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100 Days In View …Wike: Living The ‘Talk Na Do’ Philosophy

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Governor Wike

Governor Wike

In the next few days,
Chief (Barrister) Nyesome Wike will be 100 days in the saddle as the governor of Rivers State. Without doubt,  history will judge  Wike as the  most outstanding  governor  of  the  first one hundred  days of this dispensation. The facts speak for themselves.
This is contrary to the predictions of his predecessor,   Mr Rotimi Amaechi  that Wike would  fail to deliver.
Hear Amaechi celebrating  the trap he set for Governor  Wike  during a thanksgiving service held by the Greater Together Campaign Organisation (GTCO), the campaign
outfit of the Rivers All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr.Dakuku Peterside:  : “ I think Nyesom Wike is coming, we are waiting. He will look for money for salary; there is none. But when he pays out salary, we will see if anyof them can do what we did in this state: whether they can build the schools, the roads, even to get a loan’’.
It was under this precarious  situation planned  and executed against  the  Rivers  people  that Governor Wike  took up the  reins of leadership.  It was a very gloomy  period.  The courts were closed,  the State Assembly  crippled,  the state bureaucracy  was  in coma, the roads were death traps and insecurity  was at the worst imaginable level. Civil servants  were owed for two months, pensioners owed for six months  and the entire Port  Harcourt  City  was a huge dump site because  Amaechi  owed refuse clearing service providers  several  months of unpaid  fees running  into billions.
Worse still, the former  Governor  did not hand over any documents and  refused to set up a transition  committee  to interface  with the then incoming  administration.
Instead,   Amaechi  turned a drummer  boy at the Eagle  Square,  Abuja on May 29.
As an apostle  of the “Talk na Do” political  philosophy, Wike  refused to be cowed by the political booby  traps set for him. He was overwhelmingly  elected because  the people believed in  his capacity  to surmount  the obstacles of treachery  and wanton theft of state resources  as exemplified  by Amaechi’s  administration.  All through  the  campaign  trail, the song was the same in all languages – “Wike na talk  na do.”
The  governor  himself  amplified it at every spot, both at the riverine  and upland  communities.  ”My word is my bond. What I say I will do, I will  do”.
With  Wike’s exemplary  administration in the last ninety-five days,  the people  have  realised  that  they were right to have embraced  the “talk na  do”, political  philosophy  over the politics of treachery  and corruption.
On his very first day in office, Governor  Wike  revived the  judiciary,  initiated operation zero pothohes  and kick-started  the  process of rebuilding the state civil service.  On June 1, he swore in the State Acting  Chief Judge  and  the State Acting  President of  the Customary  Court of Appeal.  He also proclaimed the  State House of  Assembly  at the Assembly  Complex the same day.
Governor Wike  has instituted constitutional  separation  of powers in the state with all arms of government  functioning  optimally.  Indeed, former Governor  Amaechi  had to use the State High Court  recently,  even though  he shut it down  for one year.
The  Rivers  State  House of Assembly  is now one of the most active  in  the country, passing  critical  bills and doing  legislative  business  at its complex.
Today, Rivers  State  is now a huge construction  site. The economy  is waxing stronger  and the State is working  again.
Two construction  giants,  Julius  Berger  and CCECC are handling the reconstruction  and rehabilitation  of  Port Harcourt  roads which spans two local government areas with a great percentage  of  the  state’s  population  and economic  infrastructure. The success  recorded so far is mind boggling.
Wike has redefined project execution  in Rivers State.  Even under the rains, which was the indefensible excuse of Amaechi’s government, the roads are springing  to life in areas such as Diobu,  Borokiri,  Iwofe road, GRA, Akpajo, Eliopranwo,  Tombia extension,  Eagle Island and other key communities  in the  state capital.
Several other construction  companies  are working  on  roads in different  parts of the state to open  up  the  state to the rest of the country.
Theonce deplorable Eleme-Onne  Junction  of the East West  road  leading  to  the  Onne sea port is now motorable  and work is still ongoing. Same for the  Industry/NPA  road to  the  Port in Port Harcourt City.
These interventions  to rehabilitate  two key federal  roads are in line with  his promise to  make the ports functional  for the economic  revival  of  Rivers  State.
The Abonnema -Obonoma  link road in Akuku-Toru  LGA  has been completed  while work on Andoni-Opobo  Unity road as well as the Trans-Kalabari  road is billed to commence shortly.
Through the  Greater  Port Harcourt  Development  Authority,  the governor has started the construction  of  a facility to move auto-mechanics  and spare parts  dealers  out of the city centre  to further beautify Port  Harcourt.
Governor  Wike has also  strengthened  the  security  architecture  of the state. He intervened in the equipping  of  the  police  and other security agencies,  supplying 64 security  vans with  high class  communication gadgets to  track down  criminals.
Beyond the donation of the vehicles,  Governor Wike initiated a compensation scheme where families of security agents who die in active service fighting criminals will receive N5million, while residents who supply credible information that will lead to the arrest of kidnappers,  armed robbers  and cultists will get N1million.
The  governor sent the state anti-kidnapping bill to the  State  Assembly,  which  has been  passed and assented to by him.
In the housing  sector, Governor  Wike  has completed  the  Iriebe Housing  Estate of 50 units of two and three bedroom  flats. He promised to replicate  this model across the state.
For the first time  in many years, Rivers State  hosted an international  football  match. It hosted the U23 match Olympic  Qualifier Match between  Nigeria  and Congo. It has been given  the  hosting  rights of three Super Eagles  matches beginning  with  the  match against  Tanzania.  He has cleared the backlog  of  salaries  of Sharks and Dolphin  Football  Clubs players.
Within this period too, he has commenced  the  process of rehabilitating  prominent  schools across the state. The hitherto abandoned   state of the art Law Faculty  building  at the Rivers  State  University  of  Science  and  Technology has been completed.
The  health sector  is about to receive  a revival pill. The governor  has established  the framework  for the equipping  of  major general  and zonal hospitals in the state.
Regarding  economic  development,  Governor  Wike  took the most ambitious  step. He started  the process  to end multiple  taxation  by involving  all stakeholders across  the  state.
He has in the last three months opened functional lines of engagement  with the diplomatic  community,  local and international  business  concerns. He has renewed partnerships with  Shell, NLNG,  NPA,  Indorama,  INTELS,  NNPC,  just to name a few. The governor  has already  attracted a Visa Centre of the South African  Government  and is working  out international  programmes with the British,  the Irish, the Chinese   and the  US.
Rivers  State  is now  a  hub of development  and  collaboration as institutions,  companies and entrepreneurs  are now coming  to  the  state to benefit from   expanding  business  opportunities with the multiplier effects on jobs, economy and social stability.
Governor  Wike  has, in line with  his promise  to  the people,  effectively commenced the  creation  of  a New Rivers  State.  He has given  them back their voice and ensured that  their resources  work for them.
Even his few opponents  who are presently  on self exile in Abuja have commended him on his programmed revival of decayed infrastructure  across the state.
Wike is  no doubt, a political  phenomenon.  His ‘Talk na Do ‘ brand of politics is hinged on the people and the vision to improve  their living standard.  It is anchored on protecting  them from external  resource  predators  and ensuring  that  their God-given  resources  are judiciously  deployed for all round  development. It is  about giving Rivers  State  a pride of place  in  the  comity  of  states. So far, so great.
Nwakaudu is a Special Assistant  (Media )to the Rivers State Governor.

