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Oshiomhole : A Propagandist Or Realist?

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As a stakeholder in the Edo State chapter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and in strengthening political records of facts, I can say this very irrevocably, that the atmosphere is peaceful and the security of lives and property is not in anyway undermined or in jeopardy as previously reported in the past, by some Action Congress propagandists.

Without mincing words I sincerely appreciate the media for their good job especially our local magazines, newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and the online media, I salute you all for your courage, doggedness, resilience and the watchdog role you have been playing in unraveling the current situations in Edo State. Although, Action Congress has used all sort of tactics to overheat the polity in Edo State but the leadership of our party has successfully put the situation under control. It was obvious that Action Congress through the unguided statements of their Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has been using all sorts of strategies to undermine peace in the state through the campaign of calumny he is using his most prestigious office to exhibit against PDP and other existing parties in the state.

I have decided not to speak since 2007 when I was a card carrying member of Action Congress and also an aspirant under the same platform, the atrocities in Action Congress and the circumstances that precipitated me to cross-carpet to PDP; but now I have decided to break my silence and tell the entire world what Adams Oshimhole did to me and some other progressives and core democrats in Action Congress who left angrily due to massive anti-democratic dispositions of Oshiomhole during those period despite all the fortunes we committed to keep the party afloat. Then the party was called Advanced Congress of Democrats, ACD later we all resolved to give it another face which eventually brought about the name Action Congress, AC. Two weeks to our primary election to determine who our gubernatorial candidate will be in AC, we just heard that Oshiomhole has left Labour Party and having been adopted as their sole candidate (in LP), he came with his unscrupulous element to rig the primaries, as a matter of fact, there was no primary held in my ward and all other wards, it was a clear case of selection which was purely undemocratic in a democratic setting. Since we could no longer bear the gross atrocities expended on us with impunity by anti-democratic forces under his control, we decided to decamp to different political parties, I, Jacob Igietsime Idinye, after several consultations with my teeming supporters and political mentors I decamped to PDP.

Laughable as the current situation has presented itself, Oshiohmole said he is a democrat and that he is practicing fairness and transparency in governance, but he was moving from Accord, ANPP, Labour and now AC, no one knows his next political party of interest. Out of his anti-democratic tendencies he made Dr Samson Ifalana Isibor, the Edo State Chairman of the Coalition of Registered Political Parties (CRPP)  to suffer hell. CRPP chairman has been a torn on the flesh for the Governor Adams Oshiomhole-led administration in the state. Isibor was consequently arrested last month by the police in Edo State over alleged defamatory statements against the person of the governor of the state. He was referred to as an impostor and the mouthpiece of the Edo  State PDP, but Isibor insisted that his group of 25 political parties is on ground to check the administration and insisted that nothing has changed in the state so far. For clarity some of the comments that got Isibor into Oshiomhole’s problems are:

‘‘Apart from what Osunbor did, Oshiomhole has not done anything in Edo State. Oshiomhole’s achievement is noise making. All the promises he made to the people, none has been achieved. I have not seen anything he has done and unless he performs, we will not change our posture towards him. Is it beautification, poor masses will eat? What changes? Demolishing poor man’s buildings, shops, is that changes? People are roaming about doing nothing. Is it to only plant flowers? There are no changes, just propaganda. He hasn’t done anything and everyone knows that. It’s true he is paying salaries regularly but what would you say of his new tax regime. He is putting more burdens on the people. He has not done anything. He promised to employ but how many people has he employed. The 100 people he claimed to have employed, where are they? We have not seen them collect any salary. Even the committees set up like Forestry Committee has not been paid. Up till now NUT (Nigeria Union of Teachers) are on strike. He hasn’t done anything. Once he starts working, we will praise him to high heavens.’’

The question now is, does it mean that Oshiomhole does not want criticism in his Government? Is Fashola not getting criticism in Lagos, is Gbenga Daniel not getting or His Excellency Umaru Yar’Adua not getting barrage of criticisms by the day how many people has he incarcerated?

