Some Nigerians yesterday commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his endorsement of a National Conference.
Our correspondent reports that President Goodluck Jonathan announced the approval of a National Conference yesterday while addressing the nation on the country’s 53rd independence anniversary.
The President said that a committee on the National Conference was being set up.
Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yussuf, said it was a good development.
“It will give Nigerians the opportunity to talk and this is another expression of the fact that our democracy is getting stronger.
“Freedom to discuss on how we live together is a good development, but what is more important for our country at this time is good leadership,” Yusuf said.
A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa, commended the President for the initiative, adding that it must be geared towards meeting genuine aspirations of the people.
“What Nigerians are yearning for is a conference that will see to the resolution of the fundamental problems of our nation.
“The Federal Government must confer with civil society organisations and various other entities and get their various representatives to form consultative committee to pilot the birth of this National Conference.
“Nigerians should be involved. We have gone through this road before and we didn’t get anywhere.
“I believe we should be saved from that scenario, it should be a fruitful conference,” Olu-Adegboruwa said.
The National Coordinator, Publish What You Pay, Mrs Faith Nwadishi, said that it was a welcome idea, but advised that decisions taken at the conference should be implemented.
”It is now time for people to elect those that will represent them at the conference, we shouldn’t just sit back if we want our objectives to be met,” she said.
In Enugu, the Executive Director of the African Heritage Institution (AHI), Dr Ifediora Amobi, also commended the President for hearkening to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
According to him, this is the first time a President will appreciate Nigerians from all walks of life for their support in spite of the numerous challenges facing the country.
“It was a reassuring and promising speech. It shows that he is really concerned about the plight and needs of the people.
“The setting up of the committee is quite a surprisingly welcome development. This is something we do not hear often, rather we hear of all the things government has done,’’ he said.
Amobi, who is also marking his 53rd birthday with the country, however, advised the President to ensure that the committee comprised credible people from the public and private sectors.
The Director-General of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Mr Emeka Okereke, expressed optimism that the effort would provide the needed space to reshape the country.
“It is a welcome development as long as it will provide the needed tools to retool and rework Nigeria,’’ he said.
The National President of Nigeria Association of Women Entrepreneurs (NAWE), Princess Ada Ozongwu, also commended the president for setting up the committee, and called for inclusion of women in the committee.
“I have always felt there is a need for us to sit and talk about issues that affect us. The President is putting a right foot forward by setting up a committee.
“He should go the extra mile to ensure that the women take their pride of place in terms of numerical strength in that committee.
“They should be women who will make solid contributions that will benefit us,’’ she said.
A lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Dr Ukoha Ukiwo , said that the Federal Government’s decision was a victory for Nigerians.
He said government’s decision was an indication that it was listening to yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
‘’ In retrospect, government has admitted that the existing institutions for representation that we have seem not to be truly representing the interest of Nigerians and that Nigerians need another vehicle.
‘’ Also, the existing mechanisms that we have, the national, state and local assemblies, seem unable to address some fundamental issues that need to be tabled within the platform of the National Conference,’’ he said.
Ukiwo, however, said it might be too early to jump into conclusion on what the committee’s recommendations on the proposed conference would look like.
He said the political reform conference convened by the Federal Government in 2005 ended without achieving any tangle objective.
‘’ I think that, in as much as we acknowledged that government has shifted ground, we want to hope that unlike in previous dispensation, Nigerians will be allowed to go through the logical conclusions
”Kudos to government for acknowledging that need and shifting ground and beginning to think of a possibility of convening such a conference,’’ Ukiwo said
A woman leader in Akwa Ibom, Obonganwan Edith Etete, said that President Jonathan’s decision to hold a national conference was a welcome development.
Etete, who leads the yearly anniversary of the 1929 Women Riot in Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom, said that the dialogue would be an opportunity for Nigerians to discuss their problems.
‘’It is a worthwhile exercise to listen to ourselves, our challenges and the way out,’’ she said.
The 2011 gubernatorial candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Akwa Ibom, Mr David Ekanem, said that such conference was necessary in a democracy.
Ekanem said that the problem confronting the nation had always been the lack of political will to do what is right.
‘’It is not that we don’t know what our problem is; we have had several conferences in the past, what has become of them?’’
Ekanem said that the proposed national conference would afford the different ethnic and religious groups the opportunity to come out and state their grievances.
Dr Aniekan Brown, a don, advised that the proposed national dialogue should not be ‘’another time-buying device’’.
Brown, who teaches Sociology at the University of Uyo, urged the Federal Government to show commitment towards implementing the recommendations of the conference.
He prayed that God should guide Nigerians on to the right path, while wishing the country a bright future.
The Akwa Ibom State Chairman of All Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Mr Linus Udofia, expressed regret that Nigeria was still grappling with teething problems of nationhood at 53.
He called on the Federal Government to create an environment for all ethnic groups to state their problems at the envisaged national conference.
Udofia advised that the proposed national conference should be a sovereign one.
LG Boss Uncovers Bloodstained Army Uniform At ‘Cocaine Village’
The newly inaugurated Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Obarilormate Ollor, has gone to ‘Cocaine village’ at Eleme Trailer Park to execute Governor Nyesom Wike’s quit order on residents of the illegal settlement when he made a shock discovery in one of the rooms.
Ollor had visited the area notorious for drugs and crimes, last Sunday, along with some security personnel to serve the quit notice on residents but met the area deserted—an indication that someone had alerted them about the visit.
