates, and beneficiaries among others.
This scenario makes the politics of Akwa Ibom State governorship elections of 2015 more interesting, thought stimulating, and intellectually tasking, since the creation of the state in 1987 for a number of reasons. First, the incumbent governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio has redefined the character of politics through unparalleled infrastructural development, thereby engendering greater interest for the position of Governor, by politicians. The result of this is that politicians have come to the realization that government can indeed be used to touch lives.
Secondly, the formation of hostile political alliances and counter alliances, aimed at forestalling Governor Akpabio’s succession plan has led to “a unity” of the opposition elements in the state to achieve that purpose. I will come back to that shortly!
The removal of Umana Okon Umana, as Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government on July 29, 2013 had unsettled the political equilibrium in the state. It gave succinct meaning to Paulo Coelho’s philosophy that anyone who has loses something he thought was his forever finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to him.
Umana’s anticipation was a negation of providentialism. He had erroneously assumed that nobody, including God, could stop him from succeeding Chief Godswill Akpabio as Governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2015. This belief was predicated on the fact that he was the primus inter pare in the state, with the entire political machinery of state at his disposal. Obviously, Umana had consolidated his firm control of this machinery by spearheading the removal of EXCO members and political office holders that were not in his good books, and bringing on board those that would enhance his political ambition. But he miscalculated, because the resignation of Mr Nsima Ekere as deputy governor in 2012 had opened a new vista in the political history of the state. That resignation attracted widespread condemnation by pundits, and analysts alike, while ushering in a new of phase of opposition.
The “new opposition”, found expression in the “Operation Umana must Go campaign”, which drew currency from three main groups, namely: the first was those sympathetic to Obong Nsima Ekere, who saw their principal as a victim of an inordinate lust for power by Umana(UOU); the second group consisted of supporters of political appointees who fell off favour, and were relieved of their positions on Umana Umana’s recommendation and intrigues. The third group or the middle force, was an amalgam of Akwa Ibomites in the diaspora, and at home, with firm control of the media, particularly, the internet space and the local newspapers who believed in good governance, justice, and equity, and doubted UOU’s capacity to guarantee these variables, in the face of his overbearing and larger- than-life approach to leadership. Together, it was an uncoordinated, but voluntary political revolution aimed at installing a just and tranquil socio-political order, which is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Herein lies the basis of zoning and political rotation, as enshrined in Nigerian Constitution (federal character principle), and the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party).
As Plato, the ancient political philosopher noted, the aim of the good society is neither freedom, nor economic well-being… rather the aim of the good society is justice… a true State, therefore, must be conformed to justice.
The appointment of Udom Emmanuel, an Executive Director of Zenith Bank as Umana’s successor, both as SSG, and as “the ordained system candidate” for the office of Governor, also was gratifying. The unique and path breaking appointment, was not only commendable, but timely, as need arose to give the government a corporate image. A few months later, Udom Emmanuel became the ‘Right Man’ for the 2015 governorship. What gives him indomitable advantages over other contenders are his solid professional background, where he comes from, which is ESD, and ultimately, the Governor’s support.
The choice of Udom Emmanuel, arguably, was thoughtful and cerebral, the reason being that he has a sophisticated knowledge of the workings of the global political economy, owing to his meteoric rise in the corporate world. If Udom(UGE) is such a marketable brand, then the fact that his purported adoption by the governor as successor has multiplied Governor Akpabio’s traducers, is even more evident.
There is a home- grown argument, that the governor should allow the people a free hand to choose whoever will lead them in 2015. This argument springs from the camps of nearly all the guber aspirants from Uyo Senatorial District, but that line of thought loses its tenability in the context of politics. Harold Laswell defined politics as a process of who gets what, when, and how, and David Easton conceives of it as authoritative allocation of values in the society. While Easton’s definition is capable of throwing us into an endless debate, especially on the specificity of “values”, Laswell’s definition gives a clearer insight into the dynamics of politics and entire political process, in the sense that it explicates the rationale for those in power expressing preponderant interest in who succeeds them. As a political scientist noted, the greatest desire of of leaders are glory, honor, and prestige. ( Political relevance and capital accumulation are attendants of these).
By possible extrapolation, these values, though egoistic in nature, are so core to leaders that they wouldn’t compromise them on the altar of “political trivialities”. By extrapolation, it’s irrational to assume that a sitting Governor wouldn’t be interested in who wants to succeed him. Why then do we refer to a governments as a continuum? Policy consistency lies at the heart of this. As noted George Guvamatanga, a Financial Expert, and Managing Director of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe, policy inconsistency and lack of clarity continues to scare off potential investors in Sub- Saharan Africa… No one gives you money or brings investment because they feel sorry for you or they like you, but because it makes investment sense. Policy summersaults, therefore, kills the potentials of an emerging economy, making a nonsense of past efforts at development. The facts that the Tinapa Business Resort is in a state of comatose, exemplifies the primitivity of policy inconsistency. Leaders therefore prefer as successors, those who would likely share their vision and conceptualization of development, and it is believed that the “body-language” of Governor Akpabio is looking in the direction of Udom Emmanuel. This has elicited an unprecedented vilification by a few other aspirants, principal among which are Umana Okon Umana, former Secretary to Government, Bassey Albert Akpan, immediate past finance Commissioner, Bishop Samuel Akpan and Chief Assam Assam who is the Nigerian ambassador to Russia.
While Umana is apparently aggrieved with the Governor for firing him as SSG, and adopting Udom Emmanuel to succeed him as Governor in 2015, others are crying wolf that instead of the Governor imposing a successor on the people, the electioneering process should be on a level playing turf, against the PDP zoning arrangement which was reaffirmed in the town hall meetings that the governorship position for 2015, be zoned to Eket Senatorial District of the state, which has not produced a governor, since Akwa Ibom was created in 1987.
It begs the question, as what would precipitate Umana’s grievance, having served as SSG, a position for which he least bargained, for six record years? A political scientist, and Philosopher Baron De Montesquieu avails us with the possible answer to the question thus: power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely… Abraham Lincoln reinforced this when he opined that, nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s true character, give him power. Political Analysts believe that Umana Okon Umana’s ambition to govern Akwa Ibom falls flat of reason, and is studded with greed, and quest for personal aggrandizement, as his attitude depicts a man that cannot be trusted with the assets of power. His numerous sponsored advertorials and media attacks against the governor, whom he served for that long attests to his hypocritical demeanor. That’s why keen watchers and pundits have argued that it’s the height of ingratitude and caricature for a man who served in a government for six years as a rallying force and an integral part of it, to censure it.
Bassey Albert Akpan, who was recently relieved of his duty as Finance Commissioner, considers his removal from the state EXCO, as an opportunity to launch his governorship ambition. He is believed by many, particularly, the youth of Uyo , Itu, and Ibiono, to be a very generous person, whom, if given an opportunity to rule the state, would lead a policy that will empower young folks in the state. His aim to rule Akwa Ibom State is borne out of infantile exuberance. A Peace Expert with the university of Uyo posits that Bassey’s exuberance has misled him to the thought that the “boys” played an important role in the 2006 governorship primaries that led to the emergence of Chief Godswill Akpabio, and that the same feat will be repeated in 2015.
Bassey was allegedly coerced into the 2015 governorship fray by a group of boys, who constitute what has come to be known as I-33. This group initialized with UOU as their plan A, and Albert as an alternative, or plan B. Their current routine is taking their campaigns to palm wine joints, and other public arenas. A political commentator once said that this group anchors their reliance on the use of terror and violence in order to achieve their objective. But the reliability of this theoretical underpinning is shaky, in the sense that electoral violence can only thrive in an environment that is conducive to it. Furthermore, the growing level of political education and maturity in the Akwa Ibom society is antithetical to the “violence thesis”, and therefore situates it within the prism of juvenile hallucination.
There is another group who sees Governor Akpabio as a betrayer. Led by Samuel Akpan, a former Deputy Chairman of the PDP, the group’s resort to spirituality is known to all. Samuel Akpan allegedly believes that he played a pivotal role, through the instrumentality of a group AKPF, in the emergence of Governor Akpabio in 2006, and therefore deserves a “pay back”, by being allowed by the Governor to him succeed. If one juxtaposes this claim against the fact that there were over a thousand persons that supported the governor in 2006, then it loses it’s essence. Again, it has been argued in intellectual circles that if Bishop Akpan played any spiritual role in the emergence of Chief Akpabio, it confers on him certain spiritual abilities. Rather than resort to physical accusations, he should make a recourse to the similar spiritual means to attain the governorship in 2015.
There is a seeming unification of the opposition, all aimed at stopping Governor Akpabio from producing a successor, that is alien to the socio-politics of the state, but is it possible for any of them to concede to another, taking their exhibited desperation into consideration?
As the traducers of Governor Akpabio grow in number, and strength, the first thing that agitate the mind of everyone is, why have these men, who once sang the songs of uncommon transformation, suddenly see the “vinegar” in it because they want to become governor?
Do these men possess the prerequisites to sustain the current development trend in the state? Is there any relationship between political hypocrisy and policy consistency? History will tell!

Uwemedimoh Umanah, a Peace Researcher, Newspaper Publisher, and Public Affairs Analyst, writes this piece from Uyo

Forwarded by Essien Ndueso

Who Succeeds Governor Orji ?

August 6, 2014

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Governor T.A. Orji
Governor T.A. Orji

As the Holy Bible puts it in the Book of Ecclesiastes, ?to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven?. This implies that, as it is with many other human engagements and enterprises, there is a time for a State Governor to be sworn-in and a time for him to make his or her exit.

