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Let There Be Reconciliation

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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.

 

Tonye Ikiroma-Owiye

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PDP Women Protest, Demand Justice For Slain Party Leader

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Women stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday, protested to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Abuja, demanding justice for Mrs Salome Abuh who was killed in Kogi State.
Mrs Abuh, the PDP Women Leader of Ochadamu Ward in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State, was murdered in her house on November 18 in a post-election violence.
The women led by PDP National Women Leader, Hajiya Mariya Waziri, told newsmen that they would not rest or relent until justice was secured for the deceased.
“Today, Nigerian women have gathered to continue our mourning and agitation over the death of an innocent woman, our sister, friend and mother, Mrs Abuh who was killed in cold blood in Kogi for participation in politics.
“We are here today to find answers to these nagging questions: Why are the murderers of our sister Mrs Abuh who are well known in their community still walking free?
“How long will justice continue to be delayed and denied for Mrs Abuh?
Who killed Salome Abuh? Who killed Abuh, this innocent mother?” she asked.
Waziri said that no mother deserved to be killed in cold blood, not even after enduring the pains and strife of motherhood.
The national woman leader described the killing as the ‘height of humiliation’, suppression of women in Nigeria, and a huge setback for women participation in politics.
Waziri called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take major action that would bring the perpetrators to justice, while also calling on Nigerians to raise their voices in solidarity for justice for Abuh.
Executive Secretary of NHRC, Mr Tony Ojukwu, receiving the protesting women, said that the Commission commiserated with them in their moment of grief.
Ojukwu said while it was expected that Nigeria’s elections should be improving, unfortunately the improvement in the electoral system in the past seemed to have been rolled back during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
“Everybody has attested to this. It behoves on all of us to make sure that we take steps to deepen our democracy in making sure that things like this did not go unchecked.”
Ojukwu said that was why Justice Uwaise electoral reform committee advocated that an Electoral Offences Commission be established to ensure that electoral offenders were tried and prosecuted for justice to prevail.

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Abia IPAC To Formulate Dev Plan For Good Governance

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The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Abia State says it would develop a 25-year development plan that could facilitate good governance and overall transformation of the state.
The Chairman of the council, Mr Ceekay Igara, said this last Wednesday, when he unveiled the newly elected officials of the council to newsmen in Umuahia.
Igara said that as the name implied, IPAC should advice the ruling Peoples Democratic Party on the best ways to administer the state.
“We want to join hands with the ruling party to develop the major cities of Umuahia, Aba and Ohafia with the development plan we shall produce.
“We cannot continue to do one thing the same way and expect a different result.
“IPAC is not supposed to play the role of opposition. Our role is advisory and we shall be advising rather than fighting the government.
“If we fight the government, then the citizenry will suffer because fighting will stall development, “ Igara said.
He said that his leadership was determined to do things differently from what obtained in the past, using different strategies to achieve result.
He said that as a major stakeholder in the affairs of the state, IPAC would evolve a robust plan to guide the government to ensure that it delivered the dividend of democracy to the people.
He said that the new leadership would devise new techniques of getting its advice across and acceptable to the government.
Igara said that IPAC under his watch would educate and reorientate the chairmen of all the political parties on ways to meet the people’s expectations.
He said that the council would establish effective communication with traditional institutions and religious organisations to sensitise and mobilise the citizenry for their active participation in the electoral process.
He wondered why less than half-a-million of the two million registered voters in the state voted in the 2019 polls and blamed the development on people’s apathy and lack of confidence in the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission to discharge its duties creditably.

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Public Hearing: Atiku Decries Congestion In Higher Education Sector

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Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, has said that Nigeria’s higher education sector is overburdened by population growth.
He suggested the establishment of more tertiary institutions across the country to cope with the country’s growing population.
He stated this at a public hearing on a bill to establish Modibbo Adama University Yola, held at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja yesterday.
The bill which passed second reading in the Senate on November 13 seeks to convert the Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTech) Yola, a mono-disciplinary institute to a multi-disciplinary and engaging institution of higher learning.
Abubakar said that the higher education sector was also overburdened by a significant youth bulge.
“More than 60 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 24 years; almost one in four Sub-Saharan people reside in Nigeria, making it Africa’s most populous country.
“From an estimated 42.5 million people at the time of independence in 1960, Nigeria’s population has more than quadrupled to 186,988 million people in 2016 (UN projection).
“The United Nations anticipates that Nigeria will become the third largest country in the world by 2050 with 399 million people,’’ Atiku said.
The former vice-president said that with such projections, Nigeria’s exponential population growth was exerting immense pressure on the country’s resources and overstretching public services and infrastructure.
Abubakar further explained that record from Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) indicated a wide disparity between the number of applications and the actual number of successful admission in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
He said that converting MAUTech Yola to a conventional university would expand the chance of qualified candidates to get placement beyond the limited confines of engineering and sciences.
“The conversion of the university to a conventional university which in addition to courses in science and technology will have the mandate to run courses in medicine, pharmacy, law, the arts and social and management sciences, among others.
“This indeed is the surest way to accelerate access, quality, relevance and equity for our people in Adamawa.
“I formally join fellow compatriots in the advocacy for the conversion of the university from a specialised entity to a conventional one,” Abubakar said.
He, however, appealed to members of the National Assembly to review the law on compulsory basic free education, alleging that the funds given to states to develop education were being diverted.
Sponsor of the bill Sen. Aishatu Dahiru (APC-Adamawa Central) said that the world was moving from mono-disciplinary institutions to multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary institutions of learning.
“In keeping with this, it will also have well-grounded students of technology with knowledge of the social sciences and humanities and not just technology robots,’’ she said.
In his remark, Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TetFund Sen. Ahmad Kaita, said that the institution would provide the much needed technical knowhow that would aid the country’s technological advancement.
President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan while declaring the public hearing open said that the institutions were central to the growth and development of the much needed workforce in the country.
Lawan who was represented by the Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege said that the institution would be useful to the proposed catchment areas of Adamawa.

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