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Failed PHALGA 3 Bye-Election: Police Has Declared War On Rivers -Wike …Nigerians Chide APC, Police Over Violence …PDP Warns Flag-Amachree On Violence …As INEC Suspends Bye-Election

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that the consistency with which the police sabotages the electoral process in Rivers State amounts to a declaration of war on the people.
In a state broadcast yesterday on the failed Port Harcourt State Constituency 3 bye-election disrupted by the police and armed APC thugs, Governor Wike charged Rivers people not to succumb to the antics of the police, lest they become slaves in their fatherland.
Governor Wike said: “The consistent sabotage of the electoral process by the Police amounts to a declaration of war against the people of Rivers State and their solemn rights to freely and fairly choose their leaders and representatives.
“Clearly, there are dangerous times ahead but we must not give in to intimidation lest we lose our liberties and become slaves in our own land.
“Against this backdrop, it is up to the people of Rivers State to choose the option that will serve their interest.”
Governor Wike said despite assurances from the Rivers State Commissioner of Police during the last State Security Council meeting that the police will remain neutral and act professionally, the police on Saturday August 18, 2018, joined forces with APC thugs to disrupt elections.
He said: “As we had feared, the Police failed us completely once again and negated all that they promised. Instead of providing security for voters and INEC officials the Police brazenly colluded with political thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to subvert the democratic process and denied the people of Port Harcourt Constituency III their rights to free, fair and credible elections.
“Confirmed reports from the field indicated that INEC promptly and rightly distributed elections materials to all the polling units within a recorded time.
“However, while voting was underway, armed thugs from the APC led by the State’s factional Chairman, Mr. Flag Ojukaye Amachree moved freely from one polling unit to the other, violently assaulted voters and INEC officials and carted away election materials, including smart card readers and ballot boxes.”
The governor added: “It is important to note that Ojukaye Flag Amachree who led the thugs is the same person facing multiple murder trial and instead of arresting him as ordered by the trial court, the Police has continued to aid and shield him from arrest and prosecution.
“It is equally important to note that Ojukaye Flag Amachree and his thugs freely and easily overran the entire constituency and successfully disenfranchised the electorates with the active support, protection and guidance of heavily armed Police operatives from the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) and the Inspector General of Police’s Monitoring Unit.”
He noted that during the June 16, 2018 Local Government Elections where APC refused to participate, the polls were conducted peacefully without rancour.
Governor Wike said that the disruption of the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Bye-Election was not the first time the Police would be indicted for unconstitutional anti-democratic action during an election in Rivers State.
He pointed out the that following the widespread violence that erupted in the 2016 legislative re-run elections in Rivers State, the INEC Panel Report (at page 66) indicted the security agencies as brazen election riggers and singled out the F-SARS Commander Mr. Akin Fakorede as the arrowhead of the violence and rigging that characterized those elections.
He said: “ This situation is worrisome. If the Nigerian Police cannot secure and guarantee the peaceful and successful conduct of election in a single State Constituency of 8 wards, then what will happen in 2019 when they would be contending with 319 electoral wards and 4442 polling units across 23 Local Government Areas of the State?”
While the Rivers State Governor commended INEC for acting professionally, he berated the police for taking sides and offering illegal aid to APC to undermine electoral process in the state.
He thanked the people of Port Harcourt State Constituency Three for their peaceful conduct in the face of electoral provocation. He said that their action has exposed the true enemies of the state.
“Against the backdrop it is up to the people of Rivers State to choose the option that will serve their interest.
“Finally, I cannot end this broadcast without extending my gratitude to the people of Constituency III who, in the face of brazen provocation by the police and the APC thugs, remained calm and law abiding.
“Your patience has thoroughly exposed the true enemies of Rivers State and by the grace of God, we will defeat them in 2019 for as long as we remain resolute in our determination to defend our rights to be free”, Governor Wike said.
