The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the naming of President Muhammed Buhari as African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion as laughable, and described the honour as Africa’s joke of the year.
The party said leaders of the African Union were not well briefed on happenings in Nigeria, including the series of corrupt activities recorded in the two and a half years of the Buhari presidency.
National Publicity Secretary of the party , Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday, said it was embarrassing that the Presidency, in its desperation to launder its irredeemably dented image, would resort to exporting its deceptive proclivities to the international arena.
The party said the AU would not have honoured President Buhari if it knew the depth of persecution of opposition figures under the guise of war against corruption, while officials of his government swim head deep in corruption under the overt protection of the Presidency.
“As we speak, those receiving accolades as champions of anti corruption have not yet cleared the air on the leaked memo detailing underhand oil contracts to the tune of N9 trillion ($25billion dollars) at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which are under President Buhari’s direct supervision as minister.
“They are yet to offer any explanation on series of reported fraud in the oil sector including allegation of the use of 18 unregistered companies to lift and divert N1.1trillion worth of crude oil in the last one year to service the All Progressives Congress (APC) interests.
“This is a government which has provided cover for its corrupt officials including former state governors, who were indicted of looting funds belonging to their states to sponsor their Presidential election in 2015 as well as cronies openly indicted for other various sharp practices, including padding of federal budget, secret oil subsidy deals and stealing of funds meant for fight against insurgency and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“Perhaps, AU leaders need to know that the Presidency has virtually failed to do anything regarding the heinous diversion of N5 billion meant for the IDPs under the Presidential Initiative on the Northeast for which the Senate mounted a stiff investigation, only because officials of APC government was indicted.
“They might also need to be shown the motion by Senator Baba Kaka Garba from Borno Central, who exposed how some individuals, known to have connections with the APC, fraudulently cornered N1.2 billion from the Federal Government under the guise of supplying items to IDPs, only for the money to be diverted for other purposes which are related to APC interests.
“Furthermore, the AU might need to know that the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who was openly indicted by the Senate for stealing funds meant for IDP activities, was only arrested after a public outcry but was quickly released with a pat on the wrist, while opposition members facing similar charges are being detained and persecuted with spurious charges in various courts.
“The truth lies bare that the Buhari administration is not engaging in any fight against corruption but political witch-hunt of opposition, while his government reeks with corruption,” the PDP wrote.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has challenged the All Progressives Congress (APC), to submit the recommendations of the 2014 national conference report to the National Assembly before 2019, if truly they are serious on restructuring the country.
The main opposition party said the APC was taking Nigerians on second false ride after dropping them on a land of fantasy.
The party was reacting to Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasiru el-Rufai’s claim that President Muhammadu Buhari was ready to implement the APC committee report on restructuring.
Speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondinyan, last Monday, the PDP pointed out that the APC, “Thinks that they can take Nigerians on a second ride after they dropped them on a land of fantasy. But Nigerians are aware and are awake to their false rides and fantasy, and there can never be a repeat of it.
“If el-Rufai is saying that Buhari believes in restructuring, we challenge the Federal Government to pick up a copy of the 2014 National Conference report and take it to the National Assembly for inclusion as part of 1999 Constitution amendment. But the unfortunate thing is that in their usual game, they are telling Nigerians what they do not believe.
“They still have between now and February, 2019, to showcase to Nigerians that they believe in restructuring. And the Senate and the House of Representatives members will be sitting on Tuesday, January 30, 2018. So, we challenge them to take a copy either to a joint committee of the National Assembly or to deliver to each chamber.
“There is no way making post-election promises of 2019; they should do it now. Now is the time to do it. We have always told the APC-led Federal Government that deceit, lies and propaganda will help you win election but it cannot sustain them,” he said.
In another development, barely a year before the 2019 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has said it is expecting a landslide victory in the governorship, senatorial and other elections in the state.
The party said its expectation was based on the performance of Governor Nyesom Wike, in the execution of projects across the 23 local government areas of the state.
The PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Engr Samuel Nwanosike, made these remarks in Ikwerre Local Government Area during an empowerment programme for women in fulfilment of the party’s campaign promises to the people of the area.
According to Nwanosike, “The leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has brought about hope for the poor people, development and peace. The PDP will not renege in ensuring that Rivers people enjoy meaningful projects and empowerment.
“This is because, when you rule a people for as much as two years without bringing a definite change to their lives, but telling them stories every day, a day will come when God will liberate them and that day is now,” Nwanosike said.
The PDP publicity secretary took advantage of the opportunity to receive over 3,400 members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area, who defected to the ruling party.