He was casting aspersion on the elders of Edo State, as well as political pillars, treating them with disdain and calling them names, this is obviously not portraying what he claims to be. Politics does not say we should not respect our tradition and culture, politics does not say we should treat our traditional rulers with uncivilised manners and politics does not say we should win people to our caucuses by all means through the use of force and other intimidating steps.

Oshiomhole should stop his propaganda politics, this is far from trade unionism, and he needs to be cautious. Meanwhile our Party State Chairman Dan Orbih, has subsequently presented in full public glare the elected councillors from eight local councils of the state who said they remained members of the party, contrary to Oshiohmole’s initial claims, and that they never at any time defected to the AC under the Forum of Edo Councillors, the councillors said they remained committed to ideals of PDP and its resolve to reclaim the state in the next general elections. It would be recalled that some of the elected councillors from Akoko-Edo, Oredo, Estako-East, Igueben, Ikpoba Okha, Egor and Uhunmwode local councils of the state, were all hailed by Orbih, who equally appreciated them for their commitment and loyalty to the party, even as he read a commendation letter from the National Working Committee of the party to them.

I also identified myself with our party leadership to congratulate all our elected councillors who show that they remain members of PDP. What happened at the stadium some Saturdays back in the instance of Oshiomhole was a sheer show of shame. Let us play politics based on honesty. Let us play politics where people will speak the truth, we don’t have any cause to lie that the people who left that Saturday are members of the PDP. They have signed papers; they have addressed letters to the PDP affirming their membership of the party. They have also assured the party that they don’t have any cause to leave; more-so I can say very irrevocably that the Action Congress which is in Government in Edo State today has not done well for the people. The state longed for infrastructural development instead of one man continuing to talk and there is nothing to show for one year in office. We want to send a strong message to Oshiomhole and his government that PDP is more than ever before prepared. We are hereby giving him quit notice to vacate the Government House. One year down the road, the only thing we have seen is the planting of flowers and re-asphalting of the King Square.

 Idinye was Edo State PDP Governorship aspirant.

