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Amaechi, Politician Or Patriot? An Expert Analysis By A Development Economist

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No doubt, the occasion of the 42nd Anniversary of the creation of Rivers State requires not merely an appraisal of the past, challenges of the present and projections into the future, it also requires a critical probe of the person on the driving seat of governance.
This becomes even more imperative when viewed from the circumstances of his ascendancy to power as Governor of Rivers State viz a viz his early pronouncements on the policy direction of the administration.
Yet less than two years in office, but conscious of the fact that the age now attained by the state requires more than the dangerous gambles of a political adventurer, one expects that Gov Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi appreciates or should appreciate not just the enormity of the task before him but indeed the urgency that addressing the many crucial needs require.
It is in this light that this writer wishes to probe into Amaechi’s immediate past few months, to know if actions thus far taken make him a politician or a statesman. To do this, let us quickly capture in what moral garbs each is clothed, the key distinguishing features being that while timid and interested politicians think much more about the security of their seats, the statesman think about not just the security of his state and country but also plans for the next generation, as enthused by Thomas Babington Macaulay in a speech before the British House of commons in 1842.
Such politicians, as distinct from statesmen, play to the gallery, very easily bend to the claps and cheers of the moment and regale in the euphoria of a success coated in ephemeral illusions. Not so with the statesman who at the risk of political popularity venture into area with immediate pains but greater gains for the future.
Where does Governor Rotimi Amaechi fit in all this? What has he ventured to qualify him either as a politician or a statesman?
After an indepth look, quite a few must strike a critical mind like mine. These are re-inventing the once glorious garden city years of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and its attendant immediate pains of demolitions upon demolition; the creation of no fewer than 155 Modern Health Centres all across the state and complemented with Doctors’ and Nurses quarters; an equal number of model schools to replace the rot and decay that have for years, characterised public schools; large scale infrastructural development and most importantly the bold attempt to build a Greater Port Harcourt City. In all these attempts, can be found, in good measure, the steel determination of one, earger to make not just a difference in the lives of men, but indeed a near mortal impression into the future, all geared towards the common good of many, not a few.
However, since all other projects are visible and at various stages of completion, the one that actually must determine Amaechi’s qualification as a statesman rest in his bold decision to plan for a better Rivers State by addressing the vexed one-city status of the state. In this, does this critic found enough reason for qualification as a statesman and not a politician easily given to the praise of the moment.
Perhaps the accruing benefits and other supporting efforts at leaving behind a more secure and prosperous Rivers State will help make the point even better.
The Greater Port Harcourt City, when, completed will impact positively on the lives of the people of Rivers State in a lot of plausible ways. Let me quickly list a few from the standpoint of a Development Economist and not an Engineer, my first love. It will, among others: Reduce the congestion in the premier Port Harcourt city.
It must be understood that whenever the designed traffic capacity of a road has been exceeded, there is no magic which either traffic wardens or the road marshals could perform to stop the build-up of hold-ups. This fact is evident on our Port Harcourt roads, many of which were designed for fewer vehicles by our erstwhile colonial masters in the 1950s. Past expansions or the widenings of these old roads have also long exceeded their R.O. Ws (Right Of Ways), but regrettably, not all the equally old houses on both sides of the roads can be destroyed for meaningful road construction. The only rational solution to the congestion problem therefore, is the expansion of the premier Port Harcourt city, much like the Greater London, Greater Paris and West Jerusalem, as distinct from the premier East Jerusalem (the old city) to name just a few. Also. a room or a flat meant for a family of two or three people are often overcrowded by squatters or extended families. This . type of congestion is not limited to houses in the Waterfronts and Diobu areas, instead, it’s observed all over the premier Port Harcourt city. Thus, the idea of Greater Port Harcourt is visionary, and we should salute the boldness of Gov. Amaechi.
Create shelter for the ever-increasing population of the premier city
As we all know, increase in Port Harcourt-city population is mainly from three areas – influx of job seekers from the whole Nigerian federation, rural urban drifts, and increase in crude birth rates because of better medicare. If the Greater Port Harcourt could be delivered with affordable homes, then, the people of the State would have less worry and devote more of their time and resources to production activities. Thus, the Greater Port Harcourt is likely to promote economic growth.
Provide healthy and modern living environment
Happily, since Rivers State government is working out a scheme whereby the indigenes of the state are given preference or assisted to buy greater percentage of the houses in the Greater Port Harcourt, then the premier Port Harcourt city could be de-congested, and this would lead to improvement in the health conditions of the people, otherwise, the status quo would remain the same. How the Rivers State government handles the post-construction phase of the new city would to a very large extent also determine it’s usefulness to the people.
Our investigation shows that well over 50% of the houses Gov. Odili’s administration built are owned and occupied by non-indigenes of Rivers State.
We trust that Gov Amaechi will not toe such path but excel, by first pleasing the people of the state.
Create modern infrastructure
The Greater Port Harcourt with wide good roads complete with shoulders and drainage systems would appreciably reduce traffic hold-up and flash flood problems, among others. Also, networks of pipe borne water and electricity would service residential homes, companies, and the public. The unnecessary expenses borne in sinking water boreholes and buying of generators by private individuals and corporate bodies would be things of the past, besides, stand-bys and delays which companies suffer due to power outages would be drastically reduced. All these would have positive impact on the state’s economy and so raise the standard of living of the people.
‘Attract potential investors to the state
Potential investors both from Nigeria and the rest of the world would be attracted to the Greater Port Harcourt, replete with modern amenities and open spaces. Such a salutary development would give the state a new economic footing in the down-stream oil sector other than the present up-stream activities of exploitation of the crude oil and selling it cheaply through exports. Encouraged by uninterrupted water and power supplies, down-stream oil sector companies (companies that use the crude oil as raw material to manufacture other products would mushroom in the new city because of the availability of oil in Rivers State. The GDP of the state and indeed that of the Nigerian federation will surely increase.
Create employment opportunities
Thousands of jobs would be created for the unemployed, besides the technological diffusion the constructions of the new city would have on our workers.
Shows good leadership and commitment to service
Gov. Amaechi has demonstrated a high level of leadership and commitment to service through his relentless efforts in many areas. We have not had it so good in any previous administrations.
What then is my analysis of the security situation in the state today viz-a-viz what obtained in the eight-or-so years, before Amaechi since no meaningful development can take place without real peace, not that of the grave yard?
Gov. Amaechi’s zero tolerance to militancy and youth restiveness in Rivers State, more especially in Port Harcourt metropolis, will help the economy grow. This is because the inherent profit motives of private individuals that trigger off economic activities which in turn create wealth in any mixed economy, as ours, strives and strifes, paraphrasing Adam Smith’s 1776 time-tested and the honoured economic theory. In contrast, the enthronement of youth restiveness and its sustenance throughout the two terms of former Gov. Odili’s administration, and without once thinking of the negative effects, such would have on the economy presented the regime as an example of a as a politician, and the cruel type; for, while politicians think of the next election, statesmen think of the next generation – James Freeman Clerke.
Amaechi is indeed thinking of the next generation because it is now abundantly clear to all that he knows, “An ounce of experience is weightier than a pound of knowledge. “Who can forget so soon the kind of hell in the eight years of Gov Odili. This is why many, like me believe that Gov Amaechi is just the answer to our problems as evidenced from his track records especially the discretion to build the Greater Port Harcourt City.