 

At exactly twelve mid-night on 28th May, 2015, the tenure of Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji as Executive Governor of Abia State would constitutionally have come to an end. Being in a democracy, it is expected that his successor would be sworn-in the following day, being 29th May, 2015. Since government is a continuum, it is hoped that his successor would continue from where Governor T.A. Orji would have stopped. For the governed to wish that a successor continues from where his predecessor stopped means that the latter must have done well in office.

 

Within the Abia Polity, there is the consensus that Governor T. A. Orji has, despite strangulation of the first three years of his first tenure by forces from a family that never meant well for the state, done very creditably. There are numerous tangible infrastructural achievements his administration has recorded. His favourable disposition to the Abia work-force which translated to automatic promotion of workers to the next salary grade level as soon? as he assumed office and the approval of a minimum wage of twenty thousand and one hundred naira as against ?the national minimum wage of eighteen thousand naira have endeared him to Abia Public Servants.

 

Since the creation of Abia State, no administration has given up to ten percent of vehicles, on the basis of use and go home with, to both public servants and political appointees as the government headed by Chief T.A. Orji has. The records are verifiable.

 

Before the emergence of Chief T.A. Orji as governor of the State, only very lucky Abia Youths managed to get wheel-barrows and Tokumbo Motorcycles? as gifts of Empowerment by the State Government. But today, the Chief T.A. Orji-led administration has doled out well over three thousand vehicles to Abia Youths just to enable them begin a fruitful private life and even develop to being employers of labour.

 

The health, housing, educational, agricultural and commercial sectors of the State have witnessed achievements that comparatively are more than ten times the totality of achievements recorded by all the previous administrations put together. Any doubting Thomas could, please, come for an open debate on this. ?Apart from the plurality of quantifiable achievements by the Ochendo administration, there are very many intangible innovations the Governor brought to bear on the governance of the State. Ochendo, as time has proved, believes that human differences, which are simply natural, should at any given time, be reconciled. He, therefore, does not believe in perpetuity of enmity. In this regard, he is not vindictive.

 

It is an open secret that the administration of Ochendo witnessed a very serious security challenge during his first tenure. There was an avalanche of commercial kidnapping and armed robbery especially in 2009 and 2010. This, principally, was a fall-out of negative dynamics of the human society, resulting mainly from exodus of criminal elements from Abia?s Southern neighboring State that clandestinely relocated to the most Southern Local Government Area of Gods Own State. That episode has become nostalgic history. It is, however, worthy of note that Governor T.A. Orji rose to the challenge posed by that bitter experience and through an unprecedentedly well co-ordinated synergy with President Goodluck Jonathan?s Federal Government, that nasty experience was successfully put behind us. The commitment and dexterity exhibited by Governor T.A. Orji in his fight against insecurity in the State, has, no doubt, made him a guru in counter-insecurity.

 

The Government of Chief T.A. Orji is hinged on deliberately calculated open administration. The Governor operates a policy of unrestricted communication between the governed and himself. He is an advocate of e-governance. Hence his mobile phone number is accessible to majority of Abians who reach him at any given moment, even when he is out of the shores of Nigeria. There is hardly any text message sent to him that Ochendo does not, at least, acknowledge. He is a very patient listener.

 

Parochialism is definitely an antonym for a good quality for leadership. A parochial person is basically narrow-minded and would always be guided by premodial sentiments instead of reasonableness of circumstances and realities. So far, Ochendo has acquitted himself as a broad-minded manager of both human and material resources.

 

It, therefore, follows that an ideal successor for Governor T.A. Orji should be one that is broad-minded and assesses issues from a universal point of view. Anybody that would perceive Abia State from the narrow point of view of sectionalism should not occupy the number one seat of the State.

 

In Abia politics, time has revealed persons who harbor incurable animosity against their fellow human beings, in most times without any justifiable cause. A? person, whose nature is to hate and does not make room for true reconciliation of human differences should not, for goodness sake, go near that seat.

 

Among Abia politicians, experience has exposed those who would hardly answer telephone calls, return or even acknowledge calls from Abians they consider to be less privileged. An arrogant and selfish person should not have anything to do with governance of Gods Own State.

 

All in all, the ideal successor of Governor T.A. Orji must be an uncompromising believer in God, whose vision for Abia State would amount to a holistic accomplishment of the tenets of comprehensive governance, with everybody and section of the polity carried along.

Chief (Sir) Don Ubani, ksc, JP

(Okwubunka of Asa) Umuiku-Isi-Asa

Ukwa-West P.M.B. 7048, Aba

E-mail: [email protected]

Tel: 08035523360

TAN urges Osun people to observe peaceful polls

wpid-aregbesola-osun-state.jpgAhead the Osun state governorship election scheduled for?tomorrow,?August 9, 2014, the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) has called on the good people of the state, especially, to make peace their watchword and ensure good conduct before, during and after the election.

TAN, in a statement on the Osun poll, copy of which was made available to journalists in Abuja yesterday urged citizens of the state, particularly the youth to shun violence and or any act capable of causing breakdown of law and order in the state during the election. The organization cautioned that all eyes of the international community are on the nation, hence the need for all to put in their best.

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The statement implored the people to complement the ongoing electoral reform being championed by President Goodluck Jonathan?s administration by giving peace a chance, taking a cue from the people of Ekiti, bearing in mind that the international community is watching to see how far the electoral reforms have changed our initial ways.

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The statement also reminded all eligible voters in the state that the election will equally serve as another test run for the country ahead 2015, telling them again that the peaceful outcome of the election will go a long way in enhancing democracy in the country. That it would again buoy up the hope and expectations of the electorates in the nation?s electoral process.

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TAN implored INEC officials and security agents assigned to cover, monitor and supervise the election to be of good conduct and ensure the election, is free, fair and credible like that of Ekiti which local and internationally observers and monitors commended and gave a huge pass-mark.

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They commended what they described as peaceful disposition of all parties in the peaceful run of the campaigns and their supporters ahead of the election, adding that TAN is impressed with the peaceful manner at which the parties run their campaign. It therefore reminded all that spirit of sportsmanship should always prevail

Gov Orji Will Give The PDP Victory In Abia This 2015

Governor T.A. Orji
Governor T.A. Orji

Lambasts APGA National Chairman

Abians have been urged to intensify their support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)- led government in the state and discountenance the claim by the All Progressives Grand Alliance( APGA) that it will clinch the state in 2015.

The Chief Press Secretary to Abia State Governor, Mr. Charles Ajunwa, who made the call while briefing journalists at the Government House, Umuahia, described as laughable the claim by the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh during his recent trip to Abia that his party will take over the state in 2015.

He said that Abia is 100% PDP and that there is nothing like APGA in the state and charged cChief Umeh to mind his business.

According to him, Chief T.A. Orji will deliver the state to the PDP as usual and assured that there is no space for any other party in the state.

Mr Ajunwa pointed out that Chief T.A. Orji has made a lot of impact in all sectors of the economy of the state and surpassed the achievements of past leaders of the state, adding that he has shown commitment to the Abia project.

Itsekiri leaders Rally Support For Dr. Olejeme

Delta
Nigeria

Prominent Itsekiri Leaders on Sunday advised Deltans at home and abroad not to focus on gender but to look at the individual personalities, the person?s qualities and what he or she has to offer.

They also described the chairman, Board of Directors of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Dr. Ngozi Olejeme as an honest, simple and accomplished administrator.

?Dr. Ngozi Olejeme has the knowledge and the skills to succeed in the state. So we are mobilizing our people, friends and in- laws across the state. We are quite confident that she would become governor in 2015? the leaders said in a statement issued in Warri.

The statement signed by the Chairman of Itsekiri Movement for Good Governance (IMFGG), Mr. Francis Diden also commended Olejeme for her contribution to the development of human resources in the state.

?Olejeme deserves the biggest thanks for developing the people,? the statement said.

Praising Olejeme for her altruistic and philanthropic disposition, the leaders said: “We are very impressed about her people- oriented programmes in Delta State. It is time for Deltans at home and abroad to unite and support a person who can enhance unity and provide opportunities for all.?

?We want her to be the next governor of the state because of her proven leadership qualities and our belief that she can govern the state very well? the statement said.

?She is a woman of principle who takes every word she says seriously. She is accessible and always ready to listen to all. Her ability to initiate plans and execute projects that will better the lot of the people is not in contention? the statement added.

EBIRERI HENRY OVIE

08036977194

08087215093

[email protected]

Igbuya gets the nod for another term

Delta
Nigeria

Top Okpe leaders on Sunday described the Majority Leader of Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Monday Igbuya as a blessing to the state, while calling on indigenes and non-indigenes residing in Sapele Local Government Area to see him as a role model.

Chairman of Okpe Political Leaders Forum (OPLF), Mr. Darlington Ebireri in a statement issued in Sapele said the leaders praised Hon. Igbuya for protecting the people?s rights through quality representation, job creation and poverty alleviation.

?You have done us proud. All we can do is to acknowledge and thank you in our modest way by asking you to continue in Delta State House of Assembly? the leaders said after a meeting of stakeholders in Okpe kingdom.

The leaders who vowed to support Hon Igbuya come 2015 general election, described his performance in the state assembly as wonderful.