Speaking while receiving the APC decampees, Nwanosike assured them of equal treatment, and hailed them for being bold in their decision to leave the opposition party in the state.
“Over 3,400 APC members from the 13 wards in the Ikwerre LGA, including non-indigenes, have defected to the PDP. The defectors left the APC because of failed promises, neglect and hardship inflicted on them by the APC-led Federal Government.
“The PDP will enjoy landslide victory in 2019; the PDP will win in all the wards and across the 23 local government areas in Rivers State, including the village of any candidate the APC will present. The people-oriented projects executed by the governor in all the local government areas are there for the people to see.”
Also speaking, one of the defectors, Mr Robinson Solomon, explained that they decided to leave the APC as a result of unfulfilled promises.
Solomon added, “We have seen the numerous development projects and good leadership of our Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, in the state. My team from the APC in the Ikwerre Local Government Area decided to return to the PDP.
“I am calling on the remaining members of the APC in my area to join the PDP because the APC has really failed us.”
Rivers’ll Ensure Safe, Secure Environment For Economic Growth -Wike .
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that his administration would continue to support security agencies in the state to ensure a safe and secure environment for the economic prosperity of citizens.
He said the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Operation Sting and the revitalised C4i security outfits were set up to help provide security to stimulate growth and prosperity of all in Rivers State.
The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, at the 2021 Conference/Annual General meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Rivers State chapter, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
“This administration has embarked on aggressive infrastructural development and a very deliberate urban renewal efforts around the capital to attract local and foreign investors to stimulate our economy.
“We have also opened up local governments through quality road networks. Upgrade of various social and recreational facilities in various local government areas,” he said.
He commended the state chapter of the NIPR for the choice of the theme of the conference: “Nigeria’s Security Situation: A Factor in Reputation and National Development”, adding that stakeholders must begin to act in a very different, drastic and positive strategy to remedy the already battered reputation of Nigeria.
He urged the NIPR to use its expertise and experience to thrive to galvanise and stimulate the populace and government at various levels for the resuscitation of citizens sense of pride and responsibility of whatever was left of the nation’s image and reputation.
“All hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers to call on government at all levels to begin to act in ways and manner that will help to revive the battered image of this country,” he added.
Welcoming guests and participants to the conference, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who is also the state chairman of NIPR, commended the cordial relationship existing between the institute and the state government under the leadership of Governor Wike who is a honorary fellow of the institute.
“Governor Wike has been very supportive of all the activities of the Institute. That is what you also get from a visionary leader who has changed the landscape of Rivers State with infrastructure, with various developmental projects that touch the lives of the ordinary man,” he said.
Nsirim said the state chapter of NIPR was proud to associate with Governor Wike for the giant strides he has recorded and would continue to record until the end of his tenure in 2023.
“As a chapter that is responsive to the development of Nigeria, we have chosen the theme for this year’s conference as our own way of contributing to the national discourse,” he said.
He said the conference would produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse and urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation.
“It is expected that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security and national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” he said.
In his speech, the President and Chairman of Governing Council of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, emphasised on the need for all Nigerians to collaborate to fight insecurity currently confronting the country’s economic and political stability.
He welcomed the theme of the conference, saying that it was coming at the time the institute had gotten sufficient worry about national security, peace and economic development.
In his keynote address, Dr. Ike Neliaku, chronicled the increasing violent crimes that had claimed thousands of lives in the various parts of Nigeria, and submitted that the rising insecurity situation in the country had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation.
He said the worrisome development would have concomitant consequence on individual and national development.
Chairman of the conference, Chief Felix Otuwarikpo, said the conference was put together to dissect the current carnage affecting the Nigerian nation.
“As an institute, we will leverage on the conference to proffer solutions to the security challenges affecting the nation,” he said.
The conference also featured the presentation of awards for good public relations and community development to some distinguished members and organisations.
Church Of Nigeria Honours Wike, Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu, Others
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has bestowed awards for exemplary leadership qualities in a challenging economy and dedication in the service of God and humanity on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and Ogun State Governor, Adedapo Abiodun.
Also honoured is the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Emmanuel Abayomi, with an award for quality and equitable healthcare delivery.
The awardees were honoured at the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, at the Diocese of Lagos, Archbishop Adebola and Oluranti Ademowo Resource Centre, Faith Plaza, Bariga, Lagos State.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, who conferred the awards on the recipients, said the political leaders were considered for the award for their outstanding role, courageous leadership, and standing firm in defense of Nigerians against insecurity, provision of basic infrastructure to the citizenry and the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the congregation on the state of the nation and the role of the church, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, admonished the leadership of the church to encourage its members to be part of the governance process in the country.
