To the range of stories twisted out of context and rendered in a scurrilous form to injure the reputation of the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has been added that of his congratulatory message to President Muhamadu Buhari, over the latter’s victory at the Presidential Electoral Petitions Tribunal (PEPT).In the wake of the tribunal’s verdict which dismisses the petition of Abubakar Atiku of the PDP challenging the election of Buhari as President of the country during the February 2019 polls, congratulatory messages flowed to the President from several quarters- most of such coming from stakeholders in his party, the APC. It was in this ambience that Wike also sent his own goodwill message to Buhari- only for his traducers to go to town with venom-laced diatribes against the Rivers State governor. The plank on which the query for congratulating Buhari rested was the different political parties they belonged to. Buhari is of the APC while Wike is of the PDP. In the cauldron of Nigerian politics, elements in opposing political parties are expected to be not only in mortal rivalry but acrimony and even enmity with each other.
Remarkably, Wike‘s response to such attacks featured his characteristic down to earth common sense trivialisation, which often reduces their intended impact to nothing more than the burst of a soap bubble. Hence, to the question of why he congratulated Buhari, Wike argued that politics is a game of interests and that he only acted as it is traditional to give due compliments to a victor in a court battle. This is just as he called on the President to be more altruistic in administering the country – especially in carrying all of its parts along. Where then is the sin in that attitude, one may ask?
Against the backdrop of the flood of misgivings over the verdict by the PEPT, it is trite to observe that many Nigerians would wish the dispensation would simply go away like a bad dream. While the camp of the petitioner, Atiku Abubakar had gone to bed thinking that it had a watertight case, that would reverse the result of the polls and bring their principal to power, they only woke up to be confronted with a judicial outcome that proved unpalatable. As many in the PDP fold rose up in a band wagon pattern to condemn the development, others of the same political persuasion and were more discerning, went beyond the simplistic discredit of the situation to address themselves to the way forward. In the context of the way forward lies the need to de-escalate political tensions and acrimony, which tallies with Wike’s response to Buhari’s victory.
Seen from a detached angle, there are many reasons why a governor that knows his onions needs to congratulate the President over such a judicial outcome which perhaps constitutes the most significant challenge to the President’s tenure in office, difference in party affiliations notwithstanding. Firstly, it demonstrates the governor’s abhorrence for politics with bitterness, since as Wike had clarified earlier that balancing of interests defines the rhythm of political games. What would happen if the governor indulges in the pettiness of keeping malice with President Buhari and two of them meet at any of the statutory fora for leaders of the country? Hence, the wisdom in the cliché that there are no permanent enemies in politics but permanent interests.
Secondly, in the light of the unmistakable anti-Wike crusade in the APC hierarchy both at the Rivers State and national levels, as well as even the Presidency, who knows how much denigration has been visited on his person,and which may be associated with the serial denial of the state of even the statutory refund of funds it spent on federal government projects. This is even with the representation of the state at the highest level of the Federal Government by no less a person than the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi whose considerable clout in the ruling APC is not in doubt. It is public knowledge that the Minister’s personal disposition of acrimony towards Wike has a lot to do with the deprivations of the state, of several dividends from the federal government.
From all indications, the latest anti-Wike diatribe is coming as part of a stream of coordinated salvoes in an agenda of deconstruction which the sponsors are groping for any opportunity to cash in on. Expectedly, therefore, more of such may be coming as the grouse of the detractors may not have been assuaged. In fact, there is every reason to expect that failure of past efforts to deconstruct Wike, may rather embolden these agents of mischief and launch them into more desperate activities.
This is where the spate of venom -attacks on perceived political foes that hardly address issues of development in Nigeria, constitute the demon that needs to be collectively addressed by all well-meaning Nigerians, given their potential to disrupt the processes of governance, by distracting public officials who may be bothered by their virulence. This is also where the typical response by Wike to such salvoes remains eminently elegant as it portrays a man that maintains his cool in the face of provocations.
By the way, beyond level-headedness and calm in the face of storms, where else lies the inner strength of true leadership?
Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate
Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.
Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members
President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”
Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.
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