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Opinion

Shape Of Things To Come

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In monitoring and surveillance activities, there are two abbreviations that are given priority attention, namely: STC and DEWS, which stand for Shape of Things to Come and Distant Early Warning Signs. From aviation, to health and security industries, shape of things to come and distant early warning system are taken seriously, with appropriate precautionary measures sought and put in place immediately such alert features. Whatever may be the nature of issues concerned, various activities and organisations put precautionary measures in place, and people given some orientation on how to respond to alert.
The Tide, Friday, January 7, 2022, Opinion: Page 9, “That Buhari’s Interview”, by Calista Ezeaku, contained more information than an average reader would grasp. A President’s interview with a television house is obviously not a domestic affair, hence there was a detection and comment about “a close-minded approach to serious national issues”. It was not enough also that someone would say: “From the economy, to insecurity, killings of innocent farmers by terrorists … and other sundry issues, President Buhari honoured his calling as a president who has nothing new to offer”.
It is needful to add that the task of managing affairs that affect millions of people demands that when such a manager has nothing new to offer, what would follow should be an honourable resignation from the task. With regards to the tenure and performance of Buhari, distant early warning signals had long been ignored, denied or distorted, such that one man’s interests can override and become more important than those of millions of people who must bear the brunts of political amnesia.
Management failures do not always arise from wrong decisions and policies, but more often from the intrigues and shenanigans hatched and padded into a management system by a cabal or sapiental authority are not answerable to the masses but always cause great harms for which they are rarely held accountable, nor would the big boss have the courage to dismiss or detach himself from such political parasites. The result of this system of political administration is the installation of weak institutions and structures.
This is why a public analyst would observe and say that “all the abuses of powers by the governors are possible because of the flawed electoral system in the country”. From the refusal to allow for a state police as a complement to the federal police, to the lethargy involved in introducing a fraud-free electoral process, there are parallel forces in government that would not allow leakages and flaws in the system to be closed or checked effectively.
When “administrative banditry” becomes institutionalised, the result would be the situation which we experience currently in Nigeria. Since this anomalous situation had been going on, long enough for more and more Nigerians to know the tricks, it would not be hard to predict the nature of mass reaction to the malpractices. Especially when each federating unit which should be independent and able to have state police and manage indigenous resources cannot be allowed to do so, it is easy to see the shape of things to come in the near future.
For the information of obtuse members of the Nigerian ruling elite and the groups or institutions that shield and protect them in their malpractices, there are glaring signals that the Nigerian masses are wiser now. Even if new tricks are introduced to create a semblance of change from the old system, that would not be enough to avert the shape of things to come. There was a distant early warning signal that the movement of cattle and herders Southwards was a ploy to pursue some hidden agenda.
To quote Mrs Ezeaku again: “It is also worrisome that in this age, the president still believes that establishment of grazing routes would solve the persistent problem of farmers-herders clashes in the country”. Rather than admit that there was a definite hostility against farming communities in Southern parts of Nigeria by herdsmen, President Buhari told American audience that the issue was a cultural one, rather than acts of terrorism. Check all the antics and shenanigans, from Ruga to the guest for allocation of land and huge donations to patrons of cattle business in Nigeria by the federal government, it is easy for anyone to see and read the “handwriting on the wall”.
To have a mindset that all Nigerians can be fooled and bamboozled all the time, would be to cultivate “a close-minded approach to serious national issues. The worsening state of insecurity in Nigeria requires a more broad-minded approach to address the challenge. Not a few Nigerians suspect a possible re-enactment of the Afghan/Taliban experience in Nigeria, whereby a section of our security forces can be described as complicit. General T. Y. Danjuma raised such alarm long ago.
Recently, a Nigerian professor was quoted as picking holes with the observance of New Year on the ground that it is associated with Christian calendar. The idea is that since Islam has a different calendar and new year, the Julian Calendar introduced in 46 B.C. by Julius Caesar, with 365 days in the year, should cease to be. The other alternative would be to recognise and observe the Islamic calendar alongside. Already, there is a similar move to make Friday a work-free day, like Sunday.
There are a few zealots and fanatics carrying these issues too far, to the extent of sponsoring terrorism as an act of proselytism, with recognition and implementation of Sharia law as a mission. This is where the influence of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) needs to be examined, to ensure that democracy and secularism are not placed in jeopardy.
There are glaring pitfalls which Nigeria must strive to avoid, if the nation must survive current challenges. There is a need to re-organise the security and intelligence organs of the nation, revisit the issue of the true federalism and ensure that no ethnic group or power block boasts of being Born to Rule. There is more to the glib talks about corruption than what we put emphases on. To allow current imbalances and inequities to continue would be chaotic!

