After a long wait for President Muhammadu Buhari to pick ministers for his second term in office, he eventually did so with the presentation for screening by the Senate, a complement of 43 nominees, comprising 36 men and seven women; none of whom was less than 35 years of age. The list indicated that 11 of the previous ministers were returning, while 32 new ones are coming on board. Five states had two nominees each and the rest were availed just one nominee each. Expectedly, the list attracted mixed reactions from Nigerians and foreigners alike as some of its features were simply inexplicable even by the most intrepid political pundits in the country.
For the Rivers State, the story was not different as the sole nominee – Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, did not attract less concern – both for his supporters and those who had crossed his path with bitter experiences in the past along his political trajectory, as one of the most privileged Nigerians to occupy public office serially, at both state and national levels. It was therefore not difficult for questions to arise over what the Rivers State will face in Buhari’s second term, with Amaechi as the minister representing the state.
Concern over Amaechi’s proclivities as minister in Buhari’ second term could not have been raised better than by the Senate Minority Leader – the erudite Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, (representing Abia East) who during the ministerial screening last week, and in very clear terms, advised the former that as Minister he is to serve the entire country “including Rivers State”. Abaribe went on to appeal to the nominee that as Minister from and representing the Rivers State, Amaechi should see himself as a critical stakeholder in the entrenchment and sustenance of peace and progress in the state. To round off his message to Amaechi, Abaribe urged him not to forget the revitalisation of the Eastern Corridor of the country’s railway system which starts from Port Harcourt and runs across the South East and all through to the North East of the country.
The circumstance under which the Senator from Abia State was constrained to lecture a ministerial nominee from Rivers State on the benefits of peace in the latter’s own state, may seem out of place.
However, at the risk of sounding immodest but with no pun intended, it can be stated here that Amaechi had by his acts of commission and omission in the past, wittingly earned for himself the odious image of an incubus, that is determined to destroy whatever he fails to control in the state.
This self-serving agenda of his, manifested at least in several areas of interface between the Federal Ministry of Transportation which he served as its head in the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari, and is likely to be re-posted there for the second term. While the universal homily holds that “Charity begins at home”, Amaechi seemed to have reversed it with a mindset of “Charity begins abroad and dies at home”.
As an individual who the good people of Rivers State honoured specially with the rare privilege of serving unprecedentedly as Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly for two terms of eight years, and as governor for another two terms of eight years, the least to be expected from him was to lead in the transformation of the state to the next level in development, by utilising any opportunity he finds at his disposal, beyond his tenures in the previous elevated public offices. To accentuate his humongous indebtedness to the state was that even his elevation to the office of Minister, was facilitated during his tenure as governor of the Rivers State.
However, rather than meet public expectation with respect to building up the state as a partner in progress with the succeeding administration of Nyesom Wike, he elected to operate as a reducing agent as far as any of the goodies from the federal government that was designated for the Rivers State is concerned. A stock taking exercise on the ‘contributions’ to Rivers State by Amaechi as Minister of Transportation during Buhari’s first term will not exclude the avoidable collapse of the two major seaports of Port Harcourt and Onne, the blight of the Eastern Railway Corridor and the shenanigans surrounding the remodelling of the Port Harcourt Airport – all under his ministry.
Against the backdrop of the foregoing, Amaechi’s re-appointment by Buhari as minister representing Rivers State in the second term in office, does not just elicit concern, but is seen by many as essentially ominous, thereby putting the federal government on the block to assuage the fears around such a dispensation, within the state and elsewhere. It is not out of place to appreciate that even Abaribe’s Senate floor appeal to Amaechi, not to forget the revival of the Eastern Corridor of the country’s railway system, is associated remotely or otherwise, with this fear.
Yet, Amaechi does not need to carry, and has nothing to benefit from carrying continuously, the toga of a vindictive spoilsport in Buhari’s second term. All he has to do is to be friendly to the government and people of the Rivers State. In fact, by so doing, he will not only atone for his sins against the state, but also prove most eloquently, that President Buhari does not harbour any malevolent agenda for the state, in his second term.
State Of The Nation: PDP Takes Protest To Foreign Embassies …Insists Buhari, APC Threat To Democracy
For the second time in the past three weeks, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, took its protest to the embassies of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and France, condemning among other things, what it termed, threat to democracy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The protest, which took off from the party’s National Presidential Campaign Headquarters, Maitama, Abuja, attracted key members of the National Working Committee (NWC), led by National Secretary of the party, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri.
At the European Union Embassy, Tsauri, who stood in for the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, flayed the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for allegedly constituting itself a clog in the wheel of the nation’s electoral progress since it first assumed office in 2015.
In a petition submitted by its leadership, yesterday, the party urged the international community to press on the government of President Buhari to preserve democratic institutions in the land at all cost even as they reminded them that most of their reports on election observations in the country recently showed in decline in the preservation of democratic ethos.
