[ Masterweb Reports ] - This report issued by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) details why Mr. Mike Okiro, former Inspector-General of Police, is unfit and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). The report highlights and explains four very substantial grounds of objection to Mr. Okiro’s nomination, namely:- 1. The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism; 2. Mr. Okiro’s role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria; 3. Mr. Okiro’s candidacy suffers clear and irremediable integrity deficits; and 4. As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests fail to comply with the Provisions of the Constitution. Each of the reasons summarised above raises insuperable obstacles to Mr. Okiro’s nomination. The NOPRIN and our member organisations believe that in combination, these factors make Mr. Okiro both unqualified and........ Read More
*Photo Caption - Mr. Mike Okiro
[ Masterweb Reports ] – Indications have emerged as to why the crisis rocking the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is proving difficult to settle. The reason, going by feelers from the camp of factional chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, is because Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, is the unseen force behind the group.
At a meeting held by his faction at the house of Chief Ifeanyi Udokwu (Ekwueme Ogidi) last Sunday, May 12, Umeh reportedly told those in attendance of how he in the company of Chief Ifeanyi Ubah and Chief Dan Ulasi recently met with the First Lady in her bedroom in Abuja. Sources close to the May 12 meeting attended by Akunwata Mike Kwentoh, Chief Ifeanyi Udokwu, Chief Dan Ulasi, and Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, among others, quoted Umeh as saying that the meeting held in the First Lady’s bedroom discussed the case at the Court of Appeal Awka which the faction had filed against the newly elected leadership of APGA headed by Chief Maxi Okwu.
Umeh was said to have spoken of how the First Lady allegedly informed them that the Acting President of the Appeal Court, Justice Zainab A. Bulkachuwa, is dependent on her and had agreed to help out as a condition for her being confirmed as the Substantive President of the Court.
Umeh said that to confirm that everything was under control, the First Lady immediately called Justice Bulkachuwa and put the phone on speaker for them to hear. He claimed that during the conversation, the First Lady told the Ag. Court President to ensure that judgment was delivered in the favour of Umeh’s faction despite the argument of Governor Peter Obi’s faction that the National Convention that produced the Okwu-led executive had been concluded before the court ruling. It was there, according to Umeh, that Her Justice assured that the case would be heard immediately and judgment delivered.
Umeh assured those at the May 12 meeting that the case would be concluded on the 24th of this month and that the First Lady had started working on the Supreme Court on the case. He also boasted that he would produce the next Governor of Anambra State and remained committed to Ifeanyi Ubah’s candidature.
A source said that when the issue of the APGA-produced Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha’s decamping to the All Progressives Congress (APC) came up, they had to make a statement against him to be seen as not supporting him. He reportedly assured them that he remained in touch with Okorocha, saying: “You should not worry about Rochas and APC, we know what they are doing.”
Source: News Express
*Photo Caption - Chief Victor Umeh
[ Masterweb Reports ] - On 6th day of May, 2013, we addressed a letter to Your Excellencies with the above related caption. The letter is referenced: Intersociety/S/01/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN. We also addressed another letter to the Executive Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, dated 6th day of May, 2013 and referenced: Intersociety/S/02/05/013/S/E/FCC/ABJ/FGN. Copies of the two letters are attached for Your Excellencies’ perusal and required action. Our writing Your Excellencies again is as a result of topical events of the past days. Apart from the said events, we also find it important and necessary to make the following corrections and clarifications pertaining to our first letter to Your Excellencies. It is recalled that we had in the said letter included the name of AIG (now DIG) Philemon Leha as one of the serving AIGs in the NPF. He hails from Taraba State, Northeast Nigeria. But further checks by leadership indicate that he was promoted to the DIG in 2012 on the heels of the tragic death of DIG Haruna John, who died in a helicopter crash. Also as we rightly pointed out in the letter to the effect that some CPs whom we thought to be from the Igbo-Southeast may most likely hail from the South-south Igbo areas. True to this position of ours, CP Kingsley Omire, who retired statutorily on 21st day of April, 2013 as Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, is not from Igbo-Southeast, but from Delta State. CP Benjamin Onwuka, who is Deputy Commandant, Police College, Jos, is not from Igbo-Southeast, but from........ Read More
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
[ Masterweb Reports: Philip Amiola reports ] - The volume of responses generated by my last article entitled, “Gays and Lesbians, We Will Not Keep Quiet!” has put me under responsibility to write a sequel to address genuine concerns raised by some of my readers. First of all, I want to state that my position on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) matters is not based on dogmatic religion, popular culture or subjective morality. Rather, my stance is founded on the universal principles of conscience, common sense and character as supported by scientific and medical research. Against this background, I intend to address issues ranging from instances of homosexuality in animals to questions of individual liberty and challenges with heterosexual marriage as they affect the LGBT debate.
Incidence of homosexuality in animals is no basis for its expression in man. Unlike other members of the animal kingdom which are mainly creatures of instinct, Homo sapiens (man with intelligence) has an intellectual and a spiritual side to him. Man as an intellectual and spiritual being is expected to demonstrate a sense of good judgement beyond instinctive behaviour. Homosexuality is a primordial instinct of animality (the animal side of man as opposed to the intellectual and spiritual) which must be subjected to the higher principles of commonsense and conscience.
Only heterosexual union offers the promise of continued preservation of the human species with healthy societies. Same sex unions are simply a means to satisfy warped passions and shameful lusts; they have no potential for positive contribution to society. Regardless of high divorce rate and other challenges associated with conventional (heterosexual) marriage, it remains the most fundamental institution in every society. Downplaying conventional marriage because of the attendant challenges is like discarding computers because of the prevalence of malware.
Concerning the state's position on the LGBT saga, we must realise that LGBT tendencies have little or nothing to do with the law; and much more to do with discordant personal beliefs and warped value system. Consequently, what we must emphasise is value re-orientation, not legislation. Legislation may work in the short term, but it is sure to fail in the long term. The key to sustainable transformation is re-orientation and right education.
For those who think we must tolerate homosexuality on the basis of "individual liberty", we must recognise that marriage entails much more than emotional satisfaction. Marriage is not a sexual pleasure centre; it's a social unit without which the human society cannot exist. Like any other relationship, marriage exists ultimately for the common good of the society, not for selfish gratification of the persons involved. Can we honestly say that homosexual unions have any potential to foster the common good of the society? Isn't it interesting to note that proponents of same sex union are themselves products of heterosexual union?
Whilst there are tonnes of facts, figures and research findings that clearly elucidate the peril of homosexual relations, it may not be practicable to present them in a 600-word article such as this; it'll take a treatise or a public debate to do that. I'll probably do a dissertation on this in the process of time. Until then, I'll content myself with engaging my audience via tweets, Facebook posts and brief articles. Like I said in my previous piece, LGBT movements have an agenda to topple the very foundations of our society; and they are committed to it. Straight people must be bold enough to pursue an opposing agenda with greater commitment.
*Photo Caption - British Gay Priest Rev. Colin Coward with Nigerian Gay Fiancé Bobby Egbele
[ Masterweb Reports: Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye reports ] - If anyone had told me a few years ago that a time will come in Nigeria when the authorities will approve the teaching of sexual immorality as a subject in junior and secondary schools, I would have thought that the person had lost his mind. But now, before our very eyes, it is happening, and I lack words to describe the shock among many Nigerians!
Not too long ago, I was shown the topics being treated under the subject called “Sexuality Education” or “Sex Education” which tender kids in both junior and secondary schools in Nigeria are now being forced to learn. Mere kids, some as young as ten or even nine, are put in the hands of teachers, who deploy every energy, talent and creativity to saturate their tender minds with every detail about sexual immorality and the use of contraceptives.
When I first raised alarm on this issue in my weekly column not too long ago, a concerned parent wrote me to say that the ‘Teacher’s Guide’ given to the Integrated Science teachers (who handle this subject) mandates them “to teach the children that religious teachings on issues like pre-marital sex, contraception, homosexuality, abortion and gender relations are mere opinions and myths! They are also to teach the students how to masturbate and use chemical contraceptives (designed for women in their 30s). The ‘Teachers Guide’ equally lays a big emphasis on values clarification; this empowers teenage children to decide which moral values to choose since the ones parents teach them at home are mere options.”