Out of curiosity, the chairman opened one of the rooms in the ghetto-like settlement, and found the bloodstained uniform of a soldier, his knife and ATM card.
The chairman and his entourage had expressed suspicion that criminals in the area had killed the owner of the uniform and robbed him.
Ollor said, “Remember that a week ago, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, gave a directive that all illegal structures be removed. As the chief security officer of the local government, I am under that obligation.
“What we are doing here today is to inform them in advance and to remind them that the ultimatum still holds. So, on or before June 26, they should move out.
“What we have here is a mixed population of criminals, armed robbers, drug dealers, and even those who allegedly trade in human parts. Right now, we just found the uniform of an Army man who probably may have been killed. His blood all over the room and uniform, his knife and ATM card, which we have given to the police.”
The Rivers State Police Command has reportedly swung into action to unravel the perpetrators of the alleged crime.
Spokesman of the police, SP Nnamdi Omoni, said that the command had received reports about criminal activities in the area, including the alleged killing of a soldier.
Omoni said, “We have gotten complaints and reports of drug traffickers, criminal elements, human organ dealers, kidnappers and more from there.
“Though we have been carrying out investigation into all of the reports but thank God, we now have a good lead and evidence.
“We have been mandated by the state government to carry out massive arrest within the environs to ensure we arrest and prosecute all those persons involved.”
Residents said that the ‘Cocaine village’ is a haven for drug dealers and users, adding that security operatives also patronize the area.
An aide of the Eleme LG chairman, who spoke off-the-record said, “The governor received an intelligence report that the slum harbours criminals and drug addicts who carry out series of crimes, human organ trafficking, abductions and many other criminal acts in the LGA and state at large.
“We learnt also that some security men troop in there off and on to buy drugs and indulge in one crime or the other.
“The military uniform stained with blood, knife and motorcycle discovered were found in one of the rooms we opened.
“The badge of the military uniform was removed and there were heavy blood stains on the uniform.
“We went there with some police men as assigned to us by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Eboka Friday”, he added.
Insecurity Hasn’t Hindered Projects’ Execution In Rivers, Wike Affirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says that his administration has fearlessly tackled insecurity headlong and created an enabling climate for smooth delivery of quality development projects.
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of 16.2-kilometre long Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor noted that while other states of the country were still struggling with issues of insecurity, Rivers State was witnessing harvest of development projects with the non-stop inauguration and flag-off ceremonies to their amazement.
“Don’t fight anybody that God has blessed. Don’t fight the state that God has blessed. People are talking about insecurity. We are talking about commissioning and flagging-off of projects. Is it easy? If it is easy, let them try it.”
Wike asserted that it is only states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like Rivers that has created a peaceful climate for the citizens while the government delivers democratic dividends.
“Those who say they don’t like what PDP is doing, they have no choice but to like it. You can see what the party (PDP) is doing. We are flagging-off and commissioning projects. Whether they like it or not, we are in charge.”
The governor said it is obvious that Rivers State is no longer on the same level with states that cannot provide dividend of democracy to their people.
Wike said the performance of his administration has restored confidence in Rivers people and they can walk with their heads raised high.
“Rivers people, are you not proud of your state? If you’re a Rivers man, anywhere you go, raise your shoulder high and say that you’re a Rivers man and woman. “They (other parties) can only jealous us, but they cannot do anything. We are of different class. We are not on the same level with them.”
Speaking further, Wike commended the member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. KelechiNwogufor his loyalty to PDP.
He also extolled him for his commitment to the welfare of Omuma people and being a trusted ally to him.
At the behest of Nwogu, Wike promised Omuma people that his administration would reconstruct the Umuakali-Eberi Road in appreciation of their support to the PDP.
Inaugurating the project, former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted how Wike has redefined governance and broken the jinx of non-performance associated with second tenure governors.
According to him, the approach to development that the governor has adopted stands him out as a much sought-after leader who should be consulted in solving critical national issues related to governance.
“With my experience in elective politics, second terms of most governors are dull; some governors will just go to sleep because they don’t have anything to offer. But you are still commissioning projects, as if you’re not even going to leave.
“Your developmental approach, your developmental plans, and formula should make you an international consultant to the failing government. Because, quite frankly, the magic, I mean, nobody knows except you. You do it with ease, you do it with happiness.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, EllokaTasie-Amadi said the Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi link road in Omuma Local Government Area was another genuine efforts of the Wike administration to ease the transportation difficulties experienced by rural dwellers in the Omuma.
“Many of these rural projects go unsung probably because the residents are not social media savvy, as in the case of Omuma, who are predominantly farmers, or probably because SM activities are not a part of their past times as it is with city dwellers.
“It may shock you to know that for every kilometre of road we have built in the city we have built 12kms or more in the rural areas. This is a conservative estimate I would like you to ponder upon when you get home.”
He further stated, “This project is a 16.2km long, 10.3m wide road project which has 4.3km of drains. The roads are marked and have a total of 27 road signs to aid driving and enhance public safety.”
Wike Flags Off Abonnema/ Obonoma Sandfilling Project, Today
All is now set for the flag-off of the Abonnema/Obonoma Sandfilling project in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, said that, “the project will sandfill 42 hectares of land that will help expand Abonnema and Obonoma Towns.
“It is in fulfilment of the promise made by Governor Nyesom Wike during the commissioning of the Abonnema Ring Road”.
The statement further added that, “The rich culture and tradition of the Kalabaris will be fully on display at the event.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event”, it stressed.
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