 

Simeon Nwakaudu

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Senate Sets Up Seven-Member Conference Committee On Electoral Act Amendment Bill

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The Senate has set up a Conference Committee to harmonize positions on the Electoral Act Amendments Bill.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan who announced this Wednesday during plenary, said that the  conference Committee will work with that of the House of Representatives in order to be on the same page on Electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
According to Lawan, Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, APC, Kebbi North  will be the leader of the team.
Other members are Senators Kabiru Gaya, APC, Kano South to represent North West; Danjuma Goje, APC, Gombe Central for North East; Uche Ekwunife, PDP, Anambra Central for South East; Sani Mohammed Musa, APC, Niger East for North Central; Ajibola Basiru, APC, Osun Central for South West and  Matthew Urhoghide, PDP, Edo South.
 Recall that of the seven members for the  Conference, while  only Senator Urhoghide voted YES Electronic transmission of election results, Senator Ekwunife was absent during the voting time and the other five members who are of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC voted NO for electronic transmission of election results.
The  Senate was before its annual recess thrown into confusion and uproar  as  Senators considered  the Report of the  Electoral Bill, 2021 which is a Bill for an Act to repeal the Electoral Act No.6, 2010 and enact the Electoral Act 2021, to regulate the conduct of Federal, State and Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory elections.

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PIA: Buhari’s Aide Tasks Southern Govs, Lawmakers On Amendments

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The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, has asked the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) and members of the National Assembly to take advantage of the proposed amendment to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to change the Act on controversial issues of host communities development fund and the frontier basins exploration trust fund.
Mr Enang, a former senator, said members could propose amendments that could be consolidated with those proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He stated this while appearing on “Politics Today” a programme on Channels TV.
Mr Buhari had written the National Assembly on Tuesday seeking an amendment to the PIA on the administrative part of the law.
The letter dated September 16 was read by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives during plenary sessions on Tuesday.
The PIA, which was assented to by the president on August 16, was passed by the National Assembly under controversial circumstances in both chambers of the National Assembly in July.
The president seeks to increase the number of non-executive board members of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory commission from two to six, to ensure representation of all geopolitical zones.
The Nigerian Governors Forum had in a communique after its 35th teleconference meeting in July expressed dissatisfaction with the ownership of the NNPC Limited and the issues of host communities and the frontier exploration trust fund.
The NGF recommended that given that the corporation is owned by the three tiers of government, the newly incorporated entity (NNPC Limited) should be owned by a vehicle that “holds th.e interest of the three tiers of government” – the institution that is currently positioned to carry out this mandate is the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
The governors, in the communique, said they will address the issues using appropriate channels including the National Economic Council and the National Assembly.