It is difficult to imagine that anyone outside a mental home could have the mind to design such a subject even for the children of his worst enemy! In my view, this clearly qualifies as child abuse, which, sadly, has been endorsed by the authorities. I have reasons to suspect that what some of the teachers would be giving out would be targeted more at titillating their tender victims than educating them! I can imagine how easy it would now become for a teacher who has been targeting a female student to use his creative elaboration of this subject, to get the girl so overwhelmed she would become easy meat.
I am told that there are two main reasons for the introduction of this subject in our schools. One is to empower school children with adequate knowledge about their bodies and how to “safely” indulge in pre-marital sex without falling victims to teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. The second reason is to demystify fornication, give it a positive image, as something to be cherished and enjoyed without any fear, as long as it is done “safely” and consensually. The belief is that with the age-long “superstition” built around sexual immorality which ‘stigmatizes’ it as an evil and sinful activity, some kids tend to go into it with fear and dread, and so develop psychological problems arising from the guilt they feel afterwards.
But these reasons are simply hollow and unconvincing. They are built on the assumption that in the present age, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for unmarried people to abstain from pre-marital sex. Instead of emboldening kids to behave like dogs, why not teach them to value their bodies and maintain their self-esteem by abstaining from immorality as our own parents had taught us? The difference between human beings and animals is the ability to reason and determine the consequences of actions, and then exercise discretion and self-control. Why not tell a kid the consequences of an action and use that to dissuade him from indulging in it?
Looking at the earnestness with which this policy is being pursued despite oppositions to it, one is forced to suspect that there may also be a commercial angle to it. Are we sure that substantial profit is not accruing to the initiators of this programme and their collaborators in government from the sales of the several books being written and printed on the subject? Support may equally be coming from the manufacturers of contraceptives who certainly see in this a lucrative venture to promote and sustain.
Now, how far has this subject helped in reducing teenage pregnancies and STDs in the Western nations where it has been taught, assimilated and practiced for many years now? It is a fact that these teachings have, for instance, been introduced in both the United States and Britain for many years now, but as I write now, I have before me, a BBC report saying that Britain has the highest record of teenage pregnancy in the whole of Western Europe. Also, another report has it that the United States has the highest number of teenage pregnancies in the entire Western world. Again, in the United States, it is reported that new infections of HIV are still on the increase.
That naturally leads us to the contentious issue of “safe sex.” So, what is all this fetish about “safe sex” and how “safe” can sex actually be? The truth is that a lot of studies and findings have effectively punctured the dubious confidence built over the years on condom-use. We know that with an effective magnifying lens, it is easy to see that several objects, especially rubber and plastics, have tiny holes through which very minute micro organisms could pass. I read somewhere recently that “HIV virus is only 0.1 micron in size while the naturally occurring holes in a latex condom is of the order 5 to 50 microns in diameter.” So where then is the “protection” we have heard so much about if the deadly virus can indeed pass through the wall of a condom? Is this not why we have often heard reports of people contracting HIV even though they had practiced the so-called “protected sex”? This is the time to rethink all this stuff behind which some fellows have hidden to pollute the minds of kids with ruinous teachings.
Fortunately, we have one precaution that does not fail. And that is the good old abstinence, which has been proven and tested to be the only reliable protection against deadly STDs and teenage pregnancies? We must hasten to realize that what is at stake here is human life, and should not be toyed with, for whatever reasons. It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand this desperation to create an immoral and ungodly society by misleading the youths? Now, if not for reasons that are less than noble and wholesome, why would Nigeria be eager to import a policy that is failing even in more advanced nations?
Okay, here is another point to ponder: HIV is 500 times smaller than spermatozoa, yet research has established that spermatozoa are able to sometimes pass through the wall of a latex condom to cause conception. Now, if this is the case, are we not by this subject leading our youths through the minefield? The example cited earlier of the worrisome rise in fresh infections of HIV in a place like the US where years of successful sex-education has achieved overwhelming attitudinal change in favour of condom-use should serve to buttress this point.
Now, with this policy in place and flourishing, where is this nation really heading to? What is the use living, if one must live like a dog?
I would, therefore, want to advise the school boy or girl reading this piece to please pause awhile and ask himself or herself what the initiators of this policy hope to achieve in his of her life by giving him or her these teachings? Such a youth should wonder how they still expect him to concentrate on his studies after they have saturated his mind with filthy teachings that only fill his mind with distractive lusts. Now, if his instructors (who are mostly parents) are encouraging him to freely indulge in sexual immorality at this early stage of his life, what type of future leader do they expect him to become? After “empowering” him to go on the rampage, wouldn’t they have succeeded in giving him a disease deadlier than even the AIDS they are presuming to save him from – which is the destruction of his moral fibre? What is the guarantee that he would be able to build a healthy family afterwards, by shunning the promiscuity that this subject is surely preparing him for, and which, as we all know, results in the proliferation of broken homes which has become the nightmare of the Western world?
It is instructive that The Guardian on Sunday, July 18, 1999, carried a report that a cross section of American college (mostly female) students are regretting the limitless freedom their parents had allowed them and have resolved to devote themselves to pursue a “no-sex” campaign. But in Nigeria in 2013, sexual immorality has been deregulated and democratized.
Right now, there appears to be some serious regret soaking the consciousness of many in the Western world, because of the moral wreck many children have become. But they are now helpless, because, it seems to have become too late, and things have gone out of hand. They now wish they never gave a perverted interpretation to freedom at some point in their history.
But poor Nigerians, we are always distinguished by our peculiar eagerness to always gobble up everything Western, no matter how rotten or destructive. Go to the people in Nollywood, and ask them why they are going so wild and immoral and the answer you will get is: That is how they do it in Hollywood. See what I mean?
But concerned Nigerian parents cannot afford to be intimidated and just watch helplessly as some fellows whose intentions are less than noble go all out to ruin their kids for them. And so, they should be able to ask: To what extent should the government interfere in people’s lives and families? Where does the government derive the authority to invade somebody’s home with ungodly teachings and inflict them on the person’s kids, just because he gave his kid to the government to educate in their schools? Shouldn’t an open and clear expression of disaffection towards this gross violation by stakeholders lead to its reappraisal and possible removal from the school curriculum?
Again, and very importantly too; most people have strongly accepted and hold very dear to their hearts the teachings they have received from the religious faith of their choice (which we as civilized people must respect) that sexual immorality which is a grievous sin against God attracts eternal damnation; and they are eager to ensure that both themselves and their kids escape this terrible doom; how then can we accommodate and respect this their belief (which is sacred to them) in this current effort to teach and encourage their children to freely indulge in fornication? Should we just dismiss and callously tear down a belief they hold so sacred and dear, and with which they have determined to successfully raise their children to become morally healthy kids? As if it does not matter?
It is time to rethink this policy and remove it from the school curriculum since it denies a large a number of people the option of choice. Many parents are not even aware that such a teaching is being generously forced down the throats of their precious children, thereby destroying all they have taught them at home.
Certainly, there are centres where some NGOs have established to propagate these pro-pre-marital sex teachings. Interested parents can take their children to those centres, while the objecting parents are spared the trauma of watching their kids being subjected to a menu they firmly believe is terribly unhealthy and ruinous. Their right to dissent must be respected.
*Photo Caption - Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
[ Masterweb Reports: Obienyem Valentine reports ] - May 1 is set aside universally for workers/labourers; it is known as “Worker’s Day”. Typical of Nigerians, being a public holidays, most people now use the day to celebrate their birthdays or those of their children. Some see it as a day to hold important meetings. Yet, there are some who do not know what to do with the day. Rather than reduce it to Epicurean feast and as a day when workers convey in Eagles Square with the President in attendance, it ought to be a day in which symposia, seminars, conferences and rallies are organised. Whatever fora should be dedicated to expounding the ideals and dignity of labour.