Meanwhile, stakeholders, non-governmental organizations have condemned the massive ballot box snatching, shooting and violence during last Saturday’s bye-election for Port Harcourt Constituency 111 Assembly seat.
Sir Austin Opara, who is a former Deputy Speaker at the Federal House of Representatives and hails from the constituency, accused All Progressives Congress (APC) factional Chairman in Rivers State, Ojukaye Flag Amachree of using security operatives and thugs to cart any electoral materials.
He said attempts to seek the attention of the Police failed as men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) were part of the machinery to disrupt the elections.
On his part, Mayor of Port Harcourt Victor Ihunwo condemned the election over the violence that was witnessed across the wards and polling units.
Ihunwo likened the election to a war situation, as he warned that if nothing is done to check the trend, it might pose treat to the nation’s democracy.
In her reaction, prominent Niger delta activist, Ann Kio Briggs described the violence that marred the election as a deliberate intimidation of the electorate, by some desperate politicians.
Kio-Briggs warned that such development was unpalatable and threat to the democratic process.
President of Niger Delta Coalition (NDCAV) Christian Lekia said the violence was a dangerous signal ahead 2019 general elections.
“It’s quite regrettable that Nigerians are mobilized to obtain their permanent voters card, but are denied the opportunity to exercise their civic reasonability during elections. What happened in PHALGA Constituency 111 is indeed a incentive to our democratic process”.
Lekia cautioned politicians against the use of thuggery and violence to vying elections, as he urged them to respect the tenets of democracy.
On his part, Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Rivers State, Oliver Worlugbom said the widespread violence that marred the elections was an indication that politicians are yet to learn their lessons, and respect the rights of the electorate, to choose their political leaders through the ballot box.
In the words of the NOA Director, “the process of election should not be seen as a do-or-die affairs”, adding that, “security operatives should not allow themselves to be used by politicians to derail the democratic process”.
Following massive ballot box snatching, shooting and violence by the opposition during last Saturday’s bye-election for Port Harcourt constituency 111, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the election, Chiemeka Nmenikini has called for cancellation of the polls.
Nenikini made the call shortly after hoodlums led by All Progressives Congress (APC) State factional Chairman, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree disrupted the elections, and carted away electoral materials at Ward 10, unit 7, 8 and 9 at Mile 3 Diobu.
The PDP candidate accused both the Police and the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) of compromise following widespread violence, and ballot box snatching witnessed during the polls.
He said, “for me, this is not what an election should be. Everybody knows that Port Harcourt is PDP, and the APC knows that they are not on ground that is why they resorted to violence.”
Nmerukini accused the Police, especially men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of openly supporting the APC in unleashing terror on voters, and carting away of electoral materials across the constituency.
“It’s very unfortunate that at this stage incur democracy that we are still thinking of snatching ballot boxes and all that “Nmerukini said, “even INEC has failed us because in most units the card reader did not work”.
Similarly, Chairman of the State Chairman of Local Government Service Commission, Chief Azubuike Nmerukini has described last Saturday’s bye-election as a show of shame.
Chief Nmerukini condemned the violence that characterized the elections, and said it was attempt to truncate the.
In a related development, the State Chapter of the PDP has warned factional Chairman of the APC, Flag-Amachree to desist from displaying thuggery tendencies in democratic settings.
The PDP in a statement on Saturday signed by its chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah said, … “elections can never be won by guns, bullets and physical brutality. Rather the people must be allowed to exerine their freedom of choice as to who represents them through the ballot box”.
While condemning activities of the APC faction leader, who used bandits to cart away electoral materials, including result sheets, the PDP warned that it shall no longer tolerate wanton disruption of a democratic exercise, stressing that its display of maturity should not be misconstrued as a sign of weakness. “No person or group has monopoly of violence”, it added.
Consequently, INEC has suspended the bye-election for Port Harcourt Constituency 111 Assembly seat, citing widespread violence that characterized the elections as responsible for the decision. Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Rivers State, Mr. Obo Effanga announced the suspension Saturday night.