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Deepening Constitutional Democracy

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One person who seems to be unhappy about the way the country runs its political parties is Mr Dan Nwanyanwu, the Chairman of Zenith Labour Party.
To him, funding of political parties should not be left at the whims and caprices of money bags, the president, governors or other elected officers of political parties.
He said that such would weaken the political system and make members mere spectators in their own affairs.
He recalled his experience when he gate-crashed in a meeting of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), presided over by the National Chairman, late Adisa Akinloye.
He noted that party supremacy was the in-thing, as the then President Shehu Shagari and his Deputy, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, sat where ordinary members of the party were all seated.
He stated that Akinloye, as the chairman and other party executives sat in a special seat provided for them.
Nwanyanwu said that in those days, there was equal ownership of the party, because members contributed and were unwaveringly committed to the party’s ideology.
The Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Mr. Leonard Nzenwa, stated that non-payment of party dues by party members, remained the core problem in deepening constitutional democracy in the country.
He said that political parties should be mass-owned, mass-oriented, mass funded and must be people-centred, stressing that it is the only way to ensure equality of members in any political party.
According to him, where it looks like few people put funds together to bankroll or fund any political party, such will remain a major problem to constitutional democracy.
Nzenwa who doubles as the Chairman of Action Alliance (AA), noted that funding of political parties by money-bags or few individuals, is a setback to constitutional democracy.
He observed that Nigeria is the only country where members of political parties would refuse to pay their party dues.
He said that in South Africa, the legendary Nelson Mandela, never claimed ownership of the African National Congress (ANC).
“Even in the days of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello, they never claimed to own their party as members pay their dues as and when due,” he said
The IPAC boss said that if today promoters of political parties are laying claims to ownership of their respective political parties, it showed the sad reality of the time.
“Even in America where we borrowed our democracy, no one claimed to own the party even as rich as former President Donald Trump is, at no time did he claim to own the party unlike what is obtainable in Nigeria,” he said
He said that the idea of certain individuals claiming ownership of political parties should be stopped, adding that such people used it as a vehicle to blackmail others.
Nzenwa noted that such abuse must be addressed through party structure, commitment of members to the party and high sense of responsibility.
“Hardly do members pay party dues, including my political party and this is because of non-chalant attitude of members, so the money-bags hijack the parties.
“Political parties cannot survive if members refuse to pay, because why we have problem in political parties is that members do not want to make commitment and do not want to take responsibility.
“Members are not sincere and that is why we have this issue because people keep jumping from one political party to the other once they see that there are going to get money there, there is no ideology whatsoever,” he stated.
The Publicity Secretary of Young Peoples Party (YPP), Mr. Wale Martins, on his part said that YPP members pay their monthly dues, which according to him, is what has been keeping the party going.
He stated that donations are also welcomed from members and highly spirited Nigerians, but added that, that would not confer undue advantage on them.
“YPP members pay monthly dues which differ from state to state; for instance, in Lagos members pay N1000 monthly, while in some other states, they pay between N500 and N100, while party executives pay N3000,” he said
Martins stressed that payment of dues create a sense of belonging, adding that it would further help to promote accountability.
Martins said that members were reluctant to pay their dues because money-bags had hijacked the political structure and members had given tacit support to those willing to drop money in a bid to control the soul of the party and dictate the pace.
Martins said that vote-buying, manipulation and other shenanigans are fallout of this ugly development, especially during party primaries to elect candidate that would fly the flags of the parties.
He also said that government’s withdrawal of payment of subvention to parties was responsible for hijacking of the political process by powerful individuals.
“The government used to give political parties subvention, but the sudden withdrawal of such subvention eroded their confidence and left members with no choice than to embrace money-bags,’’ he said.
The Executive Director, Adopt A Goal For Development Initiative, Mr. Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said that the country cannot deepen constitutional democracy without political party reformation.
He said that the reformation must guarantee internal party democracy and ensure that party members and officials adhere strictly to rules, guidelines and the constitution.
He noted that the products of political parties become the drivers of the nation’s democracy; hence, the country must focus on the basic foundation of ensuring the process of party membership conforms to best practices.
“We must ensure that few money bags and people in power do not undermine and appropriate the functions of political parties,” he said.
To get the best out of this democracy, Atoye stated that the country needs political parties that are funded by members and the public and not a few political merchants.

Ogunshola writes for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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