One of the misconceptions of the past was the idea of treating labour as something degrading and utterly undignifying. Because of this misconception, people would rather buy or engage slaves to do their work for them, lest they be looked down upon. By degree, this culminated in feudalism, where the feudal lords had their work done for them by the serfs. At this time, the idea of a gentleman was misconstrued as persons with literary tastes; those who were inclined to liberal education. These people had a peculiar perception of a gentleman as one who wanted education for its own sake and thereafter would employ people to do their work for them rather than the indignity of doing those work themselves.
Such conceptions in the past made labour, especially menial ones, to be so disdainfully treated. Because of this perceived lack of dignity, the concept of labour suffered the poverty of misconception. Even highly placed work, such as the type that lawyers do were lowly graded. A gentleman must not engage in forensic debates; he has to contract a lawyer to plead on his behalf. If the legal profession, as other professions, was treated this way, consider what was the fate of menial workers. Because of the ranking of labour, labourers were paid wages that did not guarantee lives of frugal comfort, afterall it was only fit for slaves.
Have we forgotten so soon that the wealth of nations arecreated by the work of labourers. If man ceases to work, humanity will be in trouble. Whatever way we look at it, work is a positive human act. It is gratifying to any reasonable man to turn to service energies, which would otherwise be wasted or misspent in idleness or mischief. The vice of sloth implies the virtue of work. The principle of activity, accordingly to Hegel, whereby “the workman has to perform for his subsistence”, gives man a dignity which “consists in his depending entirely on his diligence, conduct, and intelligence for the supply of his work.
Besides working for subsistence, there are many other reasons why man finds it useful to work. It is even suggested in some quarters that labour saves man from a boredom he fears more than the pain of labour. Our world is filled up with variety of amusements and diversions that man invents or franticallypursues to occupy himself when work is finished. The satisfaction of labour is therefore as peculiarly human as its burdens. Not merely to keep alive, but to keep himself productive and positively human, man is obliged to work.
When you look at our society, you see variety of work. Some are employed in government establishments: Civil Service or Public Corporation; some are employed in private sectors; some are self-employed; there are others who are unemployed. Wherever one works, the principle of dignity of labour,laborare dignitatem, implies that whatever one does that feeds and enables him to be clothed should be respected and not degraded or treated with contempt. To respect a particular job implies that the worker should approach his work with all sense of responsibility and diligence. In return, the job should be able to offer him a reward (salary) that will enable him live as a human being. This is the spirit of Pope Leo’s encyclical entitled: Rerum Novarum (“Of New Things”), where he submitted that “Equity commands that public authority show proper concern for the workers so that from what he may receive will enable him to be housed, clothed and secured, to live his life without hardship.”
In spite of the increase in salary by the present government, an average Nigeria worker, in public and private sector, cannot live the life of frugal comfort. Let us, by way of illustration, bring the minimum wage question in issue. The minimum wage of the Federal Government is N18,500 Supposing a worker lives in Abuja, where the house rent for a room (face-me-I-face-you) apartment in the ghettos of Airport road or Idu Karimu is about N5,000, the monthly NEPA bill is about N2000, monthly transport expenses to the place of work is about N4, 000, feeding at N300 per day translates into N3,000. I do not want to go further into medical bill, clothing etc because the expenditure profile is already very high You can imagine what it will be when the concerned worker has a family and one or two dependants. Off course, the talk of dignity of labour will not make much meaning to him. Such a job that do not translate into improved living will not inspire respect befitting jobs that are worthy of dignity.
What about those that push wheelbarrows, the cleaners, street sweepers, drivers e.t.c. Dignity of Labour says that they have to respect their jobs, since it is through these jobs that they keep body and soul together. But what of Nigeria, and other countries where the pay package or what this category of workers earn cannot sustain the life of frugal comfort? Is it possible for the doctrine of dignity of labour to make meaning to them? This is where there is conflict about the principle. The question therefore is: “Is labour worthy of dignity in Nigeria?”
Doubtless, in Labour issues, Nigeria is lagging. What we have in Nigeria is dead as opposed to living wages. Dead wages make for pauperism, as is the case with Nigeria. Beside oil companies, banks, international organisations domiciled in the country and few public corporations, there is scarcely anyestablishment, privately or government owned that pays living wages. This is why the attitudes of civil servants to work are often viewed with understanding leniency. Often they do not approach their work with required seriousness since most of them do other things to make ends meet.
The only way out of this is for government and all those who are engaged in policy formation to take the opportunity of this worker’s day to reflect on the real plight of Nigerian workers. It is only when labour is backed with commensurate returns that the doctrine of dignity of labour should become fully realisable, it is them that one can, with all justification, ask workers to live above board. This is the plain truth.
*Photo Caption - Obienyem Valentine
[ Masterweb Reports ] - An interactive session of Anioma leaders and representatives of Anioma associations and organizations in diaspora from countries across five continents met on Saturday, April 13, 2013 with a prominent Political Economist, Professor Patrick Okedinachi Utomi, to kick start the series of interactive sessions in the search for a viable Anioma candidate for Delta State Governor in 2015.
The meeting was initiated and facilitated by Anioma World Assembly (AWA). AWA Chairman, Dr. Charles Oseji, in his opening remark noted that:
“Anioma World Assembly (AWA), an inter-continental interest group which represents leadership of all Anioma Associations in diaspora, embarked on this mission to ensure that a tested and viable candidate with enviable track record emerges as Delta State Governor in 2015”.
AWA is partnering with twenty-six Delta State organizations cutting across ethnic divide, local and international, by collaborating with diverse advocacy groups in designing a platform to vet candidates of Anioma extraction with a view to presenting to the entire Delta State with a candidate without “excess baggage” that would be acceptable to all ethnic nationalities in the state.
AWA’s guest at the interactive session, Professor Pat Utomi, decried the deteriorating security situation in THE COUNTRY. He expressed concern that development in Delta is not where we should be compared with some other South-South States; and expressed relief that the State has begun to do something about Schools where we had followed far behind Rivers State. He noted that we are still behind Akwa-Ibom State and emphasized that we should focus more on the future than on passing the bulk about who to blame about the past.
Prof Utomi condemned the politics of personal aggrandisement by current Nigeria leadership and queried the viability of quick fix regime of rent seeking being promoted as economic empowerment. He decried the extent of poverty in the land which has greatly reduced the quality of life of PEOPLE OF NIGERIA.
He noted that in a recent review of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) publication- ‘The Human Development Report’, Human Development Index (HDI), a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development- a long and healthy life, knowledge and decent standard of living, indicates that Delta Region is at the same level with Northern States.
Utomi, pointed to how UNICEF Country Representative lamented on the state of Niger Delta Region during a recent presentation at Lagos Business School (LBS), and more recent concern expressed by stakeholders at BRACED Commission Retreat held in Akwa-Ibom State.
He emphasized that his mission in Public Life at any level, including the Gubernatorial one in Delta State, would be to replace politics with governance pointing at his effort to create a Silicon Valley around Illah, Delta State, about ten years ago which was deliberately frustrated by the then Government of Delta State.
Prof Utomi indicated that he shares the yearnings, wishes and call of the good people of Delta State of different ethnic extraction to become actively involved in Politics in Delta State, and promised to make himself available to such service.
He emphasized that Delta People should focus on finding persons of capacity, commitment, character and compassion rather than ethnic origin. He indicated that he would be active in that regard through the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) or through any other Party that it may become part of.
THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS WERE REACHD AT THE MEETING:
· Anioma World Assembly (AWA) resolved to and urges politicians in Delta North to pursue cooperation and collaboration with Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial zones as no zone can independently produce a governor for the entire state without the support of the other zones.
·AWA believes in in equity, justice and fair play, a united Delta State and open to working with all lovers of progress for the common good of all Deltans.
· AWA is vehemently opposed to and rebuke the double standard of Delta politicians and their rent seeking cabals who place their personal interest above the common good of Deltans and perpetuating poverty and underdevelopment in Delta State.
·AWA believes that the survival of the oppressed and impoverished Deltans in the current political and democratic dispensation in Nigeria rests on presenting a common front and forging a political alliance across Delta North, Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial zones.
ABOUT ANIOMA WORLD ASSEMBLY.
Anioma World Assembly (AWA) is the union of Leaders and/or Accredited Representatives of Anioma Associations in diaspora working towards the unification of Anioma people in Diaspora.