By: Bright Amirize
Dr Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

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As Marwa Reinvents NDLEA…

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About five weeks after assuming office, precisely on February 23, 2021, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), paid a courtesy visit to the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
During the visit, Governor Wike was reported to have assured Marwa of his government’s readiness to work with the NDLEA to establish a drug rehabilitation centre in the state. According to him, if concerted efforts were made toward achieving a reduction in the level of illicit drug intake in society, there was the possibility that crime rate would reduce.
“It’s most unfortunate that people think that fighting crime is only when you fight bandits and kidnappers. But nobody wants to understand the root cause of most of these crimes,” Wike said.
The governor, while pointing out the need for every responsible government to readily support the agency in its fight against the illicit drugs menace in Nigeria, also thanked the NDLEA boss for making Rivers State his first port of call. And not only did he promise to collaborate on a rehab centre development in the state, it was also reported that Wike ordered an immediate release of three brand new Toyota Hilux vans to the anti-narcotics agency. This, he said, was to enhance the operational capacity of the state command of NDLEA.
Speaking earlier, Marwa was said to have referenced the report of a drug survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which placed Rivers State at 14th position with 15 per cent prevalence rate in the country; whereas Lagos had 33 per cent.
After serving as military governor of Lagos State during the regime of late General Sani Abacha, Marwa had remained largely off the radar with regard to social and political events in the country. But what Nigerians are most likely to credit him with is that he governed Lagos with a human face, especially during those turbulent years of Abacha versus the radical pro-democracy group, NADECO; following the incarceration of Chief MKO Abiola, presumed winner of the annulled1993 presidential election.
Who will hurriedly forget those years when the then US Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, registered a regular presence at NADECO’s rallies even if to serve as a mobile embassy for the group’s chieftains who always ran to draw from his diplomatic immunity when hounded by Abacha’s secret police. Rumours had it back then that Marwa often intervened to release those eventually whisked away by the police.
Recall that Marwa had, in a 1998 radio and television broadcast, announced that some unknown persons had been trying to assassinate him. He particularly mentioned how his convoy had been the target of many bomb attacks since 1996.
It was also during Marwa’s administration that the now popular commercial tricycle made its debut in Nigeria and was referred to as ‘Keke Marwa’. It is still so called in Lagos, notwithstanding the subsequent mass importation and distribution of the dinky vehicle by the defunct National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) from which it derived the name ‘Keke NAPEP’ elsewhere in the country.
With all due respect to its past chief executives, NDLEA had appeared to lose its initial vibrancy after the tenure of its first chairman, Mr Fulani Kwajafa. For decades, its narcotics seizures had hardly been of any significant sizes and street values. And this was even as peddlers and consumers of such drugs roamed our city streets undetected.
Under Marwa, the NDLEA’s almost daily exploits now form part of the major headlines on the nation’s news media. In fact, reports once had it that, less than two months after his arrival, officers and men of the agency confiscated over N60 billion worth of illicit drugs. These substances comprised mainly Cannabis sativa, methamphetamine, cocaine, tramadol and heroin. But how has the retired army general been able to turn things round for the nation’s obviously dispirited drug law enforcers?
A recent statement signed by the Agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said that Marwa had always received constant support and encouragement from President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, “the figures of our drug supply reduction activities have skyrocketed: 11,340 arrests and 1,111 convictions in 11 months. These figures are balanced by equally impressive drug demand reduction stats: 7,066 counselled and rehabilitated, all in our facilities. During the 11 months, we have successfully mopped up over 3.3 million kilogrammes of assorted drugs; away from the streets of Nigeria; away from criminals, terrorists and bandits; away from our youths…”
Another strategy being employed by the NDLEA boss is staff motivation. Earlier reports had said that a few days after he assumed duty, Marwa had promised to constitute a committee to look into cases of ranks stagnation, non-promotion and other demoralising issues bedeviling the Agency. Today, according to Babafemi’s release, ranks have been harmonised with the promotion of 3,506 officers and men, while a case is being advanced for a new salary structure to equate with similar agencies. The staff welfare scheme has been expanded to include functional insurance policy and burial entitlements to families of officers lost in the line of duty.
Also, the organisation has doubled its workforce under the present chief executive; including the institution of bimonthly performance awards. And this is in addition to a promise of building barracks for staff in the new year.
In furtherance of the Operation Offensive Action which he initiated on arrival, Marwa was recently reported to have led a team of his senior officers on an advocacy visit to the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. General Lucky Irabor, and the other service chiefs at the Defence Headquarters, during which he solicited the military’s support.
“There is no doubt that illicit drugs fuel and enhance criminalities, hence the need for more collaboration; a partnership that is mutually beneficial because when the problem of drugs is taken out of the security challenge equation, the military will have less to do in tackling terrorism, banditry and kidnapping,” Marwa said.