?Igbuya is a good ambassador of Sapele Local Government Area and his performance has spoken volume. He has defended the cause of Sapele at the State Assembly and if given another chance, come 2015, Delta State in general and Sapele Local Government Area in particular will be great? the statement said.

?He will do a lot for the people in terms of legislation that would further unite Delta State and laws that will attract the desired investment into this state, laws that would create employment opportunities and encourage private sector participation in the economy?.

The leaders advised others eyeing the seat to wait till 2019.

We will back him again in 2015 election? the leaders insisted.

EBIRERI HENRY OVIE

08036977194

08087215093

[email protected]

Emmanuel Uduaghan’s Perception About 2015

wpid-Emmanuel-Uduaghan4.jpgFejiro Oliver

It was on a very sunny day and PHCN guys refused to give us their light, and I was observing my siesta as I always do. While still in the deep sleep, I heard my phone ringtone, ?he raised me up? rang so may times but I purposely refused to wake up. Who is that enemy of progress who was obstructing my beautiful dream of playing with one of these daughters of eve, I asked myself in the dream. The phone kept ringing and disturbing that I had no choice to wake up and answer the intruder.

?I want to believe I?m speaking to Fejiro Oliver the journalist?, came the voice. In my usual characteristics I refused to answer, and again spoke that voice with so much command; ?please you are needed in Delta State Government House as soon as possible? and the call ended. The sleep vanished immediately from my eyes as thoughts ran through my mind like a million Bolts.

Quickly I called my Editor and my colleagues to intimate them of the news. Trust them; they finished me, with one of them in particular barking at me, ?when I told you to stop attacking the state government and the presidency, you wouldn?t listen. Now you are going to sleep in cell and even before the human rights community and your colleagues come to your aid, those SSS guys whom you always lambast would have inflicted injuries on you?. I began to think of the uncountable reports I have done against the State and Federal government and could not point at any. The expose I have made on them are so much that I could not figure the particular one for which I am wanted.

Fearless as always, I dressed up and asked a colleague to take me to Asaba. On getting to the government house, everything seems strange to me with whole new buildings and the paintings have changed. Really been a long time I came here. I greeted the security men and went inside. I called the number that called me and told him of my presence. ?Hold on, someone is coming to pick you?, he said.

Pronto, one dazzling lady with all the paraphernalia in place walked towards me and ordered me to follow her. Jesus, what am I not seeing? I walked behind her so I could access her Barcelona very well. My God, all the ingredients were complete. I swallowed spit as the Arsenal bounced up and down like pawpaw tree. ?If this is why I will be arrested, so be it, as long as I see this angel every morning?, I told myself. Finally I got to the governor?s lodge with her and sat down. May people were also there waiting with many big men talking loudly. I waited for over 3 hours and dared not sleep but glue my eyes to the TV which was beaming ?Channels TV?. I began to wonder why the governor do not watch his own state TV but a heartbreaker like Channels.

After an extra two hours, I heard footsteps upstair with a baritone voice asking, ?Where is that Journalist and trouble maker?? Gbam Gbam Gbam, I knew it was me in deep shit beibg asked of. ?He?s here? answered the voice. I was led upstairs and standing before me was the Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan. He held my hands and led me into a big room and began to talk.

?Are you Fejiro Oliver, the investigative and controversial journalist??, he asked. I didn?t know what to answer. Investigative, yes, but controversial, No, I said in my heart. I muttered, ?Yes Sir?. Young man, I have heard about you, read about you and now I am seeing you. I understand that you have huge followings on social media and physically and have used that to cause negative opinions about me and President Goodluck Jonathan, but I feel I should talk to you in person. You see, you write from afar without truly knowing what I have done as a governor?

?If you truly visit this state, you will agree with me that Delta has become more open and cleaner than it used to be. Enerhen junction is a testimony to that. The Airport which you talked about I can tell you is one of the best thing to happen to Delta State. do you know how many of these Onitsha big boys come here with their chartered planes and park here? Do you know how much os generated from parking space? I?m glad you are knowledgable about the health sector and can attest that I have helped to reduce infant mortality through free treatment to mothers and children. Trust me, I mean well for Delta and want to do more in the coming years?, he said.

My heart skipped knowing that he is leaving in the next few months. How does he hope to achieve more, I asked him. ?This is why I want you to come on board Fejiro Oliver?, he started. ?You have the following and the popular opinion to tell people what to do and who to follow. I want Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to succeed me?, he dropped the bombshell. In my heart he has made a good choice and I am ready to see it come to pass, knowing whom this Okowa is, but I wanted to hear from him more.

?Okowa is one person you can trust will not fail to build on my legacy as well as solidify a Delta State without oil. I am able to build a State where health is sacrosanct because I?m a medical doctor and Okowa is also one of such, who will do more. While other State hospitals go on strike, ours never go, because it?s a level playing field and Okowa I can tell you will do more. For a man who have been in the Senate in less than 4 years to empower his people with all his constituency allowances, he will surely not loot your money, and will not give yoy and others a cause to write in the media. Fejiro, you have another circle of influence which is the medical circle, and they have a sizeable number of votes. You can tell them to cast their votes for Okowa and they will listen to you, knowing that it is true and it?s from you. You do not always have to attack without giving us a chance to hear from. Work with us to make Delta State great and see what will happen?

?I have said enough and want you to think about it. Here is my private number where you can always call me. By the way, how did you come here?, he asked. ?Your Excellency, a friend dropped me?, I answered. ?Steph, come here?, he called. At last I now know the name of the lady causing go slow before me then and I will come back for her. ?Tell Mike to drop him in his house and bring raw cash of N4.6 Million for him?, he ordered. My jaw dropped as he mentioned the amount. The highest a single individual has given for a report is N1.83 million and I was expecting nothing less than N2.5M.

As I made to walk away, I heard a big sound ?Doro dorobucci, doro dorobucci??. Gosh it was from the loud speaker, PHCN has brought the light and I forgot to off the home theatre before sleeping. All these while, I had only been dreaming?

These little things matter?

Fejiro Oliver, a Journalist, Media Consultant and Activist can be reached on [email protected] and +2348026797588 (sms only please). Follow on twitter? @fejirooliver86 and Facebook? fejirooliver86. Like our Facebook page – secretsreporters

 

Running from the misfortunes of the PDP

After 15 years of uninterrupted democracy, it is important on this august occasion of May 29, 2014, to write this special letter on how to rescue our dear nation from the hands of unprepared and clueless leadership piloting the affairs of our nation at the moment which, if not checked, may collapse this country in line with earlier predictions by United States of America, and other prophets of doom.

ATIKU, GOV AMAECHI AND OTHER LEADERS OF PDP ADDRESSING THE PRESS
ATIKU, GOV AMAECHI AND OTHER LEADERS OF PDP ADDRESSING THE PRESS

In this regard, I write this open letter to the leaders of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), through the following indefatigable leaders of our party: Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Senator Bukola Saraki, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu and Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

This letter is addressed to you G7 based on your individual merits and most outstanding leadership roles each of you played in what APC is today. Of the major characters within our party you G7 were selected for this letter. But for avoidance of doubt, His Excellency Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, apart from leading the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to the amalgamation, is the national leader of the party and cannot be ignored in this type of letter because the part he played in what APC is today can?t be over-emphasised. Same goes for His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, who led the?Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to the party, while Ogbonnaya Onu led the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). The importance of Atiku Abubakar in the party, being one of the leading lights, is very obvious. Bukola Saraki leads the National Assembly caucus; Amaechi is the chairman of the Nigerian Governors? Forum while Owelle Rochas Okorocha leads the APC Governors? Forum.

The fact remains that Nigeria is currently at the cross road, confused and not knowing what tomorrow portends, occasioned by the visionless and misguided leadership of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the centre. Today, we have a government that cannot protect or guarantee our security as contained in our constitution. According to
Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, ?This is a government which is not only in denial mentality, but in denial about certain obvious steps to take… It’s one of those rather child-like situations that if you shut your eyes, if you don’t exhibit the tactile evidence of the missing humanity here, that somehow the problem will go away? – A Government that have succeeded in making us a mockery before the international community and African leaders, which major achievements are trumatising, transforming Nigeria into darkness and digitalizing corruption to such a level where a whopping sum of $10 million can be said to have developed wings and unaccounted for. A government where a minister spends a whopping sum of $10 million on hiring of planes for movements, both private and official, while Nigerians are wallowing in poverty.? It is based on this unacceptable state and the fear of the future of our country that makes this letter imperative.

APC NATIONAL LEADERS - AKANDE, BUHARI, ATIKU, ONU, TINUBU ETC
APC NATIONAL LEADERS – AKANDE, BUHARI, ATIKU, ONU, TINUBU ETC

Apart from the above, I was motivated to alert the leadership of APC through this medium as I may not be privileged to attend the caucus or NEC meeting, where crucial issues affecting the future of the party shall be tabled and discussed. Besides, as a stakeholder in the project Nigeria and having played a great role as National Publicity Secretary of the nPDP, a major component of the present APC, I am stimulated not only by my patriotic consideration but encouraged by John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest presidents of America, who said: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” No doubt in this crucial time of our history, PDP has messed up our country. The party has deviated from the democratic path it was founded on and has become a mockery of democratic principles. If some patriotic Nigerians do not rally around each other to ease out this party come 2015, then it will be an understatement to say that Nigeria is doomed and has no future under PDP after 2015. But God forbid!

I am also aware that it was because of the visionless leadership of PDP that brought up the amalgamation of other opposition political parties to form what is today known as the All Progressives Congress. As I commend and congratulate all the people and forces behind the formation of this great party, let me state that if Nigeria is not rescued from the maladministration of PDP come 2015, to some of us, all the efforts in forming APC would have become an exercise in futility.