Motto: “One People Boundless and Indivisible”
Our mission is to improve upon lives of Anioma in their various communities by mobilizing the caring power of concerned individuals around the world to advance the common good of inhabitants of Anioma Nation.
Aims and Objectives:
(a) To advocate for Anioma at the highest level
(b) To internalize Anioma matters and work for the general good of Anioma
(c) To seek to attain one global Anioma voice by perfecting a global Anioma Union.
(d) To render selfless and positive services for the wellbeing of Anioma
Anioma nu, ofu obi, udo’oganihu
Dr. Charles Oseji, AWA Chairman (Atlanta, USA.),
Collins Uche Moweta, AWA, DSG Publicity & Media (Moscow, Russia),
Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili, AWA Secretary General, U.S.A
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria showing Anioma
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Lolo Grace Nnennaya Okereke was born in Amaja Agbo, Akoliufu, Alayi on July 5, 1922 the only daughter and second child of a lovely couple, the Uche Family. She had three brothers – one older and two younger than her. She grew up as one of the most beautiful girls in town, a gift that drew the attention of the King’s (Chief Okereke Aka) family who approached her family for marriage to the King’s first son and successor, Christopher Ukeje Okereke (aka C.U. Okereke). Grace tied the knot with Christopher in 1947. The marriage produced six children – three boys and three girls. Grace was happily married to Christopher until........Read More
*Photo Caption - Late Lolo Grace Nnennaya Okereke
[ Masterweb Reports: Eze Chukwuemeka Eze reports ] - I have done several articles on Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his administration in Rivers State, published by some of the leading social media outfits and National Newspapers, where I highlighted his revolution on Education, Health, Security, prudent management of State funds, Road infrastructure to mention a few. But the task before me now is to establish the toga of a villain been placed on him in order to crucify him or the heroic moniker on him in some quarters based on the current political upheaval in Rivers State. Although some see a villain as an antagonist, the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, defines a villain as "a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel; or a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot". A hero, on the other hand, according to Dictionary.com is defined as, “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities; person who in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a role model or ideal”.
Sadly enough, those who want Amaechi to be pushed out of office describe him as being arrogant, power drunk, evil, possessive and a stumbling block to their political agenda without minding the constitutional consequences. Rather than addressing serious issues, such as the lingering insecurity in some parts of the country, where the lives of innocent Nigerian has little or no meaning, the massive corruption under the incumbent Federal Government recently captured aptly by the United States Government. Nigeria is also being confronted with the menace of unemployment amongst our teeming graduates and youths, breakdown of institutional infrastructure, the list is endless.
This grandstanding and view of Amaechi as a villain that must be taught some political lessons seem to be the major concern of these powerful hands in the country. This prevailing state of affairs seem to lend credence to the views in some quarters that the judgement of the Abuja High Court presided over by Bello which ousted the duly elected PDP Executive of Chief Godspower Ake leave much to be desired. The national dailies are awash with moves by the Presidency to curry the favour of the Governors to ensure that Amaechi is not re-elected Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), even while the constitution of the forum allows an incumbent chairman to seek re-election. What crime has Amaechi committed to warrant all these attacks?
Much as one would not like to dabble into the unfortunate turn of events in the Rivers State PDP, one is challenged by the words of Nobel laureate and world renowned author, Prof Wole Soyinka who in his famous book the ‘Man Died’ said “The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny”. Doesn’t the above quotation underscores the macabre dance being displayed in the politics of Rivers State revolving round Governor Amaechi, that those who ought to speak out at this time prefer to watch the unfolding events from the sideline to avoid being dubbed pro-Amaechi.
This intolerable situation may have prompted one great mind residing in Port Harcourt, Mrs. Ohunene Scott-Ananaba in her lamentation titled “POLITRICKS RIVERS STATE STYLE” wept and inquired, “Where are all these people who stood on the stage with Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on that sunny day at the Rivers State College of Science field in Rumuola at the Obio-Akpor leg of the ‘Change you can see’ Campaign in 2011. Ha! Where are all those that spoke valiantly that day when I took this picture one of hundreds? Where is the Bulldozer Sargeant Awuse who was ready to follow you to the end? where is Nyesom Wike who anchored your campaign, where is Honourable Dakuku Peterside where is Magnus Abe where is Dawari George where is Tele Ikuru? Governor Rotimi Amaechi,where are they? Where are the Chindas et al. If any of them are still with you let them identify openly here and now or hold their peace. I wonder if anyone of them would have conceded to you the way Prince Tonye Princewill did in 2007, yet the same people drove a wedge between you and him”?
Now that Amaechi seem to be a leper and a villain and to demonstrate your political power and patriotism it becomes ideal and wise to keep off from him at this period but one can take solace in the wise stand of Benjamin Disraeli famous quotation that “There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour". According to one of the best minds in Journalism from Rivers State while reacting to Nene’s lamentation counselled those aspiring to be politicians to learn from the political development in Rivers State. They should also engrave it in their heart these words by Tennessee Williams: "We have to distrust each other. It's our only defense against betrayal."
Nene my sister, you need not weep so much because one with God is in the majority! Amaechi is not an ordinary human being except you have lost track of his background and his rise to his present state and I am convinced that God who saw him through in the past will surely see him through now. But if you are not counselled then read 11Timothy 3: 1-4 (“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”). Come to think of it, Amaechi is not alone after all considering the backlash from key stakeholders in the crude oil and gas rich State! The Rivers State House of Assembly, the Traditional Council of Chiefs, members of the National Assembly from the State, the Rivers State indigenes resident in Abuja, the State Chapter of the Association of Local Government Chairmen, (ALGON) and other segments of the State are with him as demonstrated during the historical solidarity visit on April 20, 2013, where a mammoth crowd gathered to re-assure him (Amaechi) of their support at this period of his trial. In a similarly show of love and solidarity, women in the State gathered on April 22, 2013 to commit the political situation and the Governor to God who is the only one that can truly decides the fate of man. The embattled Chief G.U.Ake, the ousted PDP Chairman throw more light on why the political imbroglio is been staged in Rivers State, “my ouster though temporary is targeted actually against Amaechi”.
According to Malcolm X, “To me the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal”. In line with this fact of life among civilised people and capturing the happenings in Rivers State aptly, an illustrious son of the State and former Minister of Petroleum Resources Prof. Tam David-West described Amaechi’s “orchestrated travails” as unfortunate in view of the fact that the governor has worked hard enough in restoring the glory of Port-Harcourt, also known as the Garden City of Nigeria. To the University Don, Amaechi’s travails is “Nigerian paradox “where excellence is relegated and mediocrity is elevated. “I’m particularly worried about the trend, not only because I am a Rivers State elder, not only because I am a strong supporter of Amaechi without any regret, I am also worried as a Nigerian because what is happening to Amaechi underscores a terrible Nigerian paradox, which I call the paradox of excellence. We support him because those of us who grew up in Port Harcourt as a famous “Garden City” knew how the city changed to a rotten city. And Amaechi, who is also a Port Harcourt boy, returned the city back to its glorious “Garden City” status. Any person that does not realize this is not only blind but terrible.” This great Sage reminded Amaechi’s opponents that he who laughs last, laughs best, stating with emphasis that the governor would laugh last because his first name, Chibuike means “God is strength.”
in recognition of the feats of the Governor, the Council of Traditional Rulers in Rivers State through its Chairman and Gbenemene Tai Kingdom, His Majesty King GNK Gininwa OFR, JP in a well advertised advertorial to Governor Amaechi on his recent Vanguard Personality of the year award stated, “All the traditional Rulers in the state are proud of your various achievements. This award is an addition to many more you will receive and a reward for your steadfast leadership because as a detribalized Nigerian, you are simply a big fish in a big sea and no man can stop you. Keep up the pace”
on the other hand, the National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar has described Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as a pillar of democracy in the current dispensation. Omar spoke when he led a delegation of top NLC officials on a courtesy call on the Governor in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
The NLC President and other members were in the Rivers State capital for a conference to elect new executive of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services (AUCPTRC). Omar said: “Nigerians are watching. Nigerians are very, very intelligent people. They are watching, they know things, they know what is happening (to Amaechi) and they are also passing their own judgment. “You have been one of the major pillars of democracy in this dispensation and we always like to in our only small way, associate with good things, especially when I recall that when I was here last, you decided to show me some of the projects, that at that time, a lot of them were not even completed but by the time we arrived this time and we passed through some of them, especially primary schools are completed. “I have not seen any where the children in public primary schools are learning under such very conducive atmosphere. This is what is required of democracy, for leadership to provide the dividends of democracy to the people practically, not theoretically, and I think that is very abundant in Rivers State. We believe in what you are doing because we have seen it and we only want to urge you to continue in that direction”.
