The term democracy is derived from two Greek words demo and krations which means people’s rule. In ancient Greece, every adult male citizen participated in the process of reaching decisions for the governance of the community. The practice then was called direct democracy which implied that every adult male citizen must be physically present to participate in taking decisions over things that affected him and his community.
But over the years human race has increased in population and modern societies larger and more complex than the societies in the ancient Greece, and therefore it will be cumbersome to practice direct democracy. It is for this reason that modern societies, including Nigeria, have settled for representative democracy as an acceptable arrangement where the people elect some persons in a periodic, free and fair election to represent them in government.
The beauty of democracy is that those holding political offices can be challenged and displaced in accordance with the will of the people through a wide range of institutional mechanisms. Political offices are not chieftaincy stools where the occupants have life-long tenure.
For advanced democracies you would appreciate how elected representatives apply themselves to the work they were elected to do so as to sustain the confidence reposed in them by the electorate. They consider it as a mark of honour to be chosen by their fellow compatriots to initiate and implement policies and programmes that will bring about dividends of democracy for their common good.
But in developing nations, particularly in Nigeria, politicians see public office as a goldmine. They hoodwink the people with mouth-watering promises during electioneering campaigns and turn their back on them as soon as they find themselves at the corridor of power.
Nobody can gainsay the fact that Nigeria is blessed with natural and human resources. But a situation where celebrated thieves and rabble-rousers steer the ship of state is not acceptable.
The problem of Nigeria as an independent nation is centred on leadership. Nigeria has continued to suffer from the misfortune of having leaders that place their personal interest high and above the collective interest of the generality of the people.
Public utilities and institutions are collapsing by the day while those that have been entrusted with the resources of this nation are feeding fat from the commonwealth. For this country to move forward the leadership must be prepared to purge itself of corrupt elements. This, the leadership cannot achieve by mere official pronouncements. Rather, deliberate actions should be taken to ensure the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people.
It is against this backdrop that the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi kick-started his administration by appointing Hon. Magnus Abe as Secretary to the State government (now Senator representing Rivers South-East). Chief Nyesom Wike as Chief of Staff, Government House (now Minister of State for Education) and Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke as Director of Press Affairs to the Governor, (now member, representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency at the National Assembly). Six months later, Hon Nwuke was elevated as Commissioner for Information when the governor constituted his cabinet. He also served as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry where he later resigned to seek his people’s mandate to represent them at the National Assembly.
Before he was invited to serve in Governor Amaechi’s government, Hon. Nwuke had carved a niche for himself as a consummate journalist both in the electronic and print media. He worked in Radio Rivers for many years, churning out well-researched and incisive commentaries that received the commendation of the public in the 1980s. He founded the Port Harcourt Telegraph in 1999 and nurtured the Newspaper to become one of the leading tabloids in the Niger Delta region.
Ogbo as he is fondly called is also a social critic. He would bare his mind on topical issues and stand on the side of the voiceless majority. When he decided to join partisan politics some people felt he would compromise himself by doing those things he copiously condemned in his write-ups, because it is widely believed that decency and selflessness are not the attributes of a Nigerian politician. Moreso, social crities more often than not merely propagate theories that are not easily implementable.
Again some of them that were privileged to occupy public offices did not fare better. They were myopic and failed to realize that it takes a team to win a tournament. Probably they would have performed creditably in a civilized clime where people work assiduously to leave enduring legacies.
However, Hon. Nwuke proved skeptics wrong when he gathered his people on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 to appreciate them for their goodwill. On that occasion he empowered 150 persons from his constituency by awarding scholarships as well as presenting motorcycles and vehicle to them.
The ceremony which took place at Okehi, the headquarters of Etche Local Government Area was attended by political stalwarts, traditional rulers, students, youths etc.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hon. Nwuke thanked the people for giving him the mandate to represent them at the National Assembly, saying “we have come to give back a little in appreciation of your goodwill”.
He emphasised the importance of education to human development, stressing that the best way to show love to a child was to send him or her to school to acquire knowledge to live a meaningful life.
He said that he had instituted a scholarship scheme for 20 students from his constituency in higher institutions of learning, pointing out that each of the beneficiaries would receive N100,000 annually for a period of four years.
The law-maker stated that he had earmarked the sum of N8 million for the scholarship scheme and advised the beneficiaries to take the studies seriously.
He also warned that he would not hesitate to withdraw the scholarship award from anyone that failed to measure up in his or her educational pursuit.
Hon. Nwuke noted that 129 Motorcyclies would been distributed to widows, ward chairmen and secretaries of his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other members of his constituency to aid them in their daily pursuits, adding that the Lexus Jeep was for the Etche PDP Secretary, Mr. George Nwanjoku.
He assured that he would give out 100 motorcyeles every year to members of his constituency as their representative at the National Assembly.
It is interesting to note that all those who benefitted from the scholarship scheme are indigent students.
According to the chairman of Proud To Be Etche (PTE), the group that conducted the screening exercise, Hon. Nwuke did not interfere in the selection process.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Queen Nwala expressed gratitude to Hon. Nwuke for his magnanimity.
What Hon. Nwuke has demonstrated by this singular act is that leadership entails responsibility. A good leader must embark on programmes that will positively affect the lives of his people to sustain their loyalty and support. Therefore, those who are of the opinion that Hon. Nwuke has done well should say aye, while those who have a contrary opinion should say nay.
The ayes have it.
APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request
The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn.
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.
A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law
Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.
NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System
Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed.
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers.
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
“Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat.
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc.
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