For leading Nigeria to its present comatose state, one cannot be far from the truth if one says that President Goodluck Jonathan is a colossal failure in terms of his leadership of our nation. This view is shared by many Nigerians and some key actors of world politics.

For example, Dr Peregrino Brimah, after the Jos bombings of Tuesday, May 20, 2014 which claimed more than 200 lives, according to latest counts, have pushed Nigeria to formally occupy the first position in the ranking of nations with the worst governments in history. He went further to present other criteria which recently moved Nigeria up the list as follows:
A recent World Bank report listed Nigeria among the five poorest countries in the world. A report from the World Bank in April listed Nigeria among the five poorest countries in the world, with the largest number of people said to live on less than $1.25 a day. The others are India, China, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo. President Jonathan instead of addressing the issue on poverty as raised casually dismissed the report by saying: Nigeria is not a poor country.
The rebasing of Nigeria?s economy, setting Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa, while revealing the true economic position of Africa?s largest nation, simultaneously re-certified Nigeria as the nation in the top position for worst leadership in social welfare and opportunities for the people. With 70 per cent of the nation living under a-dollar-a-day, economically factored, Nigeria has the poorest people of any nation in the world today.? With the rebased economy rating, Nigeria has the most unparalleled HDI (Human Development Index) to revenue and economy ratio of all nations. Poorest people in the Nigeria case, is derived from or correlates with poorest leadership.

GOVS LAMIDO, KWAKWANSO, ALIYU, NYAKO WITH GOV CRA DURING THEIR SOLIDARITY VISIT
GOVS LAMIDO, KWAKWANSO, ALIYU, NYAKO WITH GOV CRA DURING THEIR SOLIDARITY VISIT


Is it not surprising that Nigeria, at the end of 2013, surpassed Mexico in kidnapping, recording the cruelest and second highest single abduction events in recent history. By the end of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, Nigeria surpassed Syria, Libya, Iraq and Central African Republic (CAR) in deadly acts of terrorism and sectarian violence. The Nyanya bombing was ranked the fifth worst bombing of its kind in world history, post 1970, by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI). The Jos bombing, with over 200 reported dead in one attack, is second only to 9/11 and the disputed Syria chemical weapons attack.

In combined values, with about 80,000 people killed in four years of largely unchecked Boko Haram violence, and with over 4,000 killed in the first quarter of 2014 alone, Nigeria has fast outpaced other nations of the world in deadly terror. Nigeria?s leadership in December of 2013 secured the world?s top position in insecurity and failure to protect life and discourage terror. Current rankings put Nigeria?s leadership second only to Hitler, after surpassing Saddam Hussein, in the current century, in terms of deliberate internal wastage of life.?

With Nigeria?s leadership admitting that they could not account for up to or more than $20 billion oil revenue earnings discovered missing in a single 18-month period examined; the nation?s finance minister admitting this to BBC and the official government engagement of Price Waterhouse, an international accounting firm, which further confirmed this financial mishap, Nigeria secured its position as the most haplessly and a ver unserious nation.

According to Mrs. Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State, in separate events in New York City, said the Nigerian government under President Goodluck Jonathan squandered its oil resources, and indirectly helps corruption to fester in the troubled country. Her words: ?They have squandered their oil wealth; they have allowed corruption to fester, and now they are losing control of parts of their (own) territory because they would not make hard choices.? The former U.S. Secretary of State at the function organised by the International Crisis Group also emphasized that: ?The Nigerian government has failed to confront the threat, or to address the underlying challenges. Most of all, the government of Nigeria needs to get serious about protecting all of its citizens, and ensuring that every child has the right and opportunity to go to school.?
While to Sarah Saawall, US Under Secretary of State, ?Corruption prevents supplies as basic as bullets and transport vehicles from reaching the front lines of the struggle against Boko Haram?.

A new report on global life expectancy by the World Health Organisation has rated Nigeria low in its report titled ?World Health Statistics 2014? and published few days ago, life expectancy for both men and women is less than 55 years in nine sub-Saharan African countries namely: Nigeria, Angola, Central Africa Republic, Chad, C?te d?Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique and Sierra Leone. The yearly report is the definitive source of information on the health of the world?s people. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators, including life expectancy, illnesses and deaths from key diseases, health services and treatments, financial investment in health, as well as risk factors and behaviours that affect health.

General Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria former President in his assessment of Jonathan’s performance in office posited: ?I don?t believe he has performed to the expectations of many Nigerians, not just me.? While US Senator John McCain in his view feels that we don?t even have a government in the right sense, ?We shouldn’t have waited for a practically non-existent government to give us the go ahead before mounting a humanitarian effort to rescue those girls?

?Mr. Jonathan, who leads a corrupt government that has little credibility, initially played down the group’s threat and claimed security forces were in control. It wasn’t until Sunday, more than two weeks after the kidnappings, that he called a meeting of government officials – New York Times.

The Economist, writing under the Editorial ‘A Clueless Government described the PDP Government in Nigeria, ‘perhaps the worst aspect of the Nigerian Government’s handling of the abduction is its seeming indifference to the plight of the girls’ families. It took more than two weeks before Mr. Jonathan addressed the matter in public. His government’s sluggish response and its failure even to clarify how many girls had been abducted provoked protests in several cities across Nigeria – itself an usual event

We should be asking ourselves: Is this the type of PDP that Nigerians voted for during the general elections of 2011?? Of course, not! Nigeria is certainly more divided under this administration than ever and only divine intervention can enable us survive the visionless and clueless leadership that now pervades our nation. These are some of the reasons why the leadership of APC should move fast to rescue our nation from the sordid state it is at the moment.

I am so saddened over the mess President Jonathan has made of our country, because I could recall warning Nigerians that Jonathan was not prepared for the office he was being pushed to occupy, after messing up the zoning formula of PDP entrenched for the sanctity and peace of the nation. But nobody took me serious. I am warning again, that if PDP under President Jonathan is not stopped by 2015, Chief Uzor Kalu would have become a true prophet. After all, he once said: ?Jonathan might be the last Nigerian President. Jonathan might be the Gorbachev of Nigeria. And that is the truth, so we better wake up. Political class, business class, military, civilians must now stand up to work for our internal security. We are suffering from pains of our people; we are suffering from pains of the Nigerian system. This is not about which part of the country you come from, it is about Nigeria.?

Chief Tom Ikimi, one of the major pillars of the party, in his open letter to the national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande titled, ?My fears for APC, by Ikimi? of May 9, 2014 expresses the fears of some key actors of the party. He wrote: ?I have taken a few days rest, but my intention of proceeding to an extended holiday seem to be disturbed by the overwhelming unfavourable reports I have received from across the country on the present status of our party. I have spoken to party members and leaders across the country and the feeling is unanimous regarding the downward trend of things. The latest problems arise from the congresses where in the South-South region; there are fundamental problems in Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers and Edo. I have been informed of similar problems in most other states across the country. Parallel excos have emerged in Ogun State!

?I am compelled to express strong reservations on the present state of affairs in our party, and my heart bleeds when I look back at the efforts and personal sacrifice many of us made to bring this national platform to fruition.?
I believe some of the issues raised by Chief Ikimi in his letter should be addressed as we should not be seen repeating some of the evils that scared us away from PDP.

if we still have audacious strategists in the party, I will suggest that we in APC should heed to the wise counsel of elder statesman Alh. Balarabe Musa, ?who had earlier advised that ?the North should forget the ambition of insisting on the presidency in 2015,?rather a credible President for the country should be allowed to emerge from the South-South in 2015 to replace Jonathan.?.

I fully persuade our leaders to carefully study this proposal from Musa and make the contest for the APC Presidential ticket an open one that anybody from any section of the country can bid to take. If we make the presidential primary free, fair and transparent, whoever emerges no matter where he or she is from should be allowed to go with the full support of the entire party. This is the only way I believe we can achieve the APC?s aim of rescuing Nigeria from the evil grip of the PDP before this great nation is ran aground.

The most important thing that should be at the back of every progressive Nigerian?s mind is how to free Nigerians from the shame that PDP has brought to us all. And, if we miss this opportunity, only God will determine the fate of our nation.

In this regards, let us be guided by the foremost African, Nelson Mandela?s words: ?Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it?. And the counsel of management philosopher, Peter Drucker: ?Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.? This is if truly we want to bail this country from the mess of PDP.

Knowing that some people will start to ask questions on my pedigree in penning down this letter, let me state that apart from the facts enumerated above of the need of this letter, my past acts in the struggle for a better and greater Nigeria position me for this letter. I was the national director of the dreaded Turaki Vanguard that fought to stand still the infamous third term agenda and some anti-democratic elements during the second term tenure of President Obasanjo. I was in charge of the public relations unit of the outfit. Apart from being the immediate past national publicity secretary of ?new Peoples Democratic Party? (nPDP), I initiated and headed the Igbo Crusaders Political Outfit and South-East-South-South Amalgamated Political Movement (SESSAM), which I used to promote and propagate the ideals and visions of the founding fathers of PDP in the North-East of Nigeria, though sadly the party has been hijacked by elements that never knew the ideals and principles why PDP was formed in the first place.

With this clarification, the point that I have been in the centre of the struggle for a better Nigeria is not in doubt, prompting the penning down of this letter. So it will be sad should anybody dare suggest that I was either influenced or motivated in writing this letter for any other consideration, if not for patriotic reasons.