A cursory look at some of the issues and opinions shows that the ‘villain’ toga does not suit Amaechi, however, let me attempt to bring it to the fore what Amaechi truly is, after looking at his giants strides and achievements in Rivers State from 2007 when he came into office as the State Chief Executive and ponder if the heroic toga fits him. The real verdict will be known sooner than later!
Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi a humanist, administrator par excellence, visionary, egalitarian, radical, respected, a pragmatist and exemplary leader was born on May 27, 1965 in Ubima, in Ikwere local government area of Rivers State and is an alumnus of the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State. He was the Rivers State Speaker of the State House of Assembly from 1999-2007; Chairman, conference of speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria (1999 – 2000), Governor of Rivers State (2007 – date), current Chairman of the Governors’ Forum in Nigeria. A winner of several awards including the Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON.
To capture the current rating of Amaechi in the political psyche of Nigerians, the recent award as the personality of the Year for 2012 on him by the Vanguard’s Newspaper says it all. This was an event aptly captured by the great Aristotle the famous Greek critic, Philosopher, Physicist and Zoologist as far back as 366 BC; “In the arena of human life the honours and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action”. This extraordinary thinker as if not satisfied with the above feat went further to state and I quote, “Dignity does not consist in possessing honours, but in deserving them”. This is awesome and breath-taking as the stand and postulations of the great Aristotle came into play on 6th April, 2013 at a colourful event held at the famous and prestigious Expo Centre, Eko Hotels and suites in Lagos where Nigeria and Nigerians stood still to celebrate one of her bests, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi CON, Governor of Rivers State and Chairman of Governors’ Forum of Nigeria, a forum comprising of other 36 Governors in Nigeria.
This historical event beamed live in most of the key network channels of AIT, Channels, Silverbird and public broadcaster, NTA was chaired by one time President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaganida where Vanguard Newspapers gave reasons why Governor Amaechi was honoured, “Amaechi is being honoured for his widely acknowledged developmental strides which have seen noteworthy improvements in infrastructure and the impartation of governance on all sectors of the society in Rivers State. Governor Amaechi’s development strides have been observed as going beyond infrastructure improvements in sectors such as roads, electricity, sports, new towns and such like, to life touching and human capacity development initiatives such as education, healthcare among other economic boosting endeavours”.
In line with the thought of Susan RoAne, “Rewards go to the risk-takers, those who are willing to put their egos on the line and reach out to other people and to a richer, fuller life for themselves”. I will like just to highlight few areas that have made Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi not only unique but a pointer to the fact that we still have hope about the future of our nation not minding the challenges and obstacles.
The standard set by the administration of Gov Amaechi in Rivers State is a big challenge both to the Federal Government and other States of the Federation. The State has won several awards in this regard. From records, the government is targeting building 700 model primary schools with 500 completed each with 20 classrooms costing N3.1Billion each and equipped with ICT facility, modern library, science laboratory, football field, basketball pitch, volleyball pitch and Nursery playground. These model Primary schools are built to the standard of the United Nations and obtainable in developed parts of the world. It is also building 24 model secondary schools across the 23 local government councils in the state; well-structured and fully equipped with modern day educational, recreation and boarding facilities with standard housing for teachers, these secondary schools have grossly been referred to by observers as Universities. The government is currently running free primary education with free books and uniform, provisions of library and internet facilities for the primary schools. The Rivers State Government has been adjudged the best performing state in the Education sector within the South-South zone.
In recognition of this the Federal Ministry of Education has rewarded the state with the sum of N70 million for its performance. The process of employing extra 13,000 Teachers has been concluded. The State has offered scholarships to over 2,000 students in Nigerian Higher Institutions and has spent about N5bn for her students in foreign Intuitions. The State is building a world Class University which when completed will turn out well equipped graduates that will hold their own in any field and compete with the best in the world.
2. THE JUDICIARY
Contributions to the Judiciary by Amaechi are awesome and overwhelming. My good friend, Ken O.Olumati a legal counsel based in Port Harcourt in an article he titled, ‘Ameachi's Debt to the Law’ captured what Amaechi has done to improve the judiciary in Nigeria. He stated that, “It is noteworthy that the various decisions of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in Governor Amaechi's case were reported in Parts 1040 and 1065 of the Nigeria Weekly Law Reports. In Part 1065 alone contains six decisions on Amaechi's case; three by the Supreme Court and three by the Court of Appeal. This in itself underscores the significance of Amaechi's battles through the courts. Few cases have enjoyed similar attention in the annals of Nigeria's legal institution. Some of them include the case between Amodu Tijani V Secretary, Southern Nigeria, and the late Oba Oyekan's legal battle for the Obaship of Lagos in the 1950's, which went as far as Her Majesty's Privy Council before a clear winner was installed. In recent memory, the case of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi against the Nigeria Bar Association as well as his numerous court battles against the Military Government of former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
Under the Rivers State Government, tremendous revolution in the Health sector is taking place; the Government is offering free health services to all her citizenry in all government owned hospitals or health centers. To achieve this, Government has Constructed 160 Health Centres in all the LGAs and construction of 1000 bed specialist hospital with other special intervention in this area. These facilities are available free of charge to both indigenes and none indigenes residing in the State. The Health sector today is about one of the foremost employers of labour in Rivers State. The State has gone into the medical industry as she is about developing an area in part of the Greater Port Harcourt city to be called the Medical Industrial Region where the syringe factory, the malaria diagnostic and test tube factory shall be situated.
So far, about 100 medical Doctors have been employed to staff most of the Health Centres in the rural areas. The Rivers State Government has currently embarked upon the exercise to eradicate malaria vectors from the State. The Health Centre at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology will soon be opened to the public. The State was lauded last year for its daily commissioning of a health centre over a 60 day period in 60 communities in its 60-60-60 initiative. The Dental Hospital located in the Garrison area of Port Harcourt is now opened. All of these will also generate employment amongst the youths in the State. Rivers State Government says it has concluded arrangements to commence a partnership with the Economic Community of West African States for the production of Biolarvicides to control and eliminate malaria in the state. Few weeks ago, Rivers State was adjudged the best state of the federation in the area of malaria elimination and control programme.
4. STEPS TO ALLEVIATE UNEMPLOYMENT SCOURGE IN RIVERS STATE
Apart from concluding plans to employ 13 thousands Teachers, below are some other plans highlighted by Amaechi that will hopefully alleviate unemployment:
He stated that the Rivers State Government has signed a long lease contract with Siat Firm to revamp and manage the RISONPALM. According to him, when fully operational it would create about 4,000 job opportunities.
Additionally, the Rivers State Government has commenced paper work to establish and develop a N20bn Agric Scheme. According to him, “The scheme would encompass a settlement and cluster units in different areas of agriculture and is geared towards providing jobs for the teeming youths of our State”. He said the project is expected to have about 300 housing units, a processing industry and primary schools. This multi-billion Naira Agricultural Scheme will be splintered into three areas of the State housing 100 families each in the 100 housing units to be constructed. Construction is now on-going to construct a multi-purpose Shopping Mall located at the Front gate axis of the Government House. On completion the mall will employ about 600 youths.
The state is embarking on establishing a Banana Farm at Ogoni where about 200 workers will be engaged.
The Rivers State Government has established a Fish farm at Buguma where many youths are today engaged.
He reiterated government’s commitment to revamp most of its ailing companies to create jobs for the youths based on Public/private partnership to avert the pitfalls of the old system. In this regard, both the SUPABOD and the Olympia Hotel will soon be leased out.
