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Time To Stop Winner Takes All Syndrome

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Well meaning Nigerians carefully watched our
politicians as they dramatised their mealy-mouthed skill on various stages all over the country during the electioneering campaign season ostensibly to hoodwink the electorate.
Some made us to believe they are magicians who will turn the country to a Utopian State over-night. But looking at where we came from and where we are today and where we would like to be, it is obvious that there are things that will not change. There are those that actually need time to change and there are others that have developed or in the process of being developed into an agreeable norm or status those efforts are needed to work on and consolidate them. Then there are others that actually need to be changed or transformed altogether.
To tackle these problems, our leaders have a huge assignment in their hands. They must look at all these with critical appreciation and face them squarely. Examples abound where the people are promised heaven on earth by new administration but it proved to be a nightmare. And when it increasingly became difficult to effect the changes they promised they resort to seek the indulgence of previous regime elements to help improve the situation.
As Nigerians the future will hold us accountable for the actions and decisions we are taking at this critical time of political transformation. We need more rationality and less emotion otherwise we risk driving people on each other necks and sometimes on our own necks. At this time leaders are supposed to prepare the people on what they should actually expect and what it takes to achieve them.
Certainly, the two major political parties have national outlook and the appearance of competence, although the outcome of the last election showed some signs of ethnic and tribal politics. This should not be allowed to re- surface in Nigeria because we have over the years  endeavoured to stop that nonsense.
At any stage, National or State level team-work of all the other crew is very  necessary. Politics in Nigeria should no longer be a winner takes- all game.
In the words of the outgoing President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan – “The present system of winner takes all is causing problems. We should come up with, a system that ensures that when a party wins the Governorship or the Presidential at the national levels in forming cabinet the parties that did very well will also by right, by law and not by privilege or discretion of Mr. Governor or Mr. President, be meant to have a share of appointments in that government. If this is done, they will be mindful of their conducts and utterances”. Mr. President said this at the 2015 General Elections Sensitisation Workshop on Non-Violence held in Abuja on Wednesday, January 14, 2015.
A world renowned political economist and son of the soil, Late Professor Claude Ake had this to say some twenty-one years ago on this critical issue – “In Nigeria the struggle for political power is so intense that political competition escalates to a form of warfare. What causes this is the simple fact of political power being so highly valued. The more political power is valued, the more intense the struggle for it. In Nigeria where the capture of state means everything, it is naturally pursued with maniacal zeal. Those who win State power can have all the wealth they want even without working while those who lose the struggle for State power cannot have security in the wealth they have made even by hard work. The capture of State power inevitably becomes a matter of life or death. This is one reason why our politics is so intense, anarchic and violent”.
And a renowned Professor of History, Prof. Philipp Gigantes in his book – Power & Greed, described some human beings thus – “There are people who insist on breakup or circumventing society’s rules. They always want more and more and hence they disturb the social order. They are Manichaean, creators as well as destroyers. They can be compared to the dominant male in a pride of lions. The rest of the pride does all the work to get a kill, the dominant male gets the best share of the meal, all the sex and he does the serious roaring, the dominant lion has the power and he has the greed …Augustus, the first Roman Emperor acquired absolute power which led inevitably to absolute corruption”. It is obvious he was referring to Nigerian leaders.
The need to carry everybody along cannot be over emphasised. Team-work is the greatest source of power and popularity for a leader. There is no better time to start this than now. The first assignment of our new President should be to assume the role of political agent of national unification. He must rule with a truly national face. He must dare to offer the country the truth in the hope that it will have the sense to embrace him. The duty to cast coyness aside in the interest of national unity does not lie upon the President alone. But he as the leader cannot afford to be reluctant to tell the nation of its sickness and to specify his remedies.
There will be people of proven political integrity who may not belong to the same political camp with the President. Mr. President should endeavour to bring such men and women to his fold to help build a healthier and happier nation. It requires great political will to take such a decision. But it is time to set aside old bitterness and rivalries.
Many will say that such unification is impossible and that one excludes the other, but nothing is impossible in politics. The division and animosities of the past should be forgotten. It is time we forget our personal antipathies.
The writer thinks the President and the rest of our leaders must acknowledge this fact with appropriate humility and offer themselves as true nationalists pledged to move the nation forward. This can only be achieved by team-work.
The plain truth is that what is necessary now is the re-establishment of solid moral standard of behavior. As a nation, Nigeria now stands at such an advanced stage of knowledge of all kinds – Medical, Technology, Scientific, Agricultural, and Educational. What a great opportunity. Never before in history, has there been such a colossal potential for achievement or wastage. Let us use our perception, intelligence, sensitivities and nerve ending to avoid disaster and to save something true and fine for the future generation and solidify our position as Big Brother in Africa. This will also in the near future pave way for Nigeria to become a permanent member of UN Security Council.
Let us therefore learn to tolerate one another and live peacefully together like brothers and sisters and let us avoid doing things that will make us perish together as fools.
Sir Ichoku is a retired Director of Public Enlightenment, Ministry of Information, Rivers State.