By: Ibelema Jumbo

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Opinion

Resolutions: Figments Of Emotions

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No doubt, New Year resolution has been a regular phenomenon and an integral aspect of activities to herald the dawn of a new year. It has become a norm for people to see the eve of a new year as a veritable platform to take a retrospect of their socio-economic, political, spiritual, academic and inter-personal activities of the preceding year, introspect into how to live and what to achieve in the future.
The beginning of every year is time to also make new promise(s), and dream new dream of life. It is a time to mend broken relationship, soothe frayed nerves and also chart a progressive course of action.
For many, the resolution provides a premise for a new beginning, a paradigm shift from the old unfavourable order and a marked departure from the ugly incidences that characterised the preceding year.
To others, it is a period of stock taking, sober reflection and articulating plans for the year.
However, while both schools of thought have valid reasons towards their perspective on resolution, New Year resolutions are far beyond mere wishes which anybody has the liberty to make even unguidedly. Resolutions will translate to exercise in futility if reasonable commitment is not made to convert such verbal expressions into a concrete reality. There is need for those who make resolutions to also muster the commensurate will to walk the talk. The apparent lack of will-power explains why some people are caught in the web of the litany of repetition. Such people say the same thing every year because previous goal was not met.
It is pertinent to state that according to Isaac Newton’s Law of Motion, everything is at a state of rest until something makes it to move.
Therefore, motion is the response of matter to force. Consequently, even resolution which may be described as a mental picture is at a state of ‘rest’. Resolution must be made to ‘move’. The person that made the resolution has the capacity to make it move or work. The reason is not far-fetched. Resolution is a function of thought. And, according to Emerson, thought is the ancestor and seat of action. It is the soul of the act.
This simply implies that every thought or idea whether positive or negative, has a possibility of being fulfilled.
I agree, therefore with Napoleon Hill, in one of his bestselling books, Think And Grow Rich, that whatever the human mind conceives, it can achieve. In my considered view the human mind is the most critical asset for human development. Little wonder, the Book of Books – the Bible – says “As a man thinks in his heart so he is”. Nobody grows above the dictate of his or her mindset. Every Creation of man is a function of an effective and progressive mindset.
Conversely, resolutions are like dreams, phantoms and attempts to build castles in the air, if goals are not set, to drive such resolution. Goal setting and resolution making must be an inseparable pair, going hand-in-glove and pari passu.
Hellen Keller, a woman who became blind few months after her birth as a result of wrong eye medication, understood that success in life is essentially a function of goal setting and vision. When Keller was asked what would be the worst thing that would happen to a person, she did not mince words nor give a deep thought to volunteer an answer. Her response identifies the bane of failure of many dreams, resolutions and aspirations.
What was the answer? To have ‘sight without vision’, Keller said is the worst thing that would happen to a person.
Lack of vision’ to drive resolution, to my dispassionate mind, is a cause of dashed hopes and failed plans.
Without saying a new thing, vision is a mental picture of a preferred destination birthed by passion. But vision cannot stand alone. It needs passion also to work effectively. Vision and passion, like goal setting and resolution, are also an inseparable pair, like the snail and its shell. Separate them, each will languish for want of the other.
Vision without passion is a truncated journey of life. Passion drives vision and goal setting. Where there is a vision and well-articulated goal setting without a commensurate passion, such goal or resolution cannot work.
It is not gainsaying the fact that resolutions are functions of decision; however, the effectiveness of decision is measured by its implementation. So many decisions made at the verge of a new year were not enforced or carried out.
Then of what use are resolutions if they are not implemented. Resolutions are litmus test of integrity. A person who says what he cannot keep or said what he never meant has a dent on credibility.
Without losing sight of the fact that there are circumstances beyond human control so much so that if and when a promise or decision is made concerning a matter, it is outside the power of a man to achieve such plan, resolutions are not pies that are meant to be broken contrary to what argument lesser minds advance to justify their inability to achieve target and fulfill promise.
Consequently, to achieve resolution, plan or goal for the year, the God factor comes to play in this area, knowing that humans are limited in capacity to actualise their goals without God. Jesus rightly said “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15). Correspondingly, Paul writing to the Phillipians’ Church said: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The summary of it is that while Resolutions, Vision, Goal setting are germane and essential ingredients for success, making reasonable commitments to make them happen through faith in Jesus and due diligence are absolutely necessary tools to drive a fulfilled resolution.
Nothing happens unless you or a superior being make it to happen. Life has never been fair to anybody, people get out of life what they want to get.
The year 2022 has just begun, it is still fresh and promising but only those who know what they want to achieve and pursue it, the odds notwithstanding, will count their blessing at the end.
Methinks that everyone that has made a resolution is an enlightened mind who knows what the implications are; in relation to social responsibility, individual development and God, let those, therefore, make efforts to achieve them.
Eleven months from now, every one that has made a resolution will stand in the court of conscience to answer for themselves, if they actually achieved their goal. “How time flies”, they say. Therefore, the time to act is now. There is no tomorrow but today. Today well lived, makes a better tomorrow; a tomorrow to be reckoned with.

By: Igbiki Benibo

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