You can only appreciate what Gov Amaechi achieved in this sector if you know of the security challenges facing the State before he assumed office as the Governor. Find time to read my article on this sector titled "AMAECHI: SECURITY CHALLENGES IN RIVERS STATE, HIS STRATEGIES & SCORECARD" to grasp the full impact of the inputs of the Governor in this regard.
All the same, the State has purchase two equipped and modern Helicopters for aerial surveillance to fight crime in the State. To the Governor, “inability of elected leaders to provide adequate security for the citizenry is an impeachable offense.
6 PUBLIC POWER SUPPLY
The Power Sector in the State is working tirelessly to ensure an end to epileptic power supply in the State by the year 2013 this would also serve to boost employment in the state and will also encourage entrepreneurship among the Youths. Apart from all these the Rivers State Government has built three power stations at Omoku (150 Mega watts), Trans-Amadi (130 Mega watts) and Eleme (75 mega watts). By June, 2013, capacity will be increased to 500 Mega Watts under the $195 million dollars 180 MW gas turbine awarded to Saipem. Seven Transmissions stations (132/33 kilo volts) and 7 Distribution injection sub-stations 33/11 Kilo Volts built.
Four fish farms-buguma, Andoni, Opobo and Ubima. Banana Farm in Ogoni-100 hectares have been done out of the total 250 hectares. It will employ about 500 workers. Rivers Songhai learning initiative has a centre for training, agricultural production, research and development of sustainable agricultural practices. The farm project sits on a 314-hectares land in Bunu-Tai, an agrarian community in Tai Local Government Area of the state.
It is about 20 times the size of the Songhai model in Porto Novo – an integrated farm which combines livestock, arable farming, fishery, snail farming and poultry. There is a 2,000-hectare farm in Etche with a total available land space of 3,000 hectares. The farm is projected to cost $140 million. The state is investing $100m; the foreign partner $40 million. The farm would have 300 farming houses, agro processing and 3,000 hectares for cultivation. The 300 houses would accommodate 300 farming families who would live and work on the farm.
8. ROAD NETWORK
According to the Governor, “I don’t emphasize roads. There is just one road we are building now, the Trans-Amadi Road. It is going to take about three flyovers; one at Garrison, one at Slaughter and another at Nbogo Junction. It is going to cost N47 billion. It is 10 kilometers long. There is another new road we are going to build now to the airport to decongest Aba Road. It is going to cost N200 billion and fifty percent of that will be spent on bridges with about four flyovers and inter-changes.
The Rivers State Government has invested over N100b per year from 2008 till 2011 in provision of roads, bridges and Social amenities. In this regard, the Government has engaged in the construction of 800km roads with 250 already completed. 10 major bridges under construction with 3 already completed. 20 minor bridges under construction with four completed, 2flyover/interchange under construction. 6 Land reclamation/shore protection projects at Andoni, Opobo, Buguma, Abalama, Olombie/Owukiri Island, Oba Ama, Okirika with 1,1400,000km 2 completed. 2 major markets and a shopping mall under construction (phase 1 of mile 1 market housing 960 shops and two banking halls completed). dualisation of eight major roads in Port Harcourt – Rumola-Rumuokuta (completed), Oginigba-Rumuokbiakani Rd (completed), Eastern by pass-Amadi Amaa-Oginigba (reconstruction completed), Old Aba Road (80% completed), Elekahia-Rumuomasi (70% completed), Rumuokuta-NTA-Choba Rd (60& completed), Tam David-West Rd (80% completed), d mega-Airport-Isiokpo-Omerelu dualisation (42km Federal Rd, 50% completed), Rumukurusi-Eneka-Igwuruta Rd (ongoing), award of 850 km of roads, completion of 260km of roads. Two overhead bridges completed; two under construction, four bridges completed and four under construction. It is to the credit of this administration that very soon communities in the Riverine Areas hitherto inaccessible by road will be linked to the road network.
9. PREUDENT MANAGEMENT OF FINANCES OF RIVERS STATE
To demonstrate the high prudent management of recourses at the disposal of the State, It is on record that Rivers State has again been affirmed a ‘B’ international rating by leading international financial analysis agency, Standard and Poor’s (S & P) in a report released recently. The long-term outlook for the state is revised upwards from last year rating of “Stable” to “Positive” on the strength of significant ongoing infrastructural investments (in roads, ICT, health care, education and urban renewal) and relentless efforts to transform the public finance framework. All this would help lift the state’s social and economic status in the long run. The agency in its 20112 credit analysis report on Rivers State, noted that the state currently had a high credit quality, owing to its strong cash holdings, low debt and a healthy operating balance. More importantly, the state’s efforts towards modernising public sector administration, which included information technology upgrade and an improved transparency and accountability in administration is a plus to the administration. Standard and poor’s also noted that Rivers has a strong liquidity base with no substantial debt burden.
HOW HE IS LOVED IN RIVERS STATE
To demonstrate on his acceptance by his people in Rivers State, he is a beneficiary of various traditional titles from most of the kingdoms in Rivers State though he hates to be addressed as a Chief and Patron to various professional groups in the State. His associates and friends in the State hold him in high esteem.
HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, KING ALFRED DIETE-SPIFF the military Governor of the old Rivers State, from 1967 to 1975. He was also a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) under General Yakubu Gowon's administration and currently, the Amayanabo of Toun Brass, Bayelsa State once stated and I quote, “Yes, I am attributed to be the father of the old Rivers State but without sounding immodest let me reiterate that Governor Amaechi can be described as the builder of the modern Rivers State if all the infrastructure he has put in are anything to go by. I am so proud of his feats and if he continues like this, Rivers State will be a proud to all Nigerians”.
To PRINCE TONYE PRINCEWILL the scion of the King of the Kalabari Kingdom and an associate of the Governor but better addressed as the Prince of Niger Delta Politics while reacting to the Vanguard’s award to the Governor stated thus, “A good move. If he had listened to our advice he would have been winning it every year. The award should be seen not as just an achievement but as a signal that he is being watched. Until he hands over power successfully to one accepted by the Rivers State people, he carries a powerful readership under his belt. As a guest writer with my own column in the Vanguard Newspapers, I believe I should know. Amaechi is an asset to Nigeria and the world”.
ENGR. TELE IKURU, FNSE the Deputy Governor of Rivers State in his contribution titled “My Boss is Vanguard Personality of the Year stated and I quote, “God has been gracious to you so much that you have increasingly become an instrument of transformation, an icon of performance, a symbol of excellence in public service, and a refreshingly quintessential model for good governance. This is now public knowledge. The Vanguard Newspapers’ 2012 Personality of the Year Award is a testimonial to this fact”.
RT. HON. OTELEMABA DAN AMACHREE the amiable Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Principal officers, Members and entire staff of the Rivers State see Amaechi as a pace setter. To them the Governor have come a long way and his leadership style is worthy of emulation as his endless strides continue to speak for itself.
MR GEORGE D. N. FEYII the unassuming Secretary to the Rivers State Government in his well-advertised advertorial on the Governor’s feats stated and I quote, “Celebrating your leadership is a celebration of the landmark profile of your giant developmental strides in the new Rivers State. It is unarguably a moment to celebrate a phenomenon of our time; a man of distinction who has given so much to his people in infrastructural development, ethical reorientation and a sense of pride among the comity of states. Your doggedness, focus and track record of achievements are leadership qualities that have set you apart from the crowd”.
To DR DAWARI GEORGE one time Commissioner under the administration of Amaechi before becoming a member of the Federal House of Representatives, “Gov Amaechi has redefined governance. He has been able to reconcile leadership and compassion. A good heart he has. A workaholic, restless and impatient with d status quo, a man who left no one in doubt that he is in charge and able to mobilise all his followers behind a common vision for the future".