 

Anthony Ichoku

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Opinion

The Tomfoolery of RIVLEAF

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There indeed seems to be no end, as far as nay sayers are concerned, in the quest to frustrate the efforts being made by the Rivers State Government to ensure that the spread of the coronavirus in Rivers State is reasonably checked.
On a daily basis, this becomes more apparent to the chagrin of genuinely concerned people of the State.
Although it is not a surprise that RIVLEAF, supposedly a pressure group has always announced itself as a purveyor of ill-contrived negative information, its latest attempt to dismiss a genuine alarm raised by the Rivers State Government regarding a foreseen build-up to a declaration of State of emergency in the State, has further exposed the membership of the organisation as persons with cowardly and sychophantic intentions.
At a time like this, when the whole world is still baffled over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not only exposed even the hitherto world super powers in all spheres of their existence, but has so made it clear that everyone must be involved in order to check the pandemic, all RIVLEAF has to offer is an attempt to discredit the world acclaimed efforts of the Rivers State

Government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike to ensure that the coronavirus does not get to the stage of Community transmission in the State.
It is indeed an irony of faith, that people who say they’re a pressure group do not actually know what it means to be a pressure group. They do not know, for instance, that one key role of a pressure group in the development of a society is to provide specialised and expert information to the government and explain government policies to the understanding and benefit of the general public. Thus they are an important link between the government and the people.
This explains their choice of caption, “Governor Wike Needs Help”, and the fact that rather than address in cogent terms the issue at stake, all they could do is to seek to raise irrelevant issues to cause rife between the President and the Governor, and with his Deputy.
What is really “funny and disturbing” about a clear statement that there is “a plan to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State? And, rather than categorically state what makes it funny and disturbing, all Onyeche Nnatah Peters could say is that Governor Wike “boasted that he was beyond the reproach of the Federal Government and, could do and undo as he so wishes”.
This statement in itself is a confirmation of the Governor’s proclamation of a plot to declare a state of emergency in the State, for reasons that have to do with Wike being seen as somebody who must be dealt with. The question is, for what reason?.
The most clear answer to this question is that from the point he started preparing to be the Governor of Rivers State, through his first tenure, and about a year into his second tenure, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had had to accept the peculiarities of Rivers State in the present State of affairs in the country, and had adjusted to the point of being able to provide good governance to Rivers people as minimally as possible in the face of unrelenting and determined efforts to frustrate him.
This is why every step of governance he has taken has turned out to be timely, and lauded in the given circumstance it is taken by all well-meaning public globally, especially as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the world knows is a new virus, hence decisions to combat it are mostly taken based on the exigencies of the moment. This is, of course, knowing the peculiarity of the virus as it relates to Nigeria, and Rivers State in healthcare delivery.
To say the least, Governor Wike has been setting the pace in steps taken to contain the coronavirus across Nigeria: amongst others, he was the first to set up an Interministarial COVID-19 Committee, the first to set up a palliatives committee, first to declare border lockdown, etc.
Even in the face of clear attempts to sabotage his efforts, Wike had been undeterred towards ensuring that the State does not get to Community transmission of the virus as is the case with some States. Beyond this determination to give good and transparent leadership to a people who understand his every step, and so are fully behind him, what else can the likes of RIVLEAF blame Wike of?
If the membership of RIVLEAF are truly of Rivers origin, and have the State at heart, they should be in a better position to appreciate the kind of development the State has recorded in the last five years.
Therefore, seeking to forment trouble where there’s none, such as between the Governor and his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, is a wasteful venture. This is because Rivers people have come to know what the interest of RIVLEAF is, and it has nothing to do with the overall interest of Rivers people.
Soibi Max-Alalibo
SA on Media to the Hon Commissioner for Information and Communications
Rivers State
May 21, 2020.
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Opinion