 

Kevin Nengia,Taneh Bemene & Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Buhari Orders Forensic Audit Of NDDC …Slashes Ministers’ Foreign Trips, Estacodes To Cut Cost

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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from 2001 to 2019.
Buhari, in statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, said the action was taken out of worry over criticisms of the operations of the commission, and after he received governors of nine states that make up the commission, who had called for the repositioning of the NDDC.
The delegation was led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State,
According to the President, what is presently on the ground in the South-South region does not justify the huge resources that have been made available to the organisation.
He said, “I try to follow the Act setting up these institutions, especially the NDDC. With the amount of money that the Federal Government has religiously allocated to the NDDC, we will like to see the results on the ground; those that are responsible for that have to explain certain issues.
“The projects said to have been done must be verifiable. You just cannot say you spent so much billions and when the place is visited, one cannot see the structures that have been done. The consultants must also prove that they are competent.
“The President admitted that developing the Niger Delta area required enormous resources compared to other parts of the country with firmer lands”.
He said, “I am acutely aware, with my experience, that projects in your area are very expensive; that is why if any job is given, we must make sure that the company is competent and has the capacity to do it well with experienced consultants.”
He, however, said that he would wait for the report of the audit before deciding on the next line of action regarding the NDDC.
Dickson had earlier expressed the disappointment of other governors with the operations of the NDDC, which they said was characterised by poor choice of projects, shoddy handling, uncompleted jobs and lack of the required support for the efforts of the states and local government administration in the region covered by the organisation.
He called for the repositioning of the NDDC in order to achieve the objectives for which it was set up. Briefing journalists after the meeting, Dickson, who is also chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, listed the NDDC states as Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, Cross River, Bayelsa, Abia, Imo and Ondo.
He said, “Our concern has to do with the stability and development of the Niger Delta. We had a robust discussion with Mr. President who fully understands the challenges that come with development, and he promised to look into the challenges which he’s aware of and we all agreed to work together”.
Present at the meeting were Governors Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio; Minister of State for Niger Delta, Senator Tayo Alasoadura; among others.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has reduced the number and duration of foreign trips for ministers and other categories of government officials in a move described as cost-saving measure to achieve fiscal prudence.
In a statement signed by the Director of Information at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, the President also removed travelling financial benefit known as estacode allowance and cut down the number of persons permitted to travel with the ministers and other government officials for official trips.
The President, however, approved the use of business class for ministers and economy class for lower categories of government officials.
However, approval for such trips must be sought through the office of the SGF or Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the statement added.
The statement read, “In a bid to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources of government, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved, for immediate implementation, additional cost-saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels.
“Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required to submit their yearly travel plans for statutory meetings and engagements to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and/or the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year, before implementation.
“For class of air travels, the President has approved that ministers, permanent secretaries, special advisers, senior special assistants to the President, chairmen of extra-ministerial departments and chief executive officers of parastatals, who are entitled will continue to fly business class while other categories of public officers are to travel on economy class.
“Travel days will no longer attract payment of estacode allowances as duration of official trips shall be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding.”
The statement added that only trips that would benefit the country must be embarked upon by the affected officials, noting also that ministers and other categories of government officials must not travel more than twice within a quarter of a year except with the permission of the President.
It noted, “On the nature and frequency of travels, all public funded travels (local and foreign), must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence. In this regard, all foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to the interest of the country.
“Except with the express approval of Mr President, ministers, permanent secretaries, chairmen of extra-ministerial departments, chief executive officers and directors are restricted to not more than two foreign travels in a quarter. The Auditor-General of the Federation has been directed to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible.”
Reacting, a financial expert, Mr Momoh Aliyu, has urged state governors to emulate the Federal Government by cutting down their travelling expenses and utilise it for development projects.
Aliyu gave the advice in an interview with newsmen, in Abuja, yesterday.
The expert was reacting to directive by the Federal Government that henceforth there would be slash in travelling expenses of its officials.
Aliyu, who is also the managing director of Cyber1 Systems Network International, explained that the development was a wake-up call to governors, and indeed, all other governments’ agencies in the country.
He said overhead cost of travelling in the budget was alarming and taking chunks of the vote heads.
“The action by the president is an act of setting the pace to other parastatals, ministries and states governments,’’ he said.
The expert said that the Nigerian Government had over the years been criticised of wasting and mismanaging the scarce resources.
He described the development as the right step in the right direction.
“The ministers and other government functionaries should understand the need to be on seat to attend to pressing issues.’’
Aliyu also acknowledged the efforts of the ministry of technology in ensuring e-government systems.
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, reacted after President Muhammadu Buhari restricted foreign travels to two per quarter for heads of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
The government also cancelled first-class air tickets for some category of officials.
However, PDP challenged Buhari to “lead by example by ending the profligacy that pervades his Presidency in order to give validity to his directives to ministers and other functionaries.”
In a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the former ruling party berated the President for approving the appointment of two aides for his wife, Aisha.
The party charged the Buhari Buhari Presidency to explain the “basis and source of Presidential support for the Office of the First Lady, including the appointment of aides, contrary to his promise not to run that office.

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Monkeypox Hits Rivers, 12 Others As NCDC Records 81 Cases In Nine Months

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed that Rivers State is among 12 others hit by fresh cases of monkeypox in the country.
Expectedly, Lagos State leads cases of monkeypox viral disease in the country.
Experts state that monkeypox is a viral disease related to smallpox and transmitted to humans through fluid exchange by rodents and primates.
In its latest report on the disease, NCDC states that overall, Nigeria has 81 total reported cases of the disease, with 39 confirmed cases spread across 13 states comprising Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, and Enugu.
Others are: Cross River, Oyo, FCT, Bauchi, Zamfara, Borno and Plateau states.
The NCDC latest report, which detailed the monkeypox case distribution by states spanning January to September, 2019, and titled, ‘Nigeria Monkeypox Monthly Situation Report,’ with Serial Number 9, and released for the month of September, stated that there were 15 new suspected cases for the month under review, and five new confirmed cases.
It, however, said there was no reported death in all of the cases.
The report indicates that Lagos currently has the highest number of monkeypox disease with 29 total reported cases and 11 confirmed cases over the period.
Delta follows, with 14 reported cases and 10 confirmed cases.
Rivers State has 15 reported cases and seven confirmed; while Bayelsa has nine reported cases with six confirmed.
In the epidemiological summary, the NCDC states: “Nigeria continues to report sporadic cases of monkeypox after the index case was reported two years ago (September, 2017).
“In the reporting month (September, 2019), 15 new suspected monkeypox cases were reported from five states — Lagos (5), Rivers (2), Akwa Ibom (3), Zamfara (1), Delta (1), Imo (2) and the Federal Capital Territory (1).
“Five of the 15 suspected cases were confirmed positive for monkeypox in three states — Lagos (3), Rivers (1) and Akwa Ibom (1).
“Five of the suspected cases tested positive for chickenpox, while others are for further evaluation. No death recorded in the reporting month.”
The report added that a total of 81 suspected cases have been reported so far in 2019, of which 39 confirmed cases were recorded in nine states (Bayelsa, Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Anambra, Cross River, and Oyo); and one death.