To HON. CHIEF DAKUKU PETERSIDE a formidable force while holding forte as the Commissioner of Works under the administration of Governor Amaechi and currently the Chairman of the Downstream Committee of the Federal House of Representatives in his remarks stated, “It is an honour he truly deserves and rightly earned. Gov Amaechi without doubt has revolutionized the infrastructural landscape of Rivers State. The whole nation has come to acknowledge that he is the new gold standard in good governance. His democratic credentials are exemplary and above all his principled stand on issues stands him out. He taught us to always stand by the truth no matter the inconvenience and that truth will always prevail. We are indeed privileged to have studied at his feet and we are proud of his accomplishments”.
To DR TAMUNOIYORIARI SAMPSON PARKER the Commissioner of Health, “we commend your efforts in repositioning the health sector through the building, equipping, and the staffing of hospitals, model primary health care centres, provision of drugs and other health facilities for the benefit of all residents in the state”.
To BARR ACHI WILLIAMS and other members of the PAN RIVERS LEADERSHIP NETWORK, an organisation set up by some of the best brains in Rivers State whose vision is for a better Rivers State in an advertorial signed by over 100 of its leaders stated thus – “Your Excellency, leadership is about influencing the thinking, behaviour and development of others. To us all, you are our leader as you have positively influenced our behaviour and thinking and we are delighted that your leadership qualities and contributions to nation building are being recognised nationally. To us, you are not just the Man of the Year; you are the Man of this Generation”.
Given an insight into what prompted Amaechi into politics, HON. (CHF.) IKE CHINWO,KSC,FNIM one time member of the Federal House of Representatives and presently the National President of the UNIPORT Alumnus Associate, “Many may not know but let it be said loud and clear that what actually propelled Rotimi into politics was his worry about the high level of poverty and lack of development in the land and the quest to ameliorate the situation among our people, the state, nation and humanity at large. From the projects and programmes he has initiated since he was elected as Governor and the passion with which he is vigorously pursuing them one can see the justification. So, I am not surprised about his achievements. I am convinced he will attract more laurels by his works”.
AMAECHI AS A NATIONAL FIGURE
Apart from been a onetime Chairman of the Forum of Nigerian Speakers from 1999 to 2011 and currently the Chairman of the Forum of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, he was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate Degree from various Universities in Nigeria including the Usmanu Danfodiyo University of Sokoto. He is a holder of the Commander of the Order of Niger, CON and Man of the Year recipient of Sun, Leadership, Compass and recently Vanguard Newspaper. The following comments by some outstanding Nigerians attest to the above.
Under an advertorial by 32 members of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly of Nigeria signed by Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, “Today as always, we rejoice with you, our worthy friend, a democrat, a patriotic Nigerian and an epitome of good governance as you add another feather to your cap as Vanguard Man of the year 2012” and that signed by over 200 members of the Federal House of Representatives indicates the wide acceptance of Amaechi as the “Standard Torch Bearer” of a better Nigeria.
President Jonathan Goodluck had during a working visit to Rivers State to commission Owerri Road a Federal Government Road constructed by the Rivers State Government to ease the suffering of commuters at N45B, lay the foundation of the Adokie Amiesiemaka Stadium that has hosted a lot of International meets and the foundation of the Rivers State Monorail Initiative that is intended to revolutionize transportation in Rivers State and a challenge to other States of the federation, the commissioning of the Trans Amadi based Gas Turbine eulogized the Governor of Rivers State over his vision in the choice of projects that impacted positively on the people. President Jonathan hinted that the several road networks embarked upon by the Rivers State Government and the Monorail transport system planned by the government has significantly shown that the state is moving ahead, “beside the road network, I want to commend Governor Amaechi on the three major projects, the quality of Primary and Secondary Schools that we saw, as well as the Power Project that would aid Small Business Enterprises”.
To Prof. Tam David-West, “If you compare the administration of Odili and that of Amaechi, you will agree with me that the present administration under Amaechi has done in two years far more than what Odili did in eight years”.
To Governor Shekarau of Kano State who was in the State to witness some of the great feats of Amaechi remarked, “I feel highly fulfilled by coming here today to hear and see the dividends of democracy, as I urge Governor Amaechi to build more of such schools which he described as vehicle for change. But for time, I would have borrowed a leaf from Amaechi by replicating the quality of schools I have seen here in his state”.
INTERNATIONAL STATURE OF GOV AMAECHI
To demonstrate the international posture of Rivers State and how the Governor has taken Rivers State to the outside world; he was one of three high profile speakers at this year’s Commonwealth Observance day held at the Westminister Abbey in London. Governor Amaechi was invited to speak at this year’s Observance because of what was described as his “incredible achievements at the national level, personal commitment to policies that encourage enterprise and create opportunity and not least his personal engagement”.
Attesting to the international figure of this great gift to Nigeria by God, the former President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda during his visit to the State described the leadership of the Governor of Rivers State as a focused one. Dr. Kaunda noted that with the focused leadership of Governor Amaechi, Rivers State would continue to be of service to humanity for many years to come.
Following up, the Deputy Speaker of Ugandan Parliament and Chairperson of CWP Hon Rebecca Kadaga, lauded the developmental efforts and policies of Governor Amaechi especially those geared towards improving the lot of children and women, saying that the issues already canvassed confirm that what the CWP was set to achieve are already in place in Rivers State.
In appreciation to the great feats of Amaechi’s administration, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert stated recently that, “The impression that I always get when I come to Africa is that these countries have enormous potential and your country and your State (Rivers) have enormous potential and I think that you happen to have at this time in history also, a dynamic, energetic and capable leadership that can make the dreams of building up the State into a reality of life for the 5.1 million residents in Rivers State that want their lives to be of much higher and greater quality.” Mr, Ehud enthused.
In extolling this great revolutionist, the United States Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins while exchanging ideas with some Journalists stated, “I must commend Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State for embarking on numerous people-oriented projects and showing enthusiasm on Niger delta issues. “We are very appreciative of all that Amaechi has done. we are quite clear that addressing the issues of the Niger Delta, the challenges require focusing on things like education development, agriculture, health, all sorts of issues, and the governor was kind enough to show us, on the ground, some of the projects the government of Rivers State is working on, so we are very deeply appreciative of his support”.
RIVERS STATE AND INTERNATIONAL MEETS
The results of the peaceful state of Rivers State under the watch of Gov Amaechi has resulted not only the attraction of foreign investments but today Port Harcourt is now the haven of both International and National championships. Apart from hosting one of the best organised National Sports Festival ever in Nigeria, the just concluded School Sports and the Police Games by March 2013. Port Harcourt apart from Abuja and probably Lagos is the only State to have hosted US-Nigeria biennial National Conference, Pan African Parliamentary; Garden City Literary Festival, hosted CARNRIV involving several foreign countries to showcase the rich culture, potentials and beauty of her people, the 2nd Dr Claude Ake Memorial Lecture, Rivers State Investment Forum and Governor’s Interactive Session with Rivers State Youths.
Apart from the above other major events hosted by Rivers State include the ION Film Festival where the world best Film Producers were feted with the hospitality of Rivers State, Miss ECOWAS Pageant, Garden City Literary Festival, Guild of Editors, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), a trade delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on an enlighten mission for private companies within the South-South zone on how to access business opportunities available within the ECOWAS sub region among many other major events hosted by the Rivers State Government. The State is the UNESCO’s World Book Capital 2014. What a feat and what an accomplishment.
HONOURS AND JUSTIFICATION OF MANDATE
Gov. Amaechi got the Sun Newspaper Man of the Year Award in 2007 and the Compass Newspaper Award for Security in 2008. The Governor of the year 2009 Award was presented to Governor Amaechi at the ‘Leadership Award for Excellence – 2009’ chaired by former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd) in Abuja.
He was also conferred with the prestigious “SERA’s” award for his contributions towards the social development of Rivers State, in line with the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), especially in the areas of Health and Education.
