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Politics Of A Presidential Team And S’South Dev

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The meeting was originally scheduled and publicised to hold on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and apparent regional headquarters of the South-South geo-political zone. It was, however, botched and some illogical explanations advanced by the Presidency following a barrage of protestations and a demand for an unreserved apology from the Federal Government by governors, governments and peoples of the region.
Exactly one week later, on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, the meeting between the presidential delegation headed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and a cross section of leaders of the region was reconvened at the Rivers State Government’s seat of power, this time around, without much pre-event promotional publicity that attended the ill-fated one.
Alongside the Chief of Staff on the presidential team were the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, Minister of State for  Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Power, Goddy Agba, Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo,  Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the Director General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Magaji Bichi and the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, amongst others.
Conspicuously absent was the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s express directive for all cabinet ministers from the region to be part of the delegation.
In attendance on the side of the South-South region were Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State (who is also the chairman of the South-South Governors Forum)  and other stakeholders like the National chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Idongesit Nkanga.
While there is no indication yet whether the presidency offered the apology earlier demanded by the South-South stakeholders or that the leaders of the region insisted on it, the meeting obviously sailed smoothly.
Intended to identify and deal with latent fundamental issues with the potential of re-enacting the ill-fated #ENDSARS nationwide protests, the meeting, which had also held in other regions of the country, lived up to its billing as it afforded the South-South region’s leaders the opportunity to present nagging socio-political and economic concerns of the people.
Making the presentation on behalf of the governors and peoples of the region, the chairman of the South-South Governors Forum and Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa demanded the restructuring of the Nigerian Federation to align with the principles of true federalism as a guarantee for peace, security and political stability of the nation.
According to Governor Okowa, only the practice of “True federalism guided by the principle of derivation, revenue sharing and control of resources by each state of the federation as it was the case in the First Republic” would meet the aspiration of the people.
“We are all aware of the huge endowment of this country. As such, it is imperative to stress that with a little bit of effort, imagination, hard work, sacrifice and leadership, every state of the federation, as of today, has the ability and capability to contribute to the national purse. This should be encouraged rather than the whole country depending substantially on a region of the country.
“What is worse and even more painful in this ugly situation is the deliberate lack of understanding, empathy and the uncompromising attitude of some Nigerians, who have refused to understand the challenges of the South-South region of the country, especially, the degradation of the environment and our waters. As a result, most of the demands of the region have remained unattended to while the resources of the region have been used continually to develop other parts of the country”, he said.
While reiterating the agitation for the relocation of the headquarters of all oil multi-nationals operating in the country and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) subsidiaries from Lagos and Abuja to the South-South region, Okowa urged the immediate implementation of the consent judgement delivered in the Supreme Court suit No: SC/964/2016 to enable the South-South region get its share of $55 billion shortfall of collection of deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contracts.
The Governor of Delta State underlined the commitment of the South-South region to the restructuring of Nigeria in a way that guarantees fiscal federalism and devolution of powers to the states to create and manage their own police and security architecture under a federal structure.
He further demanded the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri Seaports in order to enhance the economic development of the region while asking for the immediate privatisation of the Federal Government owned refineries in Port Harcourt and Warri with the states in the region considered for considerable equity in fairness and justice.
In fact, the presentation is captured succinctly in a seven-point demand viz:
1. Immediate relocation of headquarters of oil multinationals to their operational bases in the South-South region.
2. Immediate relocation of government-owned oil subsidiaries from Lagos and Abuja to the South-South region.
3. Immediate completion of the East-West Road under construction.
4. Immediate privatization of the two refineries in Port Harcourt and the one in Warri for efficiency.
5. Release of all funds due the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and that henceforth, all NDDC projects be executed in consultation with State governors.
6. The reactivation of seaports in Calabar, Port Harcourt and Warri, including the realisation of the Lagos – Calabar rail line.
7. The implementation of true federalism, resource control, fair revenue sharing and state police as the way to achieving a better Nigeria.
While promising to present the demands of the region to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Gambari said that beyond the #ENDSARS issues, President Buhari acknowledges that the citizens in the region have also been dealing with other peculiarities such as the degradation of the environment due to decades of neglect, mishandling and non-adherence to environmental sustainability standards.
Many  people in the region have since expressed mixed feelings with regard to the meeting as some hold that there was nothing new about the demands and all that was needed to make a difference in the socio-economic fortunes of the people of the region and engender peace, stability and development was the political will to implement the age – old demands.
The question is: What hope is there that this meeting will bring any succour to the suffering people of the oil rich region?
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has already pointed out that much of what is being demanded can only be achieved through a constitutional amendment. However, there are a whole lot of others that can be achieved through the exercise of political will by the President and commander- in-chief of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
For example, while it is true that such issues as resource control, devolution of power and the like may not be achievable by a Presidential Fiat, the completion of the East-West Road, the revamping of the seaports and related others can be done by executive intervention  and policy reorientation.
Indeed, the governors and those who represented the people of the region did not make any fresh demands from the Federal Government. They merely repeated what had been the main thrust of the heart cry of the people  through the activities and presentations articulated and enunciated over the years by such groups as the Ijaw National Congress (INC), the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities (TROMPCOM) and sundry ethnic nationalities, associations and personalities at various official and non-formal fora.
All said and done, the people of the South-South are not asking for special favours from the Nigerian Federation. All they ask of the Nigerian State is fairness, equity, justice and inclusion. And these are the ingredients for a stable and sustainable polity.
By: Opaka Dokubo
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Anambra Guber Poll: PDP Chieftain Tasks Aspirants On Manifestoes

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Ahead of November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in the state has advised interested party members in the election to sell their manifestoes to the public, and not to the national secretariat of the party.
A contestant for the Zonal Women Leader of the South-East PDP, Amb. Juliet Anaeme, gave the advice in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by her Media Consultant, Soji Bamidele.
She recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had scheduled Anambra governorship election for November 6 and the period should not be seen as long for adequate preparations to achieve success.
“I call on the aspirants in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election to showcase their manifestoes, programmes and grassroots capacity not to the party’s national headquarters but to Anambra people on how they intend to govern the state when elected.
“This is because it is the people of Anambra that will vote and not Abuja connections that will vote any aspirant as the governor of the state.
“I call on the party also not to work against the will of the people of Anambra so as not to allow the ticket to be driven by the highest bidder aspirant against the will of people,’’ she said.
According to her, if PDP candidate cannot win Anambra, automatically the ticket becomes useless.
“So the big question remains that after you must have got the party’s ticket, what next are you going to do with it.
“There is always a winner and not winners when it comes to governorship election, nothing such as second position and the only way of becoming the winner is by venturing into grassroots mobilisation and getting closer to the voters,’’ she advised.
She also noted that PDP relied on the masses’ votes, advising the aspirants to identify with the grassroots, especially the students and groups to feel the pulse of the people.
According to her, party members ought not to wait until they have the party’s ticket to begin mobilisation in the grassroots to have a resounding success and victory in the election.
She further urged the executives of PDP in the state to, as a matter of urgency, put in place an internal mechanism that could bring all hands on deck to ensure the party’s victory in the November 6 governorship election in the state.

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C’River CP Vows Not To Dabble Into Politics

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The New Commissioner of Police, in Cross River State, CP Sikiru Kayode Akande has said that he will not dabble into politics.
Speaking to newsmen in Calabar, Cross River State Capital, CP Akande said he was in the state as Commander Mopol 11 and vowed not to dabble into Politics.
On what he would not like to do, the CP said he will not dabble into politics and that he was not going to replace wrong for right or right for the wrong
The CP said the Command would use technology to look at crimes in Cross River State so that crimes can be identified and tackled immediately.
On the operation of a Security Outfit code name ‘Operation Akpagu’ introduced by the Cross River State Governor, CP Okande said “I am studying the operational plan of Operation Akpagu.
“It came into existence before I came, one thing I know, I have told the Governor, if we want internal security to be 100%, give all that you have to the police”
“If you look at the headquarters, it is as old as Nigeria itself, when you go around, you observe that the oldness seems to have affected the ways we are doing things.
“I have mandated my Provost to take a structural appraisal of all that we have. I saw the PRO’s office, that building should be like about 100 years and it should be in the National Achieve.
The CP, however, regretted that the State Government was not providing adequate assistance to it, “All the DPOs are complaining that they don’t have operational vehicles, what do you want them to do, the moment you give us what we want we will clear everywhere the moment, we are empowered”.

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Ondo: OPC News Era Lambasts Presidency

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The Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) New Era has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to allow Governor Rotimi Akeredolu fix the security situation in his state.
OPC New Era made this disclosure while reacting to a statement credited to Mr. Garba Shehu Special Assistant to President Muhamadu Buhari on Media and Publicity.
It will be recalled that Akeredolu had given an ultimatum to herdsmen to vacate Ondo forests.
Shehu in his reaction however said that Akeredolu does not have the power to do so.
But, National Publicity Officer of OPC New Era, Comrade Adesina Akinpelu, while reacting, hinted that the group is ready to mobilise all militant groups in the South Western States of the country in favour of Akeredolu.
Akinpelu who spoke with newsmen in Ibadan yesterday condemned in totality the reactions of Buhari’s spokesman on the ultimatum given by Akeredolu to the unregistered herdsmen grazing on the soil of Ondo.
Akinpelu added that Yorubas both at home and in the diaspora should not allow the struggle of their leaders to be in vain.
He said, “Why is it that President Buhari is only responsive to issues that concern the Fulani more than other tribes in the country.”
Akinpelu disclosed that when the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti was allegedly killed by the Fulani kidnappers, there was no tangible response from the Federal Government except a condolence letter sent to the family without any action to fish out the killers.
Akinpelu, however, disclosed that all militant groups in the Southwest will be mobilised to defend Akeredolu and the entire Yoruba speaking states.
Akinpelu hinted that it was obvious that the herdsmen have President Buhari as their patron.
“During the reign of the former governor of Oyo State, late Lam Adesina, Buhari rushed down to Oyo State when a crisis erupted between the Fulani and Yoruba people, and that was an indication that President Buhari maintained a bond with the Fulani herdsmen.

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