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As Jonathan Heads Presidency

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A celebrated philosopher of his time, Zig Ziglar once said, “success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have”. Ziglar’s philosophical  statement aptly describes the success story of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, especially his recent ascension to the position of president of the country.

Right from his good old days as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Jonathan has left no one in doubt that he has all it takes to utilize, to the best of his ability, any opportunity that comes his way to the glory of God and service to humanity.

Indeed, penultimate Thursday, May 6, 2010, was yet another red-letter-day in the history of Nigeria, the  acclaimed giant of Africa. On that fateful day, Jonathan was sworn-in as the President and Commander-in Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces at the council chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, at about 9.30am.

As it were, Jonathan’s swearing-in was as a result of the demise, on Wednesday night, at about 9.00pm, of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua aged 58, after a protracted heart disease called “acute pericarditis”, the inflammation of the outer layer of the heart.

Addressing Nigerians shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, President Jonathan listed what could be termed the agenda of his administration, prominent among which is the desire to ‘intensify efforts at sustaining peace and development in the Niger Delta region”.

As Jonathan, an indigene of Bayelsa State,  a core state in the Niger Delta region, takes over as President of this country, there cannot be a better time than now to take pragmatic steps to accelerate the development of the region. Undoubtedly, this will convince the poor indigenes about the commitment of the Jonathan-led administration to the socio-economic transformation of the  long-neglected Niger Delta area.

Happily, with the relative peace being witnessed in the region now, following the amnesty programme, mid-wifed by late President Yar’Adua, there are very strong indications that the oil-rich Niger Delta region would begin to witness concrete steps in terms of projects delivery than mere talk shops.

Sadly, the politics of the development of the Niger Delta area had, for too long, been lingering with the region being enveloped in under-development. Therefore, Nigerians and indeed, Niger Deltans would be sleeping with their eyes open to see what the Jonathan –led regime has in stock for the region.

Being a Niger Deltan, and a former Bayelsa State Governor, Jonathan is certainly not a stranger to the problems of the oil-producing communities in the area. Therefore, as president of the country now, it behoves him, to begin to focus on the mega-projects that would, in no distant time, turn things around for the better in the oil-rich region..

What’s more, Jonathan is not a novice to the problems of the area; he knows the terrain very well, and more importantly, he understands the mentality of ex-militants and he is fully abreast of the yearnings and aspirations of his people in the Niger Delta region.

Yes, such credentials are quite necessary because there is really no time for Jonathan to waste on formulating new plans. Well, no one is expecting him to re-invent the wheel to develop the region. The erstwhile Niger Delta Technical Committee, chaired by Ledum Mitee, has already charted the way forwards, as it synthesizes the reports and recommendations of previous bodies set up by successive regimes, ostensibly to develop the neglected region.

To make things more easier, the Jonathan-led administration should, as a matter of urgency, adopt the already (well-laid out) Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan, facilitated by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Again, another sure way to turn things around for the better in the region , is for Jonathan to spear-head (so to speak) the implementation of the Ledum Mitee-led technical committee’s report, as well as the master plan. This appears to be the surest strategy to make an enduring impact in the region within the short time available to Jonathan administration.

Unlike in the past, when communities in the oil-rich region were contented with freebies and tokenism, the stage has come in the struggle for the emancipation of the region where drastic and urgent steps must have to be taken to provide succour for Niger Deltans.

As president of the country now, and a Niger Deltan, Jonathan may be the “Joshua” that would take the long- neglected  Niger Deltans to the ‘Promised Land.” Well, posterity will judge him!.

 

FRIDAY NWINUDEE

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15 Judges Face Probe Over Alleged Misconduct

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No fewer than 15 Judges of the Federal and State High Courts are in trouble over alleged misconduct occasioned by petitions from individuals and corporate bodies.
Already, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has set up high-powered probe panels to investigate alleged gross misconduct allegations brought against them.
The probe panels are to determine the culpability of the judges in the various petitions filed against them.
However, the NJC did not name the judges to be probed, their divisions and specific nature of their alleged offences.
It, however, revealed that the council dismissed petitions against 51 judicial officers of the Federal and State High Courts for either lack of merit, being subjudice, or being matters for appeal or that the concerned judge had retired from service.
A statement by the NJC issued by Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, last Friday, in Abuja, confirmed that the decision to investigate the alleged erring judges was taken at the council’s 99th meeting presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
The decision, the NJC said, was sequel to the submission of recommendations of three Preliminary Complaint Assessment Committees, which considered 66 petitions forwarded to them by the council from all over the federation.
The statement explained that the council was formally presented with the reviewed Judicial Information Technology Policy, which established the general requirements and responsibilities for the Nigerian Judiciary systems and information.
“The policy provides for guidance of Courts and Judicial Bodies in protecting Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (CIA) of Judiciary function and process.
“It also stipulates guidance for acceptable use of system, services and technologies as well as provisions for secure storage of judicial data and recovery processes in the event of emergencies or distress.
“Similarly, it further provides guidelines and incident management policies, including Data Centre deployment and use policies.
“The scope is intended for all Courts and Judicial Bodies in Nigeria, including staff of the Nigerian Judiciary, employed or contracted to any Judicial Body handling information that is generated, received, stored, transmitted, or printed.
“It encompasses all personal or Judiciary identifiable data held in their Courts and Judicial Bodies’ systems and process, including supporting mechanisms and technologies for managing such data at rest or in transit.
“All staff are expected to comply with the policy and associated standard protocols and procedures that have been put in place to support the document.
“The policy is applicable to all courts unit, departments of all Judicial Bodies in the Nigerian Judiciary.
“Council noted appointments of judicial officers recommended for appointment at the last meeting who have been sworn–in as Judges of Federal and State High Courts.
“Reports from Standing and ad-hoc Committees of the Council were also presented at the Meeting as well as notifications of retirement of 16 judges and notification of death of a judge from the Federal and State High Courts,” the NJC said.