SOLUTION TO THE POOR LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE OF NIGERIA
Barr Olkayo Ajulo in his article titled “Leadership Crisis and the future of the Nigerian Youths” he listed the woes that have befallen our nation. According to this erudite writer, “To state it more clearly, everything that is synonymous with underdevelopment is synonymous with Nigeria. Our hospitals have become mortuaries due to lack of equipment, drugs and personnel; our universities lack the adequate facilities for adequate manpower training and development and the graduates of these universities are now regarded as half-baked; our transport system have gone moribund – our roads are riddled with potholes and our airspace is unsafe to fly with incessant crashes; there is high rate of unemployment; insecurity of lives and properties has become the norm; there is no power to drive our industries making investment difficult and occasioning industries to close shop. These and many others may have propelled the description of Nigeria as a failed state”. What may have caused all these woes, Barr Ajulo came up with an answer, “On the whole, we have produced leaders that have failed the nation in its cry for development, leaders who in recent times have been described as accidental public servants being unprepared for leadership. The failure of the leadership at all levels of government to coordinate, direct and harness the human and material resources of the country accounts for the Nigeria’s underdevelopment today. But must we as a nation continue like this?” Can we continue in this current state of mismanagement and plundering of our natural resources? We obviously cannot forge ahead like this”.
Yes, we cannot continue like this as the former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) has an answer to that malaise of poor leadership in Nigeria. According to him, the winner of the Vanguard Personality of the Year Award 2012, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the governor of Rivers State and the runner-up, Group Managing Director (GMD), Access Bank, Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede, are two gentlemen that represent the normative order of a new generation leadership orientation that is anchored on love for country, service delivery and patriotism. “In fact, given their humanity, there is nothing extra-ordinary about their creation but there is something, extra-ordinary about their leadership emanations. For example, Governor Amaechi is not just a governor in whom I am well pleased, but one that has been able to make a bold impression about promise and performance, in a Nigerian political space that is grappling with challenges of development and good governance. Amaechi has been involved in scholarship programmes for Rivers State students some of whom Amaechi also sent to schools up North for foundational studies in the spirit of national integration.
“His conviction that the federating units in the country should be allowed to enjoy some level of independence and exploit their comparative advantages often gets him into trouble, understandably so. With leaders who are brutally frank about issues and the politics of transition, leaders who are driven by their conviction like Amaechi and Aig-Imoukhuede, Nigeria still has tremendous hope. We must make the votes count in order to produce leaders such as Governor Amaechi. I do not envy him. With leaders who are brutally frank about issues and the politics of transition, leaders who are driven by their convictions like Amaechi and Aig-Imoukhuede, Nigeria still has tremendous hope”. With all the above submissions, I agree vehemently with General Babangida in his wise counsel to Nigerians on Amaechi
In conclusion, let me assume that most of the travails of Gov Amaechi are political because of his beliefs and political calculations come 2015 but if I may ask, what is wrong seeing the credentials and feats of this visionary leader from offering himself to higher responsibility in the leadership of this country? This brings in Prof Tam David-West once again. According to him, Amaechi’s “orchestrated travails though unfortunate is “Nigerian paradox “where excellence is relegated and mediocrity is elevated”. If I may ask, must we continue to promote mediocrity in our leadership sphere and allow our nation to continue to bleed? The choice is ours!
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze ( email@example.com ) is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption – Governor Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi
[ Masterweb Reports ]- Few weeks ago, Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio, like some of his second term governor colleagues who are eyeing a transition from government house to the National Assembly complex, while speaking on a live television programme, reiterated his vaulting ambition to contest for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district when he vacates the governorship seat in 2015. He will swell the horde of former governors retiring to the red chambers of the upper legislative arm. Governor Akpabio, is also rumoured to be interested in the presidency or vice-presidential slot should anything dramatic happen to the Jonathan/Sambo ticket at the eleventh hour in 2015 or more assuredly after the duo complete their second term in 2019. For an ebullient politician like Akpabio, he cannot afford to be left out of the thick of things after 2015. His ambition has since pitched him against the Senator currently representing his senatorial district, Senator Aloysius Akpan Etok. In most states the race for Senatorial seats in the hallowed chambers of the National Assemby has thickened, threatening to overheat the polity.
Since the country’s return to democracy in 1999, the hallowed chambers of the upper arm of the Nigerian legislature has cut a reputation for attracting very senior citizens across the country; ex-military administrators, former governors and ministers, top political leaders all at one point or the other have graced the red chambers of the National Assembly. But it is now trending, that second term governors seeking political relevance for personal aggrandisement use the Senate as a vehicle to keep their political career active.
In other climes, the Senate is revered for its ambience of dignity and honour, only deserving of men of no less virtue. In Nigeria, it has become a safe haven of sort for corrupt ex-governors with running cases with the EFCC. Joshua Dariye for instance, in 2004 was arrested in London for money laundering. He jumped bail and returned to the country to resume his duties as governor of Plateau state. Today, he is a ‘distinguished’ Senator of the Federal Republic. Former governors turned senators with cases with the EFCC include Bukola Saraki, Chimaroke Nnamani, among others. Their presence in the Senate, keeps the anti-graft agencies at bay. Till date their cases have remained inconclusive. A sad reflection of the nature of anti-corruption war the government is waging.
Ex-governors who failed to lift their state beyond where they met it have somehow found their way into the Senate. Some, like the former governor of Plateau state, in a desperate bid to use their influence to garner votes, dumped their parties for new ones where they could vie for the Senate hassle-free.
Prominent governors like Rotimi Amaechi, Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido and a few others rumoured to be vying for the plum job or vice presidency, might eventually have to settle for a seat in the Senate as the political coast becomes clearer in the months leading up to the 2015 election. These second term governors, wield enormous political clout in their states, and are likely to win their districts unopposed.
The influx of retiring governors to the Senate is an indication that their (s)election into the National Assembly complex are for reasons far from the nudge of the people for qualitative representation based on antecedents and the believe that their candidature can deliver democracy dividend.
Second term governors who do not contest for Senate are either sceptical of their chances because they underperformed as state governors or will face stiff opposition from an incumbent Senator in the district. Many, like Mr. Akpabio realise that there might be no politician in the district that can match their political and financial clout if they throw their hat in the ring with victory all but guaranteed. Former governors like the pardoned political fugitive, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is motivated by the quest to revive his ebbing political career in the Senate.
Eleven erstwhile governors, are currently in the 7th Senate. We can be certain it will increase come 2015 as it did after the 2003 and 2007 elections. Expectations were rife that they would use their wealth of experience to influence debates on national issues in the Senate. A Senator noted that probably, the ex-governors, thought they would continue to wield the kind of powers they had while they served as governors, “ except for a handful, who are doing well in the Senate, the rest are just here doing nothing. You don’t even see them often in the Senate doing their legislative work, and when they attend committee meetings, they almost talk as if they are still governors. That is why some of them don’t even come to the Senate, they stay away.”
DSP Alamieyeseigha, former Bayelsa State Governor, an ex-convict. who jumped bail in the UK, disguised as a woman to evade British officials for money laundering charges was granted Presidential pardon by Jonathan, ostensibly, to pave way for him to contest for the Senate in 2015. His posters has since surfaced in Bayelsa with a slogan: “Pardoned to serve.” To this extent, the Nigerian Senate has been desecrated.
Corrupt ex-governors seeking political relevance by thronging to the Senate calls for some concern. Second term governors aspiring to be senators in 2015, must be borne out of a genuine desire to serve the people of their senatorial district.
For those whose tenures as governors can even be described as successful find it difficult to replicate that success in the Senate. They simply go into oblivion as soon as they realise that they no longer call the shots, but are part of a wider debate in the Senate. Their inputs were implemented with little or no delibration when they were governors. They lose motivation overtime to make meaningful contribution on the floor. It is therefore abundantly clear that their presence in the National Assembly is not to serve the people but their rapacious tendencies. If former governors, with the huge resources they controlled in their states could not make any meaningful impact, why should we expect miracles from them when they get to the hallowed chambers of the Senate?
A former Senatorial candidate in the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Kayode Ajulo believes “majority of senators perform below our expectation. It has gradually turned into a retirees forum where the qualification is that you must be retired or sacked, and in the absence of the next thing to do, you pick your party’s ticket and move to Senate, this shouldn’t be the case. The senate is supposed to be the heartbeat of a dynamic and people’s legislature. Everywhere in the world, the Senate is the totem of parliamentary democracy; that is why it is called upper legislative house.”
This, undoubtedly, has rubbed the Senate of its vibrancy and robust legislature, needed to move the country forward.
Theophilus Ilevbare ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria