Connect with us

Politics

Rivers 2019 Polls: The Intrigues And Implications

Published

on

Nyesom Wike of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), having satisfied the requirements of the law and having scored the highest votes is hereby declared winner and is hereby returned as elected.
This was the declaration of the State Returning Officer for the March 9, 2019 Governorship election in Rivers State, Prof. Teddy Adias, who further declared that Wike polled 886,264 to defeat his closest rival, Biokpomabo Awara of the African Action Congress (AAC), who polled 173,859 to come second.
Out of the 21 Local Government Areas where election took place, Wike won in 19, while Awara won in two. Elections did not hold in Abua/Odual Local Government Area while no results were returned in Gokana.
Backing his declaration with Section 47(b) of the Elections Guidelines which stipulates that where there is wilful disruption of election as was the case of Abua/Odual, the electoral officer is empowered to enter zero as scores, Adia said there is no doubt as to the fact that Wike was the winner.
“Since no results were returned in Gokana as attested to by all party agents, the commission had to discard the results as it would be improper to rely on results from any source other than the one collated by the commission”, he said.
Adias also noted that the difference between Wike’s score and that of Awara was 712,405 while the total number of voters in areas where elections were cancelled or did not hold was 249,324.
The announcement on the morning of April 3, 2019 suddenly broke the expectantly knowing silence warranted by the earlier machinations of a relatively few, who, not minding the will of the people, had brazenly threatened that their will must come to be, come what may.
The atmosphere that followed the declaration was stunningly infectious, and there was hardly any doubt as to the relief it brought to Rivers people. In some areas of the State, there was an uncanny silence that spoke louder than words. The opposition was unhappy that the Governor was re-elected, but even in their silence instituted by their anger over their failure to make their personal will the will of the people, they, by their inactions, acknowledged the Governor’s victory. At other areas where the ecstasy was put into words, even when said in calmness, it sounded very noisy in the depth of meaning.
One noticeable peculiarity in all of this was the unison in acceptance of the victory of Governor Wike by those who, for the sake of clarity, can at best be described as the common people of the state, led by the Civil Servants, whose dependants directly or indirectly constitute a greater population of the state.
Virtually everybody who communicated through words, gestures, and the like, even when it may be for negative reasons, did so in such esoteric acceptance of what is – that Rivers people have taken their stand; that they are tired of brazen deceit by people they had hitherto thought had their interests at heart when all along what mattered to them is that they are worshipped as demigods.
An interesting part of the frenzied celebrations that followed the declaration of incumbent Governor, Nyesom Wike, as Governor-elect was that even before the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the handwriting of the victory was on the wall.
From the gradual fading oppositional vituperations following the theatrical self-inflicted removal of the key opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC), through events leading to the momentary stoppage of the electoral process, and finally to the point at which collation commenced in earnest on April 2, 2019, the signs stood like the directional star.
However, beyond signalling the fulfilment of the wish of majority of Rivers people, the 2019 election in Rivers State also afforded the people, and indeed the world, an opportunity to appreciate what one man can do, just to ensure that his wish supersedes that of a people. It did not matter what price had to be paid.
If the wish cannot be satisfied directly through a legitimate means, illegitimately achieving same in accordance with the Machiavellian principle of the end justifying the means would not make any difference. As far as he was concerned, at this level of political awareness, and a peoples’ hunger for people-oriented dividends of democracy, the best thing for the people is a stooge who would expectedly always do his bidding. How this would have panned out if Wike had not won can only be a topic for another day. The important thing now is the intention behind what was presented to the people.
Another major intrigue of the 2019 elections in Rivers State is the role of security agencies, particularly the military. No matter the denials in military quarters, it will only amount to calling black white, and vice versa.
This is more so going by both what was seen on ground, and the evaluations of notable foreign observers who categorically stated that the involvement of military personnel in many aspects of the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections and the March 9 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections, particularly were not in conformity with international best practice.
This position was unanimously expressed by the European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, the joint international observation mission of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and the Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiative (TIFPI) in their preliminary reports on the elections.
While the action of the military in the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, for whatever reason, may have greatly dented their image, the outcome of the report of the committee set up to investigate the extent of their involvement, and the extent to which recommendations of the report is executed would go a long way in disabusing the minds of the people about what the military has become.
In the face of these and other intrigues, which led to several deaths, Rivers people stood their ground on what they want. At the end of the day, Wike’s victory could not be upturned.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, captured the doggedness of the Rivers spirit thus: “The victory reinforces the confidence of the people in the resoluteness of asserting their democratic choice of leadership as well as standing in defence of their mandate to the end.
“It also demonstrates that the will of the people will always prevail against every form of suppression as were eminently manifested in the desperation by the APC leaders, particularly, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to forcefully and violently take over control of the state against the wish of the people”.
By their support for Governor Wike, therefore, as exhibited by their votes, Rivers people may have also stated in unequivocal terms for the Governor to prove them wrong that second tenures in governance has never been favourable to them. Their experience in the four years preceding 2015 is still fresh in their minds.
The wish of Rivers people is thus for the Governor to move up from being “Mr Quality Project” to “Mr Quality Welfare for Rivers People”, as reflected in the joint congratulatory message to the Governor by the Chairperson of the State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Beatrice Itubo, and her Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Austin Jonah.

 

Soibi Max-Alalibo

Continue Reading

Politics

Of Governance And Clamour For Unicameral NASS

Published

on

Although the heavy cost of maintaining Nigeria’s 469 federal lawmakers has always been a source of concern, “sitting politicians’’ have joined in the campaign for the reduction of the number of federal legislators.
In fact, one of the converts even suggested the scrapping of the Senate, as according to him, it is the House of Representatives that represents.
The converts: Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; Sen. Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo and Chief Osita Chidoka, former Minister of Aviation, made their suggestions at different fora.
Chidoka who advocates for a unicameral legislature, made the suggestion after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2020 budget.
“In Nigeria, we need a unicameral legislature with six members each from the 36 states and two members from FCT.
“The legislature with 218 members will be less than 50 per cent of current members and term limit of three terms.
“The 2020 budget for the National Assembly (NASS) is N125bn, higher than the combined budget of Education N48 billion (excluding UBEC and TETFUND), Health N46 billion and Social Investment N30 billion.
“Reducing National Assembly members by half will provide over N60 billion annually for the social sector, that will be 600 billion over 10 years.”
Chidoka said the new National Assembly would be both efficient and economical.
He described the budget of N125 billion for the National Assembly as “hugely extravagant,” in an economy adjudged to have over 100 million poor people with gross infrastructure deficit.
The former Minister of Aviation said that funds saved from the contraction would be available for investment on policies and projects that would serve the common interest of the greater number of the population.
On his part, Fayemi advocated for the scrapping of the Senate in order to save cost and reduce financial burden on the government.
He also advocated for the adoption of Stephen Orosaye’s report which recommended the merging of federal government’s agencies that perform similar functions.
Fayemi said the type of legislative system that would be more productive for Nigeria in this current economic situation is a unicameral legislature.
“As it stands, the country’s legislative arm consisting of 109 Senate members and a 360-member House of Representatives, on yearly basis gulps millions of Naira.
“We do need to look at the size of government in Nigeria, and I am an advocate for a unicameral legislature.
“What we really need is the House of Representatives because that is what represents.
“You have three senators from little Ekiti and you have three senators from Lagos State, I guess the principle is not proportionality, but that if you are a state, you get it automatically.
“But I think that we can do away with that. There are several things that we can do away within the government,” he said.
Okorocha, the immediate past governor of Imo, now the Senator representing Imo West, on his part called for the reduction in the number of federal lawmakers representing a state.
He suggested that a Senator and three members of House of Representatives should represent each state.
“I want one senator and three House of Representatives members per state, which will cut expenses.
“A Senator and three House of Representatives members can do what many have been doing.’’
He said that the reduction in the number of representatives from the states would help cut cost and ensure effective representation.
While advocating for ways to cut cost and ensure effective representation, Okorocha said he would sponsor a bill that would seek for the reduction of the number of Senators and House of Representatives members for each state.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), has endorsed the suggestions for the reduction of the number of federal lawmakers.
The CNPP via a statement from its Secretary-General, Willy Ezugwu, said Okorocha spoke the truth concerning the need to reduce cost of running the National Assembly.
“The former governor simply told Nigerians the truth when he said what three Senators from a state can do; one lawmaker is capable of handling the same.
“Like Sen. Okorocha asked, what is too sacrosanct that Senators and House of Representatives members are doing that only a Senator per state can not do?’’
Also, two professors of political science at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Jonah Onuoha and Aloysius Okolie, agreed with the advocates for unicameral legislature, which they reiterated would reduce the cost of governance.
Onuoha, who is the Head,  Department of Political Science, said bicameral legislative system is not cost effective, especially in a country like Nigeria, where federal lawmakers receive bogus salaries and allowances.
“It takes huge amount of money to maintain bicameral legislative system, especially in a country like Nigeria where federal lawmakers receive bogus salaries and allowances monthly.
“Bicameral legislative system is not only costly but delays legislative processes of passing bill into law, since the bill will pass through the two chambers.’’
Onuoha, who is also the Director of American Studies in UNN, urged the country to adopt unicameral legislative system as it is cost effective.
“If the country settles for unicameral, the extra money it could have spent in paying salaries, allowances and maintaining the two  chambers which runs into billions can be used to carry out capital projects,” he said.
He said if the country insisted on running bicameral legislative system, the number of lawmakers should be reduced.
Okolie in his contribution said that it was as result of bicameral legislative system that every year the budgetary allocation to the National Assembly had remained the highest.
“I subscribe to opinions in some quarters that the country should adopt unicameral legislative system as it will reduce the cost of running government as well as quicken legislative processes.
“The country is spending much to pay salaries, allowances and maintaining the two chambers — 109 Senators and 360-members of House of Representatives,’’ he said.
Okolie, former Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, UNN branch, also said that as part of measures to reduce cost of running the government, the country should return to the regional structure.
“If we have one federal parliament and one regional parliament in each of the six geo-political zones, it will go a long way in cutting down cost of running the government,” Okolie said.
However, a legal practitioner, Mr Dele Igbinedion, said that people should not clamour for unicameral legislature just for cutting cost, adding that the issue is not whether or not a bicameral legislature is good or bad.
“I believe the bicameral system should remain because it has been proven to be sustainable and necessary. The process of law making is a very serious business which cannot start and end within a short time.
“The problem with the unicameral system which we have at the state level is that a bill can be introduced and passed the same day and sent to the governor for assent.
“This is not the case in the National Assembly; the two chambers must meet and possibly form a joint committee to look at the bill before sending it for presidential assent.
“The rigorous process a piece of legislation has to pass through forms part of the beauty of democracy.
“I think Nigerians should stop looking at the legislature each time there is a slight challenge and asking if we really need that arm of government.
“The judiciary often doesn’t respond to executive excesses, except there is a case it initiates, but in the legislature, a member can raise it as a matter of urgent public importance, national importance or ethics and privileges, and the attention of the parliament can be brought to it.’’
Apparently, Igbinedion was surmising that many state assemblies have become rubber stamps because the governors could easily “conquer’’ them, because it is only a single chamber.
Stakeholders say that unicameral and bicameral legislature have their advantages, but the country should settle for an option that cuts costs and wastages.
Ukoh writes for News Agency of Nigeria(NAN).