The fact remains that should APC loose out in the 2015 general election, but God forbid, the true colour of President Goodluck Jonathan will be revealed to Nigerians and none of us may survive the heat. The ball is now in your court to do that which is necessary to rescue Nigeria from the imminent doom that awaits her, should we fail in this mission.

Let me, therefore, conclude this letter by asking you all to listen to what the most outstanding African, both dead and living, Nelson Mandela, said about our present predicament: ?It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.??

Regards and remain blessed.

?Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze was the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New PDP. 08038199163

Challenges of terrorism would not curtail credible elections in 2015

6b88c34cd64b83eac2709d6c8c29fd54_MPresident Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday assured that the challenges of terrorism and insecurity would not curtail the conduct of a free, fair and credible general elections in 2015.?The President gave the assurance at the 2014 Democracy Day Inter-denominational Church Service in Abuja.

? He said the nation would continue to move forward, notwithstanding the setbacks occasioned by the terrorists? activities.

Jonathan said nothing would stop the conduct of the general elections in a peaceful manner and with globally acceptable standards.

He said the state of insecurity in the country, which was spearheaded by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, was meant to bring down his government.

`I can assure you that the next Democracy Day will witness a new government.

“I remember when I was in my village this morning to collect my permanent voter’s card, a journalist asked me whether there will be elections in Nigeria, and I told him there would be elections in this countr

“This country will continue to move forward in spite of some of the setbacks we are witnessing,?? the President said.

Jonathan said Nigeria would overcome every dark forces facing it, in spite of forces of development as well as forces of retrogression operating in the country.

He thanked all the religious faiths for their prayers for the administration and the country at large, saying this had kept the nation together.

“Without your prayers, it would have been worse. With your prayers, our girls will be seen by our security men.

“All these distractions were planned to bring this government down. Since they failed, terror will also fail.

“Forces of darkness will never prevail over light. I call on all Nigerians to continue to pray and, with God on our side, we shall overcome,?? Jonathan said.

President Jonathan also thanked God for the 15 straight years of democracy in the country, saying it is the best form of government.He said his administration’s Transformation Agenda was not a mere campaign promise, but had yielded visible dividends and positive developments in every sector in the past three years

The President listed some of the benefitting sectors to include rail, roads, airports, agriculture, petroleum, power, industry and housing.

Earlier in a sermon, Pastor Goodheart Ekwueme had noted that the circumstances Nigeria presently finds itself are similar to the period of Mordecai.

He said this is as recorded in the Book of Esther, chapter 4 verse 13 in the Holy Bible.

The pastor said the country was in a defining moment which would transform to greatness with genuine repentance, fear of God and offer of united prayers.

Source persecond news

CAL Bank To Open 11 New Branches By 2015

??.whiles total revenue went up 37 percent, cost went up 26 percent

CAL bank
CAL bank

Cal Bank has revealed the expansion of the visibility of its branch network to 25 by the end of the year and 30 by the close of 2015 in order to increase their deposits levels.

The Executive Director of CAL Bank, Philip Owiredu said CAL Bank has 19 network branches however they still remain the strong Bank in terms of performance.

He noted all the Banks have published their figures for the year 2013 and in terms of profitability CAL Bank as the sixth Bank among the 27 Banks has made 92million in the industry.

The executive Director explained this includes profit before Tax margin of 48 percent, cost to income ratio still trending down as 33.5 and their share of industry loans which indicates about almost a Billion at the end of the year and very good returns on assets of 5.9 percent.

He added CAL Bank is also investing huge in technology in order issue out master cards to their customers with new products for quick and easy banking.

The CEO said this when they took their turn at facts behind the figures first quarter of 2014.

He said their primary business of the Bank is to pick up deposits and give out loans cautiously however they will keep their focus on the key growth sectors such as the energy sector, telecoms, mining industry and services especially in places with less risk.

Mr. Owiredu said in 2014, CAL Bank continue to grow in terms of income and profitability where all the figures for first quarter 2014 compared to the previous year 2013 shows an upward trend which provides 68million of the first quarter 2014 compared to 50million the previous quarter.

According to him, the bottom line is that they were able to make 29.9 million in the first quarter compared 21million first quarter of 2013 with an increase of 37 percent compared to the previous years.

This, he said loans have gone up, governments portfolio holding has gone up, increased earning assets and the non-funded income coming out of commissions and fees, forex credits, income from corporate finance activities have all gone up.

He stated they are gradually managing their rising cost because of the challenge of revenue generation and the recent policies that were introduced created the need to manage cost very well.

According to him, the most important thing was to ensure that they maintain the health of their balance sheet.

Whereas their total revenue went up 37 percent their cost went up 26 percent.

They realized that most banks are quite depending on net interest income but then considering the environment in which they operate but they managed to migrate the income dependency from net interest income to other cost.

However, they have shown a marginal reduction and because of the rising cost of deposits in the country most banks have seen some sort of significant reduction.

According to him, credit losses compared to the previous year 5.1 percent to 4.3 percent and basically they ensure that assets which are challenged they recognized them early enough that they don?t come up surprisingly.

Loans and advances have increased from 840million first quarter of 2013 to 1billion in the first quarter of 2014.

Their total assets has grown by 33 percent, growth rate of deposits is 22 percent which indicates a serious challenge to deposit growth.

He said borrowing went quite significantly because certain borrowings they have to carry out for specific transactions which were basically short termed therefore they had to borrow to finance those transactions.

Shareholder funds on the back of profit growth and some revaluation assets have gone up to 37 percent.

Interest bearing assets keeps dominating their asset profile by ensuring that they keep low interest bearing assets to the minimum so that the asset they are able to generate revenue.

He added the Board has approved some sort of risks which will guide management in terms of market risk, liquidity risks and operational risks in the environment they find themselves.

According to him, they have enhanced their monitoring tools and structures to ensure that they identify early warning signals and address them as early as possible.

Source:??Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor, Punch Newspaper

PDP mobilize members for 2015 general elections

Obong Paul EkpoThe Akwa Ibom Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has procured 35 new buses and 31 sport utility vehicles to mobilize members across the state for the 2015 general elections.

?The state PDP Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo who stated?this Wednesday?when he presented Akwa Ibom State Executive Committee (PDP) communique to the National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu at PDP Campaign Office, Legacy House in Maitama, Abuja, said the vehicles await commissioning, saying “And we would also lay the foundation stone for an ultra- modern permanent secretariat and office complex for the party in the state capital”.

?Ekpo described Governor Godswill Akpabio as a party leader who has galvanized the party into one strong and indivisible unit with results made there in the state for all Nigerians to see.

He remarked, “Akwa Ibom state has one party and the leader of the party in the state, His Excellency, Chief Godswill Akpabio has galvanized the party into one strong and indivisible unit and the result is there for all to see. Today, the party boasts of three Senators, nine members of the House of Representatives, 25 members of the House of Assembly, 31 local government council Chairmen and 327 councillors”.

Obong Ekpo who hinted that the state executive members held a meeting on 22nd April, 2014, presided over by him as the state PDP Chairman with more than 250 members in attendance as specified in the 2012 amended PDP constitution, noted that the meeting lasted for three and a half hours, which after much deliberation/ contributions, a communique was issued that contained the resolutions unanimously reached in the meeting, saying that the resolutions bind party members in the state.

The PDP Chairman congratulated the PDP National Chairman on his wonderful performance in a short time in office, and applauded him for lifting the image and fortune of the party as the number one party in Africa, describing him as a ‘Game Changer’.

?He announced that the state Executive Committee of the PDP had unanimously passed a vote of confidence on him and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, which, he said, is based on the track record of achievements within three months on assumption of office as the National Chairman of the great party.

Responding, Alhaji Mu’azu pledged to carefully look at ?the communique and the constitution of the party and with the necessary support required, advising members to be careful to be focused, calm, patient, humble, committed and preserver in any situation, assuring the party that who ever wins the primaries, would win the elections.

?Mu’azu said that his intention is to see that the party succeed, and stressed that the various challenges experience by the party is because the party is focused and it is the only party that has deepened democracy.

He said nobody had the right to elect anybody into office, saying that the party is practicing democracy with free and fair elections, calling on members of the party to believe in God because power he said comes from God and further stressed that whoever God has placed on the seat, nobody has the right to remove such a person.

The National Party Chairman, who called on the members of the party to support any member that intends to contest for any elections and to help their fellow party men succeed, hoped that the party would win in states and presidency elections by 2015, praying for peace in the country and wisdom and courage to the leaders to tackle the insurgency in the country.

Source?Akwa Ibom State Govt House Press Centre

Olayinka Segelu Prepares Grounds For 2015

Olayinka Oladimeji Segelu,The personal assistant to Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman and a leading aspirant for Akinyele/Lagelu Federal constituency seat on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State in 2015, Hon. Olayinka Oladimeji Segelu, has described traditional rulers as custodians of people?s culture and societal values.

Segelu who was also a personal assistant in the Office of the Speaker of House of Representatives under Dimeji Bankole, stated this during the installation of Alhaji Rahman Adegboyega Lawal as the new Baale of Molunkan village Lalupon, Lagelu Local Government area of Oyo State.

The House of Reps hopeful hinted that traditional rulers are strategically positioned in the society and are in the best position to serve as a link between the government and the people at the grassroots in the design and formulation of programmes that will impact directly on the lives of the masses.??

