In the realm of politics, when a man only sees himself as the centre of attraction and believes with arrogance that his actions are always right, then, he is yet to come out of his induced fantasy island.
Just recently in his Easter message, immediate past Governor of Rivers State and the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi called on Rivers people to fix the problems of the state irrespective of party affiliations. He also called on Rivers people to pray for forgiveness and stressed that the state is always in the news for the wrong reasons.
However, a critical look into the message as a whole leaves much to be desired, as his actions from 2015 during the twilight of his administration to date have not left anything encouraging to the discerning mind.
In May 2015 as a sitting governor, he refused to set up a transition committee to handle the handover process of the reins of government to his would-be successor, Chief Nyesom Wike and left the Government House porous and unsafe which resulted in the vandalisation and massive looting of government property.
Furthermore, his utterances from that period down to the just-concluded 2019 general elections heightened the security situation in the state in which many lives were lost.
Up till now as a former governor of the state who ruled for eight years and a serving minister, he has not deemed it fit to send message of condolence nor visit the families of those who died in the just-concluded general elections.
Yes, there is need for reconciliation, building a better society and putting an end to gangsterism and the security problems in Rivers State. But the solution does not lie with the common man on the street alone, but also the elite of which he, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi belongs.
Security-wise, the last presidential election in Rivers State was so bad that the people of the state wished that if that was how elections were to be held, then, nobody is safe any longer ….and the problem could be traced to the role played by him.
So, when his message harps on forgiveness, we believe that the former governor should also lead by example by first of all paying a brotherly visit to his successor, Chief Nyesom Wike at Government House in Port Harcourt.
In every democratic society, there are always disagreements between political parties, individuals and interest groups, yet the problems are managed in a civilised way but in most parts of Africa and especially in Nigeria, this is not always the norm as those who lose out in the quest for power are mean and vindictive for the rest of their lives thereby creating more problems for the society.
Some examples will suffice. In Kenya, shortly after independence, President Jomo Kenyatta and his greatest opponent, Odinga Odinga were always at loggerheads. In Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, Angola, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, etc, political opponents were either jailed, killed, victimised or sent on exile. Where these did not play out, a civil war erupted; all because of irreconcilable differences or greed for power.
In essence, for peace to prevail in Rivers State, Amaechi should imitate the example of the Late Joshua Nkomo of Zimbabwe who despite losing out in the election of 1980, later reconciled with Robert Mugabe all in the interest of peace.
What the people of Rivers State need is peace and this can only come about if those who lost out in the power struggle in the state heed the call of Governor Nyesom Wike to join him in ensuring the speedy development of the state as well as building and sustaining the existing peaceful environment.
The bickering and acrimony due to political differences had gone on for too long and what is needed now is new direction devoid of pettiness by all political gladiators.
Rivers State belongs to all of us, and we should see ourselves as Rivers people first before we can be categorised as members of a political party.
From 1999 to date, Rivers people have lost prominent sons to political differences and those that pilot our affairs should sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk on how to develop the state. The challenges we face as a minority are quite enormous. A lot of young people are without jobs, most of the manufacturing companies have left the state over ten years ago, no new one have replaced them for now.
What we should all work towards is how to ensure that more investors are attracted into the sate to ensure that the teeming unemployed population is reduced to the barest minimum.
Amaechi has made his call but that is not enough unless he marches his words with action. For him to be taken seriously, he should not hesitate to make the first move and tell all Nigerians that he is now a statesman and has grown beyond the partisan level of politicking, this is because when the founding fathers of Rivers state fought for its creation, they did not envisage a situation whereby prominent sons and daughters of the land will have disagreements at the detriment of the state.
As a Minister of the Federal Republic, his tenure will one day elapse, then, after that what next? For the people of the state to hold him in high esteem despite the problems associated with his style of politics, now is the time for him to do the needful by visiting Governor Wike and have either breakfast, lunch or dinner with him and hold a joint news conference that all is well; it is only then and then that we will know that his call for reconciliation and forgiveness is truly from the heart and not just a political rhetoric.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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