Addressing newsmen after the submission of the petition at the European Union, Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party, Senator Suleiman Nazif, expressed the party’s dissatisfaction at what he called the takeover of the Judiciary and the judicial arms of government by the APC-led government.
He said, “We are not happy, we are not satisfied with the way democracy is being run in Nigeria. We have come here to complain because we have realized that the National Assembly is being intimidated by the Executive.
“The Judiciary is being arm-twisted, the rule of law has become a mockery and we thought it wise to come and lay our complaint because they no longer listen to anybody and that is why the PDP decided to reach out to the international community to lay complaint with respect to the electoral act that has not been accented to up till now.
“You are aware of the systematic collapse in our electoral processes, the way elections are being conducted. In Kogi, we saw what transpired in the last election. Nigerians have seen for themselves what the opposition party is going through.
“We saw what happened in Bayelsa, we saw what happened in Imo with respect to the Supreme Court judgement and we are calling for a review of that judgement and we believe that with the amount of pressure from intentional organisations, I think the right thing would be done”.
On his part, Tsauri said, “Democracy is being derailed in this country. Democracy in Nigeria has been built on five pillars: the media, the electoral empire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agents, the Judiciary, and the international community. These are the pillars that support democracy in Nigeria. If one of these pillars collapses, democracy will derail on that side.
“Out of the five, only two are left. The electoral umpire is compromised, you all know it. Security agents are part and parcel of APC government. Judiciary is being threatened and nobody has any confidence in the Judiciary again.
“The only one that is now left is the media and the international community. The international community, any where there is going to election, they go and monitor. They bring in their reports and most of these reports are negative.
“This is why we came to the international community to tell them that this is the expectations of Nigerians from them and we want them to do exactly what is expected of them to do.
“In Nigeria today, if you talk about security, it is zero. When Buhari came into government, he said that he was going to fight corruption, he was going to intensify effort on the economy and then security but none is working now. This government does not listen to any voice except the international community. That is why we are here”.
However, the officials of the three embassies failed to make statements after receiving the part’s petition.
Also, in the protest march were the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, National Woman Leader, Hajia Maryam Waziri and the National Youth Leader, Hon. Stanley Udeh-Okoye, amongst others.
RSG Begins E-Registration Of Businesses …As Nsirim Heads C’ttee On Investment Promotion
The Rivers State Ease of Doing Business Council headed by the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has taken far reaching decisions to give impetus to the mandate given to the council by the State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said that with effect from yesterday, an e-Registration Platform for all businesses in Rivers State has been put in place to ensure that all businesses in the state come under one database.
According to him, a help desk has also been established in the office of the deputy governor in line with the decision.
He further disclosed that the Ease of Doing Business Council also set up an Investment Promotion Committee headed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim.
Other members of the committee include, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Nwankpa, Chairman, House Committee on Commerce and Industry, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Ezu Chibudhom, and President, Nigerian Entrepreneur and Investment Forum, Engr. Dozie Abajue.
2021 AFCON: NFF Moves S’Eagles’ Games From Benin
After several weeks of speculations, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), May have shelved the idea of playing Super Eagles first international match of the year at the refurbished Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, Edo State.
The refurbished stadium with a sitting capacity of 19,500 stands as one of the best in the country today and is equipped with modern facilities.
The venue was due to be formally opened with the Super Eagles’ Day-four match of the ongoing AFCON 2021 qualifying round clash with Sierra Leone on the 22nd of March, 2020.
However, it has been confirmed from a top official of the Glass House in Abuja that the ancient city of Benin which last staged Super Eagles match in 2011 against Boswana which ended goalless with Late Stephen Okechukwu Keshi in charge of his first match as gaffer, may have to wait for another time.
“We have a strong bond with Edo State Government and this explained why we’ve had many events in Benin lately but due to some reasons, this important match against Sierra Leone will not hold in the new stadium,” the top official told our source in a telephone chat last night.
With Benin no longer in sight, the NFF is looking in the direction of either the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State or Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Both stadiums hosted Super Eagles’ matches in the past. Uyo Stadium in particular was were Eagles secured their qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia
The Asaba ground became new home to the Super Eagles lately following the massive support the team enjoy from Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Delta bankrolled the sent forth match for the Super Eagles to the last AFCON tournament in Egypt where they claimed the bronze medal.
Although no clear reason was given for why NFF decided to move the Sierra Leone game from the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, our checks revealed that it may have something to do with the forth coming National Sports Festival (NSF) which the state will host next month to early April.
Physical infrastructure needed for the games are being completed at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium with base for the track being laid, as the football pitch is ready. Work at the tennis section is completed, while the swimming pools are being furnished.
Organisers of the festival have scheduled the football events at other designated venues leaving the edify to stage only track and field events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
With the Uyo and Asaba as options for Eagles, NFF has at least two weeks to communicate the new venue to CAF as well as the visiting team in accordance with the tournament rules and regulations
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