He described the new Baale of Molunkan as a loving, accommodating and selfless leader, with the right exposure and connection to attract development to the community and its environs.

Olayinka Segelu at the occassion asked for the support of the traditional rulers, Baales, chiefs and the good people of Akinyele/ Lagelu Federal Constituency.

His words: “I am out to develop and build infrastructures and social amenities to create a better life for my people. We need a change in our constituency and I am presenting myself as the vanguard of the change. I can assure that I will not fail you. I promise to offer valuable and good representation that will guarantee total transformation of our constituency if elected in 2015. I have over seven years of experience as a Legislative Aide at the National Assembly. I intend to take advantage of my rich history, pedigree and experience to bring federal presence to Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency for the benefit of my people.”

He expressed his deep appreciation to prominent traditional rulers in Akinyele/Lagelu Federal constituency including the Onijaye of Ijaye, Oniroko of Iroko, Onikereku of Ikereku, Onilalupon of Lalupon,??and other Baales and chiefs for their unflinching support in fostering unity and peace across the constituency.
From Michael Jegede
Media Practitioner
Abuja

PDP should not show its face in Niger Delta

?Hails Ex-Governor Sylva

wpid-goodluckjonathanpdpattire1-480x398.jpgThe All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers State Chapter, has declared that President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lack the moral right to campaign in the Niger Delta during the 2015 general elections. This, according to the party, is due to the total and deliberate neglect of the region by the PDP-led Federal Government under the watch of Jonathan despite the fact that the President comes from the region and received the highest number of votes from the area during the 2011 presidential polls.

 

?Certainly, President Jonathan and the PDP have lost every moral right to come and ask the people of the Niger Delta for their votes in 2015 considering the wickedness they have exhibited towards the people of the region,? Rivers APC said this afternoon in a statement issued by the State Interim Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya.

 

According to the party, ?Even though they lack shame, President Jonathan and PDP should for once respect themselves and stay away from the Niger Delta since even his kinsmen in Bayelsa State have rejected him for disappointing them. This fact was made clear by the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, who during his solidarity visit to Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, last weekend declared that most Bayelsans are frustrated with the Jonathan administration and want change even though the President is from the state.

 

?As Chief Sylva rightly did say, Jonathan?s Presidency has brought nothing but shame and opened cracks in the unity of the people of the South-South geo-political zone. Jonathan?s occupation of the Aso Presidential Villa has proved to be a curse rather than a blessing to the Niger Delta. The situation is so bad that the Jonathan Presidency has failed to reconstruct the East-West road, which links the South-South with the South-Western parts of the country.?

 

Rivers APC commended Ex-Governor Sylva for having the courage to speak the truth despite his blood relationship with President Jonathan and congratulated him on his emergence as the leader of APC in Bayelsa State.

 

?We in Rivers APC look forward to collaborating with Chief Sylva and other progressives in Bayelsa and throughout the country to sweep away the evil PDP Government that has brought only misery to the Niger Delta and to Nigerians at large,? the statement concluded.

 

Long Life APC!

 

Long Life Rivers State!!

 

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,

 

SSA Media and Public Affairs to the Interim State Chairman, APC Rivers State

10-04-14

Africa?s Institute For Remittances To Be Operational 2015

 

African Union headquarters
African Union headquarters

Addis Ababa February 3, 2014;?The African Union (AU) Executive Council, has selected the Republic of Kenya to host the African Institute for Remittances (AIR). The Council asked the African Union Commission to conclude the Host Agreement with the Republic of Kenya so as to ensure the formal take-off of the Institute this year. ? It also asked the World Bank and other development partners to support the Institute. The Institute is scheduled to be fully operational by 2015.

?I am delighted that the Executive Council has decided that the Republic of Kenya will host the AIR. The establishment of AIR, the first of its kind in the world, is a cornerstone in harnessing Diaspora resources for social and economic development in Africa?,?said Dr. Mustapha S. Kaloko, Commissioner of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission. He also called upon development partners to continue supporting the Institute. ?

Kenya is one of four member countries that had expressed interest in hosting the AIR secretariat. ?The decision to select Kenya was made during the 24th?Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council which met from 27 to 28 January 2014 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

AIR project partners agreed to the need for sustained collaboration and coordination of efforts in support of the Institute to achieve the planned improvement in the market for remittances, and to leverage their impact on development in the continent. ?The partners are African Union Commission, World Bank, European Commission, African Development Bank, and the International Organization for Migration.

 

Background

The African Union Commission resolved in 2010 to create AIR in the framework of the Africa-European Union partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment, to leverage the untapped development potential of remittance flows to the African continent. The magnitude of remittances to and within Africa has grown remarkably in recent years, gaining the attention of the international development community due to their positive impact on the living standards of beneficiaries. However, the precise volume of these remittances is unknown and presumed undercounted. Their transfer cost remains unacceptably high by international standards, and their full potential for economic and social development is largely unexploited.

The AIR Project was launched with funding from the European Commission while the World Bank was responsible for overall implementation and execution of the project, in collaboration with the African Development Bank and the International Organization for Migration. The primary objective was to facilitate the AU Member States and the African Union Commission in establishing the Institute of Remittances. ?The AIR will be anchored within AUC.

Ethiopia to motivate new entrepreneurs

Ms Damenech aims to make 5,000 of the pancakes a day by 2015
Ms Damenech aims to make 5,000 of the pancakes a day by 2015

Damenech Zewudie decided it was time to strike out on her own after 33 years working in secretarial and administrative roles for various employers in Addis Ababa.

Now she is the proud owner of a two-month-old business selling injera, the large, thin pancake-like staple which is the base of almost every Ethiopian meal.

“I never used to think about owning a business,” Ms Damenech says. “Then I saw how no-one was selling injera where I live – so I took a chance.”

Ms Damenech, who is in her 50s, achieved her late start in entrepreneurship after taking part in a state-run training and support scheme called the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP).

Launched in 2013 and co-funded by the United Nations, it is hoped that the $26m (?16m) initiative will help establish a new generation of entrepreneurs who will create jobs and boost economic growth.

The programme is provided for free, and will eventually be available throughout the whole country.

Although it doesn’t offer any financial support, so far it has provided training and advice to 1,000 people in four of Ethiopia’s 11 regions.

Its very ambitious goal is to have enabled 200,000 Ethiopians – particularly young adults and women – to acquire or improve entrepreneurial skills and knowledge by the end of 2015.

“We are working towards unleashing a transformational change through tapping into the creativity and ambition of existing and aspiring Ethiopian entrepreneurs,” says Etalem Engeda who leads the government agency looking after the EDP scheme.

Following the initial workshops, advisers visit the participants to conduct business health checks throughout the year. And at any point the entrepreneurs can reach out for advice and assistance.

   The Entrepreneurship Development Programme is going to be substantially expanded and extended across the whole of Ethiopia

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme is going to be substantially expanded and extended across the whole of Ethiopia

“If someone comes round and shows they are taking your business seriously it is very encouraging,” says Girum Tariku, who attended a workshop before opening a printing and consultancy business in November.

Intense start

In May 2013 Ms Damenech attended a six-day workshop which is the cornerstone of the programme.

She practised writing a business plan, identifying potential products to sell, calculating risks, assessing markets, negotiating, and more.

By the programme’s end she felt exhausted after long days, and little sleep while preparing at home for the next day’s activities.

“But it was worth it,” Ms Damenech says, adding how most importantly the workshop motivated her to find an idea for a new business.

Last summer she raised 100,000 Ethiopian birr ($5,230; ?3,225) by pooling her savings, with money borrowed from relatives, to build and equip a building where she could make and sell injera.

Ethiopia has a long history of entrepreneurship
Ethiopia has a long history of entrepreneurship

Her cleaning maid was about to leave for the Middle East in search of work until Ms Damenech suggested she join the nascent business. The former maid and another two employees now help Ms Damenech to make and deliver 500 injera pancakes each day.

Entrepreneurial tradition

Ethiopia has a long history of entrepreneurship that began when the Aksumite Kingdom was a trading hub more than 2,000 years ago.

The EDP’s top targets

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme says it aims to teach the following skills:

Opportunity-seeking and initiative

Persistence

Commitment

Demand for efficiency and quality

Taking calculated risks

Goal-setting

Information-seeking

Systematic planning and monitoring

Persuasion and networking

Independence and self-confidence

But despite recent efforts to reinvigorate that tradition, today’s local entrepreneurs face myriad challenges.

Mr Girum says obtaining sufficient finance is difficult for entrepreneurs who need to raise more than 100,000 birr.

Also it needs to be much easier for an entrepreneur to register a company, as presently they need to visit six different offices.

Meanwhile, landline internet provision is grindingly slow and unreliable.

Yet at the same time, there are a number of positives for potential technology start-ups, such as the big rise in the number of mobile phone users in Ethiopia. Ethiopia currently has 22 million mobile phone subscribers, a figure expected to increase to 64 million by 2015.

And in addition to the assistance offered by EDP there are private support providers, such as IceAddis, a technology hub and co-working space in the capital.

Outside help or interference?

But what of the foreign entrepreneurs wishing to set up companies in Africa’s second most populous country?

It can appear that the Ethiopian government’s policy to encourage entrepreneurial vigour typically only extends as far as domestic talent.

      Ms Damenech is excited about the future of her business

Ms Damenech is excited about the future of her business

The government’s minimum capital requirement of $200,000 deposited in an Ethiopian bank account by a foreign business can be a disincentive, says an embassy trade official at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa.