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Teachers’ Professional Exams

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The idea of subjecting teachers in the service of the Federal Government to write a professional examination is generating some controversies. It may be considered as a damage-control strategy, because, if the right thing had been done, then, there would be no need to invite a fire brigade. Establishment of a Teachers Registration Council was meant to professionalise the job of teaching, which is an international practice. In some countries, a teacher, including proselytists, must have a licence before undertaking such activities.
The necessity for regulation of various professional or career practices is quite important. In the case of the education sector, the need is even greater because of the wide implication involved in mind-control activities.
Mind-Control activities include teaching, proselytism, writing to inform, educate and influence the perception of the masses, etc. Hypnosis must be excluded, even though it is a wide-spread malpractice, perhaps, not quite recognised by the relevant authorities.
A situation where those who teach, including some professors, can afford to speak such grammar as “those of us who teaches…” indicates the existence of fundamental inconsistencies somewhere. The inconsistencies arise from the absence of justice, selectiveness in terms of merits lack of vigour and discipline in recruitment, appointment and promotion of staff in public establishments. Damages crated at such grassroots levels result in the use of fire-brigade strategies when the effects begin to fester.
Without going into the damages which application of “Quota System” in appointments and promotions in Nigeria, public services had caused, we see the unpleasant results everywhere now. Neither would conducting of examinations for teachers and other civil servants solve the problems. A situation where people can be appointed and promoted without regard to merit and competence, and then placed in strategic and sensitive positions, what comes about cannot be anything to wonder about.
Anybody who knows the true situations in Nigerian public services, especially after the Civil War (1970), would be surprised at the resilience and ability of the nation to absorb shocks and jolts. The damage-control measure of administering examinations to teachers should not stop with teachers alone, but must be holistic and comprehensive, if it must yield positive results. If the exercise is done with sincerity and justice, what would emerge is that incompetent persons have been shielded for too long in the public services. No sector is free from the virus.
Having been an external examiner, one is aware that the shielding process of incompetent persons by god-fathers is widespread even in universities. Are we not aware that some powerful persons make phone calls to shield, protect or give undue advantages to candidates whom they sponsor? Sponsored social mobility is known to undermine merit and justice.
A healthy appointments and promotions process should be able to throw up the best and most competent candidates, rather than the use of sponsorship to install incompetent persons in public establishments. As it is in the public services so also it is in elective and political processes. It is a situation where people who place emphasis and value on merit and justice have lost confidence in what goes on under the pretext of “screening process”.
Whatever errors and injustices there may have been in the past, we can still have a turn-around for the better. The first lesson in that process is the application of the doctrine of positive discrimination, which is a process of bias-free identification and classification of people, ability-wise. What is known as occupational misfit arises from a mis-match between personal ability and competence vis-à-vis position occupied in an economy. The value of guidance/counselling in an economy lies in bias-free process of identification of personal abilities. Wheat must be separated from chaff!
A second lesson worthy of application in getting the best out of human abilities is current training programme which can simply be called knowledge update. No professional is so competent that regular knowledge up-date would not be necessary. Being an organist as an adolescent, and several years away from the music hobby, one finds it difficult now to know a quaver from a minim; neither can the fingers do what they knew best in the past.
The joy of knowledge or professional competence lies in its regular application and up-date. One there is laxity or relenting of efforts and continuity, these must always be a decline in competence and performance. No individual, organisation or nation has progressed by standing still or placing incompetent hands in strategic and sensitive positions. Similarly, wherever emphasis is placed on certificate rather than practical and visible competence, decline would follow. Nigerians have been known to fake certificates which they cannot make.
Of more importance in the case of declining productivity in Nigeria, is the complacent attitude of the elite class. Watch and observe what members of the elite class say and do in their leisure hours and what excites them most. The emptiness and oppressively narrow sphere of interest and superficiality of their value orientation would be found to be quite pathetic. A society where wealth replaces eternal values and where immediate personal gains replace joyful services and productive labour decline comes soon.
Similarly, a situation where pity wears the garb of meretricious self-righteousness, education would wear a similar garb of window-dressing. Nigerians would do better investing in a process of conscientization rather than setting examination for teachers. Would there not be any malpractice in such examination? Would the examiners not sell scores and grades for something else? We should know where the shoes are pinching.

 

Bright Amirize

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