Dr Wakama is also a Civil Engineer and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trojans Eng.Nig Limited, PH

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2023: Wike’ll Not Foist Successor – Akawor

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Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor says the Governor Nyesom Wike will not impose any successor in the state.
He gave the assurance when he appeared on a radio programme tagged “Viewpoint” in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
The PDP chairman said the process of succession would be open to all the party members and stakeholders.
In his words,” the governor has made it clear that he cannot on his own decide who is going to succeed him. He runs a collegiate system and for now the time has not come.”
With a hitch- free local government elections concluded, Akawor noted that it was a prelude of what would obtain in 2023 as the PDP will consolidate its stronghold in Rivers State.
“ We believe that in 2023 we will tell Rivers people what we have done and not what we will do. There is no local government area that the governor has not completed up to two projects,” he remarked.
On the alleged furore between Wike and PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, the State PDP chairman said such claims were mere insinuations and not true.
He recalled that at a recent party function Wike and Secondus were seen together, and wondered where such stories were coming from.
Besides that, Akawor was of the view that disagreements were bound to happen in politics ,but that there was no love lost among the leaders currently.
He flaked the opposition for fanning embers of disunity amongst the people through propaganda which often pointed the state in bad light and discouraged investors.
Akawor called for continued support for the present administration in the state considering the huge investment on infrastructure and other sectors to boost the economy.

By: Kevin Nengia

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PDP Berates Kogi Gov

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The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Kola Ologbondiyan, says Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State cannot point to any development project he implemented for the benefit of the people.
A statement signed by the Assistant Director (Head of Unit) Publicity Department of PDP, Richard Ihediwa, and made available to newsmen yesterday quoted Ologbondiyan as having said this during his tour of PDP formations in the state at the weekend.
He lamented that Governor  Bello had “turned Kogi into the most backward state in the country, with infrastructural decay.”
“Yahaya Bello has done absolutely nothing to merit any form of commendation,” Ologbondiyan  insisted.
He urged Bello to “utilise the resources of the people of Kogi State for their benefit, including infrastructural recovery as well as paying workers and pensioners.”
However, the state Commissioner for information, Kingsley Fanwo, while reacting to the statement, said that the state government did not need to react when his Kabba people are already pointing to the massive road constructions in his home town.
He described Ologbondiyans statement as “reckless and false” who does not deserve the luxury of response from a serious government whose own people have seen the massive works going on in that part of the state and others.
“We thank his people in Kabba for coming out to point to the recklessly false statement by Ologbondiyan.
“His party recently said they were afraid of GYB ahead of 2023. So, they have possibly started hatching their plans. Unfortunately, they have started on a wrong note,” Fanwo noted.
“Continuing, he said, “When PDP was in power in Kogi, a governor refused to put electricity in his home town. GYB did it.
“In Ologbodiyan’s Senatorial District, GYB established the best rice mill in Nigeria, apart from other infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals, water facilities and others.
“Today, over 200 communities are to be connected to the national grid in Kogi East in the next couple of months, as the project has reached 95 percent completion.
“Look at the massive road projects in Kabba, Omala, Olamaboro, Okene as well as healthcare infrastructure springing up everywhere.
“The Ganaja Junction Flyover is emerging into a masterpiece. We sympathise with Kola Ologbondiyan and his sinking party.
“Yahaya Bello has done and also doing what their parties failed to do over the years.”