Another frustration for potential overseas investors is that 25 potentially promising sectors – including telecoms, banking, media and retail – remain closed to foreign investment.

Yet Mr Girum is pleased at the government blocks, saying local businesses would have struggled otherwise.

That sentiment is echoed by Samuel Bwalya, UNDP’s country director in Ethiopia, who also notes how foreign businesses – particularly those in the retail sector – simply compete with locals.

It is unlikely Ms Damenech will encounter many non-Ethiopian entrepreneurs trying to hustle in on the injera trade any time soon.

So her focus is on growing the business. She hopes to hire more staff and increase production, perhaps reaching 5,000 injera a day in 2014. All the money she makes is ploughed back into her business to enable this.

“I do not have five birr in my pocket,” Ms Damenech says.

But judging by the enthused expression on her face, that isn’t a problem.

Nwoye Set To Join Ngige In APC Ahead Of 2015

Sequel to a series of meetings between him and the defeated All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the November election in Anambra State, Chris Ngige, Tony Nwoye is on the verge of dumping his party, People?s Democratic Party (PDP) for APC where he is slated to contest for the federal house election in 2015.
Nwoye-Ngige-UbaAccording to investigations which were confirmed by a close source from the Nwoye camp, Nwoye?s looming move to APC is a result of overtures by D. Chris Ngige to him to join APC ahead of the 2015 presidential poll which APC plans to use to stop President Goodluck Jonathan?s second term ambition.
Ngige, according to sources, had been able to convince Nwoye that he was not wanted in PDP by citing events before, during and after the November election. Ngige was reported to have reminded Nwoye how the president refused to raise Nwoye?s hand at the rally shortly before the election and also how the PDP national had maintained a different position from Nwoye?s on the outcome of the November 16 Anambra election.
It will be recalled that while Nwoye along with Ngige and Ifeanyi Ubah was complaining against the conduct of the election which they all lost, the PDP National Executive through its Publicity Secretary, Barr. Olisa Metuh, had hailed the same election, commended INEC and accused APC of being a bad loser.
Now Ngige is reported to have convinced Nwoye to leave PDP while the ovation was high before he drew the wrath of the party by maintaining a different position from that of the party.
APC?s recruitment of Nwoye is believed to be part of the grand plot by APC to take over the south-east in order to weaken Jonathan?s base ahead of the 2015 presidential poll.

Toyota To Start Mass Fuel Cell Car Production

Toyota is among the many carmakers looking to develop hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles
Toyota is among the many carmakers looking to develop hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles

Japanese carmaker Toyota has said it is looking to start commercial sales of fuel cell-powered cars by 2015.

Toyota set the target as it unveiled a concept fuel cell powered car, called the FCV, at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Its cells can be recharged within minutes and it can cover about 500km (300 miles) on a single charge, according to the firm.

Earlier this week, rival Hyundai said it plans to start mass production of such cars as early as next year.

 

Eco-friendly cars have been been the buzzword in the auto industry for some time now. And within that space, fuel cell-powered vehicles are turning out to be the flavour of the season.

Carmakers have been showing off the progress they have made in the area.

The trick, of course, is how soon companies can take their concept cars from the motor show floors, to showrooms and subsequently to garages at homes.

Toyota and Hyundai aim to do this within the next year or two. But as we have seen it with electric cars in the past, it is easier said than done. There are already concerns about a lack of hydrogen filling stations.

And an equally big challenge will be producing them cheaply enough to keep them affordable for buyers.

None of the carmakers has officially revealed the prices as yet, though some reports indicate that Toyota’s FCV may cost between $50,000 and $100,000 (?31,000 to ?62,000).

The South Korean company has announced plans to start commercial sales of a fuel cell-powered version of its sports utility vehicle, the Tucson, in the US market.

Honda Motor is also expected to unveil its latest concept version of a fuel cell-powered vehicle later this week.

Infrastructure concerns

Many carmakers have been looking to develop the fuel cell technology further and bring it to mass production.

One of the main reasons is that it is emission-free.

The technology uses hydrogen to generate electricity to power the engine and the waste products are heat and water.

At the same time, fuel cells charge much faster and travel a longer distance after being charged, compared with battery-operated electric cars.

However, there are concerns over the demand for such vehicles, not least because there are not enough hydrogen filling stations.

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan, said that worries over infrastructure were the key reason for his firm to put some of their plans on hold.

“Frankly, I don’t know how they are going to do it, because knowing all the problems we have, to have a charging system with electricity, where is the hydrogen infrastructure?” Mr Ghosn was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

“That’s why we have postponed, in a certain way, some of our ambitions in terms of fuel cells.”

Source: BBC

2015: Orji Kalu and raging Northerners

The many voices from the northern part of the country are deliberately banging that power must return to the north in 2015. The undoing of these voices is the unrepresentative tune that has pervaded to tell Nigerians which part of the north they expect the power to return to, unlike Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has always sounded not misleading that power must return to the South-East of the country.

 

As we may know, the Hausa/Fulani see power as their inheritance that must not be tasted by other Nigerians, let alone, by minorities in the north. But they are good at calling on all northerners to fight for a collective cause, such as the illusory yearning that power must return to the north in 2015.

 

It is evident that the matrix ?born to rule Nigeria?, as has been associated with northerners, is not the conviction of all the peoples of the north, but the credence of Hausa/Fulani dominating north, who see Nigeria as their legacy that must be self-interestedly protected by them, but using the minorities of the North, as prepared instruments.

 

They also see the people from the Southern part of the country as defeated peoples that must be controlled in the country as long as it lasts. It was this hindsight that perhaps ignited the comment that was credited to Francois Duvalier, then President of Haiti, March 22, 1969, which substantiated that the ?Federal Nigeria has never since her independence shown the distinctive mark of a united nation. It has been impossible for her to silence tribal rivalries ? to achieve that mixture of ethnic/cultural blend required to forge National Unity.?

 

But what President Duvalier saw around 1969, was the aim and object of Hausa/Fulani hegemony in the north, which in 1952, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa had addressed the Northern House of Assembly, and purportedly submitted that: ?The Southern people who are swamping into this region daily in such large numbers are really intruders; we don?t want them and they are not welcome here in the North.

 

?Since 1914, the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country. But the people are different in every way, including religion, custom, language and aspirations… we in the North take it that Nigeria unity is only a British intention for the country they created. IT IS NOT FOR US.?

 

Known for their (Hausa/Fulani) ground-breaking appetite in hostilities, Sir Ahmadu Bello apparently approached the Colonial Secretary in the same year, and said, ?If you want us (the North) to be part of this Nigeria you have in mind, then we want 50% of the membership of the National Assembly.?

 

Out-of-control, many Hausa/Fulani anti-truths have tried by magic or design to defend or discredit these comments credited to their personalities, but could not. They, however, resorted to labeling anybody who referred them to such comments as anti-Northerners, or something.?But a keen observer of the Nigerian politics would attest to the fact that Hausa/Fulani peoples of the north have always been in disagreement that the manifold ethnic-groups in the country is the ultra of all the realities that formed Nigeria.

 

We could recall that when?President Goodluck Jonathan on the 15th?September 2010 made his aim known that he needed the mandate of his party and Nigerians for another four years, the Hausa/Fulani went on rampage. They threatened fire and brimstone through many avenues of which one was an advertorial put up in a national daily by one group with the name Northern Elders Forum/Assembly.

 

In the same manner, Dr Dikko was said to have made the following comment to Abiola in 1983: ?Presidency is not for sale?. The Hausa/Fulani peoples of the north have always been bigheaded with statements that were tailored to churlish the people from across the Niger from becoming President of Nigeria.

 

But what Hausa/Fulani have always forgotten or remembered but are reluctant to hold onto truth are the political supports they have garnered from places like Ijaw, Ibibio,??Efik, Ikwerre, Kalabari, Ogoni, Ndigbo and so on from the present South-East and South-South, since December 1959 till 2007. They have only paid the South-South and South-East zones with unacceptable coin of born-to-rule thoughtless mindset, hence killings and destruction to property of Ndigbo in the north becomes fad.

 

This is the reason all and sundry must support Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu who has been shouting above his natural voice that 2015 should be for the South-East, because the people from this political zone have compromised much with the political equation in the country and are not ready for such again.

 

Without doubt, Kalu is not using selfishly, any ethnic minorities in the South as instrument for this cause just as the Shylockic voices from the north are not proportionate with the truth of where they want the power to be rested should the presidency return to the north. They are now involving all the minorities in the north, when it is obvious that Hausa/Fulani peoples would not allow any minority from there to be a civilian president.

 

Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu had formed the Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA), when it was obvious that he wanted an Igbo presidency, but his kinsmen like ex-Gov. Ikedi Ohakim and Gov. T.A Orji, who were overwhelmingly voted by Ndigbo in their respective states of Abia and Imo, because a personality like Kalu was involved, jumped ship at last and worked against the party, but they could not submerge it.

 

Ndigbo have to align with Kalu since it is obvious that he is the lone voice now championing for Igbo Presidency in 2015, because Ndigbo are not sure when their role in defending their lives and their aboriginal land in the pogrom targeted against them that is christened Nigeria/Biafra war will be forgiven by the powers that be in Nigeria.

 

Kalu is calling for synergy and corporation to move Nigeria forward. It is not sure what has made other Igbo politicians and dignitaries to be mute. He does not want Ndigbo to bear grudges against any tribes in Nigeria for all the pains they have been enduring in Nigeria, because he is of the principle that his movement for Igbo presidency will never be unproductive.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348032552855.