The governor noted that a situation whereby Christians leave governance for politicians alone is no longer obtainable.
According to Wike, the effect of bad leadership will also affect the church if they remain passive to the issue of governance.
“You must be part of choosing leadership. Don’t say you have no role, you have a role. When you don’t participate, bad leaders will emerge and when bad leadership emerges, you are part of it.
“You must encourage your people to be part of leadership. I didn’t go to any school to study leadership.
“So, nobody should say that as a Christian you cannot be a governor, no. The head of SUBEB in my state is a priest and you can see the leadership he has given to that agency today. You will feel proud about it. That used to be the most corrupt agency, but today it is headed by a priest and you can see the difference.”
Wike decried the inherent injustice that has characterised the Nigerian State, and urged the church to speak against socio-political issues adversely affecting the progress of the country.
“We say we are all one Nigeria. We went to World Bank to borrow money to do specific projects. One of the states that make up Nigeria I hear is Rivers State. And I also know in paying this money back to World Bank, money that comes from the resources of my state will be used in paying back this money. But my state was denied to have projects from that loan.”
The Rivers State governor said a situation where states depend on the Federal Government to survive can no longer be tenable, and insisted that states must be allowed to collect revenues such as Value Added Tax (VAT) to enable them improve the welfare of their people.
“You have gone to take loan and I am one of those states that will pay back those loan and you deny me to benefit from the projects that that money will be used for. I have no problem with that.
“Allow me the one (VAT) the Constitution says I am entitled to, let me collect that one and develop my state.”
He regretted that some governors in Nigeria have refused to think out of the box on how to boost economic activities in their states.
“There is flood in my state, it requires N200millon, I will go to Abuja to beg. Even as a governor, I will knee down before a DG of an agency of government. You will knee down for a director just because of N300million. That is the status of some of the governors of some states.”
In his remarks, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the church for its support, and announced the waiver of N2billion for land acquired by the Church of Nigeria in Lagos State.
The governor stated that Nigeria and the rest of the world are going through difficult times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and used the occasion to canvass for mass vaccination of the citizens.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, while speaking on the theme of the conference: “Abiding in Christ: God’s Panacea in an Unstable World”, lamented that Nigeria was fast becoming a land flowing with tears and blood because of the impact of terror, banditry, herdsman attacks on communities and kidnapping.
He said a situation in which communities that are predominantly Christians are targeted one after another in some parts of Kaduna State and North-Central of Nigeria was unacceptable.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to brand the bandits and herders attackers as terrorists and let them be treated as such.”
The Primate urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity 2023 general election offer to exercise their right to choose new leaders.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the free fall in the value of the country’s currency because of the attendant impact on the store of value and confidence of investors.
Rivers Begins Process To Check Flooding
The Rivers State Government has said that it was working with relevant agencies to roll out the process that would check perennial flooding in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Nsirim, therefore, called on those living and doing business in the state to play their part in line with the programme that would be executed by government to address the problem of flooding.
He frowned at the situation where residents of Port Harcourt had turned the drainage systems into refuse bins, and warned that “that is not what it should be.
“The present administration under Governor Nyesom Wike is desirous to make Rivers State a destination of choice and that is why the government has embarked on massive infrastructural development in line with its urban renewal programme.
“So, what is expected of those living and doing business in Rivers State now, is to co-operate with government to ensure that the urban renewal programme and the plan by government to make this state a destination of choice is realised,” he said.
He noted that the state government could not do it alone as it required the support of corporate organisations, civil society groups, religious organisations and the media to enlighten their publics on the need to behave as responsible citizens.
He called on the media to embark on massive enlightenment programmes along the line of the roles of citizens in checking flooding in the state.
“We believe that if the citizens cooperate with government, as government is out to ensure that everyone living and doing business in the state does so in a healthy environment, we believe that in the next few days or weeks we will find a solution to this (flooding),” he said.
Nsirim also announced the names of entrants selected for the essay competition on the title, “Our State Our Responsibility” introduced under the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign of the ministry launched at the beginning of this month.
He said those shortlisted were expected to be at the conference room of the ministry by 11am on Monday, September 27, 2021, for a physical test to ascertain their original ownership.
Those shortlisted are: Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Amarachi Chimezie, Jasper Dorcas, Jaja Tamunoimiegba Christian, Sophia Oyibo, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam kelechukwu, Deborah Adegbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Okiche Miracle, Orovwigwo Deborah, Otuka Goodluck and Ziga Paago.
By: Beemene Taneh
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