 

Obike Ukoh

Continue Reading

Politics

Dickson Dismisses APC Candidates As Militants, Terrorists

Published

on

The Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, has described the the All Progressives Congress (APC), joint ticket of Lyon/Degi for the November 16 Governorship election in the state, as a representation of militancy, terrorism, cultism and criminality.
He emphasized that the APC government after five years at the centre has done nothing in the state but to promote violence in different communities, adding that the consequences of losing election to the APC in the state will be dare to imagine.
Dickson made the revelation during the official inauguration of the gubernatorial campaign teams and secretariat on Tuesday, in Yenagoa.
He said, “Consider what would happen if things were to happen otherwise, none of you will spend a week in Bayelsa State. APC is presenting a ticket of militancy, terrorism, cultism and criminality, it’s going to be a government of criminals and cultist.”
Democracy in Bayelsa State can never turn to a government of militancy and criminals.
As we are formally inaugurating the campaigns, we will also launch “Operation wind APC in Bayelsa.”
“The consequence are too dare to imagine, people will be scared to visit the state , even indigenes will be scared to visit their communities.
“If we don’t take this elections seriously, by 17th the day after the election we should be ready to leave the state. This election is not about the candidate or even me but about the future of our state and our children.
“In 2015, when I was contesting, I saw more than the defection we are seeing today but let me assure us of victory. And don’t be perturbed but that doesn’t mean that we are happy as party leaders are decamping but victory will be ours at the end.”

Continue Reading

Politics

Okowa Inaugurates 42-Member State Advisory Council

Published

on

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State yesterday inaugurated a 42-member State Advisory and Peace Building Council with a charge on the members to sustain and deepen the peaceful atmosphere in the state.
The council has  Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, former Minister of Information, as Chairman.
Okowa named former state Deputy Governors – Chief Benjamin Elue and Prof. Amos Utuama – and Prince Sam Obi, Chief Chris Agbobu, Alawei Brodrick Bozimo, Brig.-Gen. B. Demeyeibo (rtd), Chief Mike Adiotomre and Chief Ignatius Agidi as members.
Other members included Chief Patrick Egone, Mr John Nwagimeje, Sen. Stella Omu, Mr Paul Enebeli, Sen. Patrick Osakwe, Dr.(Mrs) F. Nwaeze, Prof. E.C. Nwanze, Dr Pius Sinebe, Chief Joseph Ejigba, Chief Eddie Sorhue and Chief (Mrs) Esther Uduehi.
Also, Chief E.D. Oborfukoro, Chief Robert Ejifoma, Pa. John Edah, Chief Roland Oritsejafor, Chief E. E. Ebimani, Chief Judith Enamuotor, Rev. Gideon Oyibo, Mr Joseph Ikhena, Chief Denis Etaluku, Prof. Sam. Ukala, Chief Jonathan Uyeri and Chief Samuel Okoro are members.
Other members are Mrs Felicia Ajagu, Mrs Theodora Giwa-Amu, Mrs Felicia Sani, Rev. Oke Akokotu, Elder Ayo Odonmeta, Chief Emmanuel Okumagba, Rear Adm. Mike Onah (rtd), Chief Magaret Unukegwo, Mrs. Grace Boyo and Rt. Rev. Justus Mogekwu.
According to the governor, the inauguration is part of the State Government’s effort to further strengthen the wheel of governance in the state.
“As a way of tapping from the wealth of experience of our people, it is necessary to reconstitute the Delta State Advisory and Peace Building Council through the appointment of these men and women of tested integrity and exemplary character.
“Let me reiterate that the appointment of the members of the council is not based on any political consideration whatsoever,” he said.
He charged the council to bring their experiences to bear on their function and create environment to deepen the peace between the state executive and other arms of government.
Okowa charged the council ensure harmony between Delta government and the Federal Government and other international bodies.
He called on the citizens to give the council the needed support and corporation to succeed while thanking the members for accepting to serve.
“I urge all of you to bring your wealth of experience to bear on this appointment,” Okowa said.
Responding on behalf of the council, Oyovbaire thanked the governor for the appointment and pledged their resolve to deliver on the assignment.
Also in an interview, Rev. Mogekwu said the appointment was a call to service, adding that the council would not betray the confidence reposed on it to sustain and deepen the peaceful atmosphere in the state.

Continue Reading

Trending