Email:?[email protected]

www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

2015: Not Ogonis? turn

By Arc Henry Opuiyo
There is no doubt that the crisis rocking the Rivers State over the last few months have everything to do with the guber race in 2015. The displacement of the State Executive of the Peoples Democratic Party under the chairmanship of Chief G. U. Ake in April 2013 remains the most audacious statement of intent yet on who steps into Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s shoes when the term of the incumbent ends. There have also been other engagements of the polity to register serious interest in the same Rivers governorship, but none has been reduced to clear ethnic interest as the declaration by the Ogoni political apparatchiks. Here is the point where the interest of other stakeholders in the Rivers project became aroused, raising questions on the supreme qualification of the Ogoni for the office in 2015.?Worse still the Ogonis have adopted the language of threat to pursue their dysfunctional agenda.
Drawing from the very sellable position that it is only equitable that the next governor should become an exclusive Rivers South-East senatorial district affair the other two senatorial districts having had the Governorship in the past 16 years, some smart politicians within the Ogoni strata have pounced on the strategy of sentimentality to drive their quest for power. A tiny clique among the Ogonis pursuing their own selfish agenda have tried to use Ogoni platform to pursue their Governorship Programme. The truth is that this is an approach that cannot be sustained as it is insensitive to factors that drive political calculations in every plural society.
We make bold to state that the crisis enveloping Rivers State at the moment could worsen with making wrong choices, and this does not preclude jettisoning the age-long issue of maintenance of the balance of power between the Upland and Riverine in the leadership of the state in 2015. The reactions that trailed the declaration in Ahoada by Felix Obuah of intention to have Nyesom Wike, Minister of State for Education and an ethnic Ikwerre succeed Gov. Amaechi evidences the overwhelming aversion to stalling the process of ceding the governorship to the Riverine after sixteen years of exclusive Upland dominance.
Generally speaking, the Ogoni do have a stake in the argument that power should shift this time to the Rivers South-East senatorial zone even though historical political indices do not support their cause. We have a precedent to buttress this point when the political parties of the time ceded the governorship to the Rivers West senatorial district in 1999. The race having been limited in the long run to Dr. Peter Odili of the PDP and Chief Ebenezer Isokariari of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP), the odds naturally favoured Dr. Odili not only because he was articulate. ?Not because he had a deep purse at the time. It certainly was not also the case then that the minority Ndoni-born politician brought any ethnic number edge over his challenger neither had the PDP acquired its present advantage of being the ruling party. Objective points devolving around maintaining the power balance between Upland/Riverine Rivers State gave the minority PDP ticket of Dr. Odili and Sir G. T. G. Toby (Ibani Ijaw) the day over the majority dominated APP ticket of Chief Isokariari (Kalabari Ijaw) and Sir Clement Menegbo (Ogoni). And the permutations were too clear: the political leadership of the state could not support the injustice of having another Riverine governor succeed Gov. Rufus Ada George even though he did only a little below two years of his constitutional four-year term due to the perenial military interventions of the time.?This sensitivity to our own multiethnic and peculiar geographical location helped in no small way to advance stability and unity in Rivers State then and is still relevant till today.
Since our Chinese friends say you ask questions from those returning when embarking on a journey, we respectfully submit that the same principles of guaranteeing justice and equity to all Rivers people applies, without fear of any contradiction, to the governorship race in 2015.
We had stated therefore that we agree that the Ogoni deserve our sympathy and identify particularly with the argument which tends to take stock of the general circumstance we find ourselves of environmental injustice and despoiliation of the Niger Delta region in which all parts of Rivers State are affected. But that is not the Alpha and Omega of inequities and the urgency to address same in the region. ?More so, considered against the background of political dominance by the Ogoni of non-Ogoni groups in the South-East senatorial zone with regard to shared interests. The fact is sacrosant that across past governments, the Ogoni have maintained an unasailable grip on the seat of Senator with the lone exception being Senator Adawari Pepple from Dr. Cyrus Nunieh, Dr. Bennett Birabi, Senator Lee Maeba through the incumbent, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe and it is incumbent on Rivers people that we exercise our minds on the justice and equity of that predominance as the market of issues and ideas central to the considerations for the governorship in 2015 take root.
Beyond the fact that Ogonis have dominated the commonwealth of Rivers South East Senatorial district to the exclusion of their brothers, the attempt to create a nexus between environmental degradation of Ogoni Land and entitlement to Governorship of Rivers State is immoral, untenable and deceitful.
All parts of Rivers State are affected by the environmental pollution occasioned by oil and gas industry activity, Ogonis may have been the most vocal. What Ogoni should ask for now like other Rivers people is good governance that will help them achieve their development objectives.
There is no shred of doubt that the root cause of crisis and conflict in any society is injustice. No part of Rivers State can afford the social problem another injustice to our Ijaw Riverine brothers will inflict on Rivers State. The path to go is the path of justice, fairness and equity. Rivers State is too strategic to the economy of Nigeria to be used for unnecessary political experiments.
Arc. Henry Opuiyo is facilitator of Rivers Equity Movement.

2015:A Defining Moment for Nigeria

Map of NigeriaOne of the most virulent ills that our country is facing today is corruption. Unless we?recognize?the full extent to which corruption, abuse of office and all sorts of plunder of national resources is responsible for our poverty as a nation, we will not be able to develop to our full potential.

 

Integrity and honesty are some of the most important qualities that our country needs in order to make progress.

 

Why is Nigeria so poor a? nation in the midst of such abundant resources? Why does our country make other nations rich by giving them resources which they transform into goods and services that we later pay high premium for?

 

Is? there something wrong with us? Are we cursed to live under this yoke of poverty and deprivation whilst possessing vast resources? The reasons for our poverty are complex and we cannot pretend to be the experts that can fully explain why we are where we are since our independence in 1960 and even as we officially celebrate our centenary anniversary in January? 2014.

 

Ironically? many of our people think politics is a dirty game with which they need not concern themselves. The only problem with this kind of reasoning is that it is this same dirty game that affects almost every aspect of our lives.

 

This dirty game determines whether we have good hospitals or bad ones; it determines whether we have good schools for our children or bad ones; it also determines whether we drive on good roads or bad ones. In many ways, politics decides whether we have food to eat as citizens or none. The quality of politics determines the quality of our lives. It is therefore na?ve to think that we can somehow insulate ourselves from this so-called dirty game for fear that if we participate or make our positions known on issues, we will be victimised.

 

It is true that politics in a developing democracy like ours can be a very expensive adventure for those who participate in it. The system of winner-takes-all ensures that those who lose are punished by those who win.

 

But this is so because many of our people have not yet begun to fully accept that politics is about them; politics is about their welfare. Any politics that ignores the people and their needs is not politics but crime.

 

This is why we see the kind of politics in our country that are predicated on feeding the hungry vultures that participate to the exclusion of our people.

 

This culture of indifference to the politics of our country breeds a fertile ground for corruption and abuse of office. Those who are brave enough to join this so-called dirty game feel entitled to reap the benefits of their adventure. But things need not be this way. We need to get to a time when it is not only those who are extraordinarily courageous or uncaringly criminal in their mentality that gets into politics. It must be a game played to benefit every citizen.

 

We must make sure that it is not rewarding for criminals to get into public office. To this end, it is good that institutions like Transparency International are pushing the agenda that makes it difficult for criminal politicians to continue stealing from their people with impunity.

 

The issue that Transparency International is raising is not a matter that is far removed from our domestic problems. It is good that they have adopted the declaration calling on governments to act decisively on the repatriation of stolen assets.

 

We say this because the keepers of our people have become their butchers. Unfortunately, this butchery does not end at persistent violation of rights and denial of meaningful participation in their politics, but it extends to the plunder and wanton pillaging of national resources.

 

Nigeria has suffered this same fate. It is therefore good that international solidarity in the form of Transparency International?s declaration on repatriation of stolen assets is coalescing international opinion in favour of poor countries that suffer at the hands of public officers who run leadership positions. They need to know and understand that the world is watching.

 

The age of impunity needs to be brought to an end. This avarice, kleptocracy and oppression have to stop now; 2015 should indeed be a defining moment for Nigerians. This is the time for paradigm shift- it is no longer business as usual where politicians come with the intention to cajole and bamboozle the citizenry with buncombe during electioneering season.

 

The colonialists have gone. We asked them to go justifiably though, and they are not coming back, so we must stop blaming them. Leadership, especially those derived from democratic process require tact, patience and sacrifice. A beneficiary of electoral mandate must be ready to take pains and not be unnecessarily happy and drunk with excessive power.

 

He must not necessarily be an economic wizard but must seek out who are and use them to avoid being thriftless. He must avoid being excitable because the job of managing a community of people allows little room for frivolity.

 

Frankly, recipients of electoral trust should exercise self -restraint at all times even when the governed chose to be otherwise. That is why only a few will occupy those positions of trust that is enough incentive to avoid vanity and primitive acquisition of wealth.

 

Lord Lugard demonstrated that when he died childless and the barony died with him. We would have taken care of the little sense of veracity, which Lugard blamed us for, when we begin to elect only leaders with proven record of accomplishment of sincerity and authenticity; who will see Nigeria and Nigerians not from the lens of North or South, Christian or Muslim but as one people bounded by love and unity of purpose.

 

Mr. EMMANUEL AJIBULU wrote from Abuja. He is Media Aide to Hon. Joseph Akinlaja.