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Soludo: ‘INEC Must Redeem Self’

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The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has urged the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to redeem itself and recognise  ‘legitimate’ candidates of the party in the November 6 governorship election.
National Chairman of the party, Mr Victor Oye , who made the call on Saturday while briefing newsmen in Abuja  said that there was only one APGA,  which was led by him, with Labaran Maku as National Secretary.
The Tide reports that INEC had originally received  the names of Chukwuma Soludo and his running mate, Mr Onyekachi Ibezim as candidates of APGA.
However, citing a court ruling, the electoral umpire dropped the names and replaced them with Chukwuma Umeoji and Obiageli Orogbu as the new candidates of APGA.
Reacting to the development, the APGA national chairman faulted the action of INEC in  recognising an illegal body and illegal candidates.
He said that the party was one, had no faction and its leadership which came on board in May 2019 was the legitimate body of APGA at the national level.
“Our leadership was duly elected on May 31, 2019, in a well organised national convention in Awka, and  attended by all the organs of the party expected to be at the convention.
“On the roll, we have 608 members of NEC but what you saw on June 25 was a contraction, they gathered men and women from the streets not up to 50 and they called it NEC meeting .
“Again, what INEC did, we were the first political party that uploaded the particulars of our governorship candidate and deputy to INEC on July 2, in accordance with the electoral act.
“According to section 313, of the electoral Act 2010 as amended, INEC is expected to have published that name within seven days of uploading of those particulars but they waited till July 15, 13 days after to concoct what they did on July 16, 2021.
“For me, the only way INEC can redeem their image is to reverse itself immediately, they should not wait for one minute.
“After all, there is a court judgment from Awka that has given them a soft landing, the judgment from Awka was very clear .
“The judgment solved all the legal puzzles you could ever think of, so what is holding INEC from implementing that,” he said.
He expressed hope that INEC in its proposed meeting on Tuesday, would reverse itself and recognise the right candidates.
Oye used the opportunity to stress that there was no crisis in the party, adding that APGA remained one and united.
He described those parading as a faction of the party as mere invaders.
“The thing is that we have  invaders, they invaded our party, street urchins ‘with a master plan to destroy the party for the benefit of a particular aspirant’.
He said the aspirant in question had bought forms, attended the screening and was screened out, wrote a petition which was dismissed before resorting to forming a phantom group which he called the opposition of APGA.
“APGA has no other national chairman and no other national leadership except the one led by me as national chairman and his Mr Labaran Maku as the National Secretary.
“No other faction so to speak has the right, constitutional, legal or legitimate right to speak for our party.
“So the truth of the matter is that, out party is waxing stronger and stronger despite the distractions because the whole essence of what is happening is to distract us from focusing on victory in Anambra.
“They know that a united and undistracted APGA will win the election massively, they knew what happened in 2017 so they are afraid it will be  repeated in 2021,” he said.
The APGA chairman, however, stressed that the party was taking due steps to ensure the right thing was done by INEC.
He said  the party under his leadership had served INEC the court order which he noted that the commission had minuted to the relevant quarters.
“We have also written the Chairman of INEC, drawing his attention, calling all the legal odysseys, we had embarked upon from 2019 till date.
“Do not forget that we have a subsisting court judgment flowing from the Anambra Judiciary Awka division,” he said.
“The judgment was given in November 2019, giving the legality to the national convention conducted by our party that the convention that produced us as national officers of the
party, held on May 31, 2019.
“Why did INEC not bank on that judgment to publish the names of our candidates, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and his deputy Dr Onyeakachi Ibezim.
“Why should INEC consider a judgment from Birnin Kudu Jigawa, 9,046 kilo meters from Akwa.
“That judgment did not say anything about me, the judgment was talking about Edozie Njoku. So the court sacked Edozie Njoku, it did not sack me. Edozie Njoku has never been the national chairman of APGA .
“There was a court order from Federal High court Awka, directing INEC to maintain the status quo and publish Soludo’s name as given to it on July 2, 2021 but INEC did not obey that court order.
“We served INEC the court judgment from Awka on November 2020, it did not obey it. INEC must do the right thing and publish the names of  legitimate candidates of the party,” he said.

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