Dakuku Should Stop Playing To The Gallery

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Sociologists have what they call “Looking Glass Theory”. The crux of this theory is that people are prone to naming others, or something, by what they truly are, or what they have in store as experience.
For someone whose dream to be governor had been scuttled severally because of his unpopularity ,one can easily understand where Dakuku Peterside is coming from.
In his veiled attempt to be one of those who “came out openly to oppose Governor Nyesom Wike” at this point in time he exposed himself as a political toddler.
 All over the world today, well-meaning people are joining hands with their governments to check the spread of the pandemic.
Unfortunately, it is in this context that Dr Dakuku Peterside has displayed his lack of knowledge of the key ingredients of governance at crisis periods.
The need for law and order at all times, more so in crisis periods as the COVID-19 pandemic has instituted globally, compels governments  to take painful but necessary actions to save lives.
Thank God Dakuku Peterside supports “the Governor to ensure that the state is free from Coronavirus”, but how he expects this to come to fruition if people disobey directives put in place at will, raises a huge question mark.
In the light of  his latest condemnation of the Governor’s order to demolish two hotels found to have flouted a lockdown directive, Dakuku has again displayed his penchant for grandstanding.
Maybe he should learn some lessons from the role played by the  Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva who attracted Federal presence  to Bayelsa State during this period eventhough he belonged to the opposition in home State.
Dakuku’s stance in the face of an affront on an Executive Order which resulted in the demolition of two hotels in Eleme yesterday, without  considering the true circumstances that led to the demolition questions his citizenship as a Rivers son.
He should know what it means  to attack people authorised to perform legitimate duties under an  Executive Order.  Dakuku would not have declared genuine people-oriented actions by Governor Wike as “destructive” if he was well informed.
Rivers people are not foolish enough not to know that but for the stringent proactive measures put in place to check the spread of the virus by Governor Wike, the State would have entered community transmission like some other States in the Country.
Dakuku Peterside should therefore desist from the temptation of endangering the lives of the people he pontificates to care for, knowing that every act has its day of reckoning.
Soibi Max-Alalibo,
SA on Media to the Hon Commissioner
Ministry of Information and Communications
Rivers State.
May 11, 2020
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Opinion

Austin Tam-George: An Intellectual Prostitute Let Loose

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Austin Tam-George has consistently been biting the finger that fed him because he is an intellectual prostitute.
He looks for every available opportunity to lampoon Governor Nyesom Wike in order to impress his paymasters as a paid hack without conscience.
Someone like Austin Tam-George does not have the moral standing to discuss governance because his tenure as Commissioner for Information in Rivers State was a monumental failure.
A man who used his first month in office as Commissioner to throw 2O Rivers indigenes who were earning a living in the Ministry as casual workers into the unemployment market surely loves Rivers State.
Perhaps Austin Tam-George’s patriotism also led him to seize the monthly imprests meant for Departments in the Ministry.
Maybe he should explain to Rivers people and the those he is serving why a Commissioner should arm twist Heads of Parastatals under him to make monthly returns to quench his voracious appetite for money.
Was it not his kinsman in one of the parastatals that engaged him in a verbal warfare along William Jumbo Street in Port Harcourt that helped to tame his unquenchable taste for money?
His grouse with Governor Wike is because the over inflated and bogus proposals he made under the guise of upgrading the State Media Houses without recourse to the Bureau for Public Procurement were turned down by the governor who insisted on due process.
Austin Tam-George was quoted as saying that he will never forgive Governor Wike for not allowing him dupe the government.
The likes of Austin Tam-George are always available for the highest bidder that is why his recent outburst should not be taken seriously.
When he was looting the money generated by parastatals under him he never remembered United Nations and European Union.
As the proverbial dog that eats the bone hung on his neck, he milked the media houses dry before he was sacked from the State Executive Council.
He should know that the record of monies siphoned from the Media houses are still in the archives and will be released if he dares to make any more noise.
If Governor Wike did not retain him in his cabinet because he lacked character is it enough to look for any slightest opportunity to impugn his integrity?
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. A word is enough for the wise.
Paulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State
May 11,2020.
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