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Expose Govs Pilfering LG Funds, Wike Dares Buhari

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has dissociated himself from state governors who dip their hands into local government funds received from the Federation Account.
Wike was reacting to the accusation by President Muhammadu Buhari that governors had continued to deliberately deplete remittances released to various LG councils in their states.
The Rivers State governor, who spoke at the inauguration of Mgbuosimini Ring and internal roads in Rumueme Kingdom of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, last Friday, said the generalisation done by Buhari was unfair.
The governor stated that since 2015, he has never had any reason to tamper with local government funds.
He, therefore, challenged Mr President, as a true leader, to tell Nigerians those governors pilfering council funds.
“You said the governors are taking local government funds. I want to say in the name of almighty God, I have never touched local government funds one day.
“I have never, and I have no reason to do that. So, Mr. President, tell us who are those people. You know them, tell us. It is not good to make class defamation by saying governors. Please, I am not one of those governors.
“So, Mr President, please, spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity Governors are not part of them. We have integrity. And do us a favour to announce all those state governors that are taking local government money because you have the records.”
Wike emphasised that when he was a council chairman under the administration of Dr. Peter Odili, the governor then never touched their funds, adding that that was an example he had continued to practice.
He noted that ordinarily, most of the road projects his administration had constructed should have been done by local government councils, but quickly stressed that he has never asked any council for partnership to fund any project.
“When I was chairman of local government under Dr. Peter Odili, he never touched one Naira of local government funds. When I was chairman, nobody touched my funds, and I see no reason why I will begin to touch other people’s funds.”
Wike explained that his administration had also given optimal consideration to the payment of pension and gratuity.
According to him, over N3billion was spent monthly by the state government to cater for that concern.
Commenting on the Mgbuosimini roads, Wike said the inauguration event was remarkable because he had always enjoyed over 98percent support from the Rumueme Kingdom.
“In Rumueme Kingdom, I have always had 98percent support. And I have told them, there is nothing within my powers that I can do, and I will not do for them.”
The governor recounted that he had sited Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, the Judges’ Quarters, relocated the state’s abattoir from Trans Amadi to the Rumueme Kingdom, as well as elevated the traditional stool to first class status.
“It is the benefit and dividend of democracy. So, you have done well for me. I will never turn my back against you. Rumueme people, God will continue to bless you for all you have done for me in my political career.”
Wike also spoke about the employment into the state civil service soon, and assured Rumueme people of filling their quota.
The governor also urged them to extend their support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara and all senatorial, House of Representatives and State Assembly candidates of the party in the 2023 elections.
Performing the inauguration of Mgbuosimini Ring and internal roads, Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, aligned with Wike that Buhari should name the governors misappropriating local government council funds.
He noted that by delivering such road project to the community, Wike had improved the wellbeing of the people.
“Governor Wike, I want to thank you for setting the pace in project execution. God will bless you. Like has been said, the essence of government, apart from providing security for life and property, is to ensure welfare, which you are doing here.”
Ortom mentioned that commissioning of projects was one virtue he learnt from Wike.
This, he said, has helped him to be more visible and seen to be a governor who delivers projects too.
“One thing that I can say, amongst others, that I have learned from my brother, the governor of Rivers State, is his commissioning of projects. Because if you don’t do it, your enemies will go out there to say this is the project they had done.
“And this is the blackmail that I faced back home in Benue State until Wike told me that look, you have to start commissioning projects.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. Dakorinima Alabo George-Kelly, said the Mgbuosimini Ring and internal roads project was approximately 6km long, with an average width of 7.3meters and 8km of drains length, with 100millimetre asphaltic thickness.
George-Kelly emphasised that the roads were built to last for a long time, and offers such benefits of improving the value of property in the area, ease traffic flow and serve as an alternate traffic route for the people.
In his address, Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Barrister George Ariolu, recalled that before the roads were reconstructed, most businesses and tenants left the community because of the deplorable condition of the roads.
He noted that the situation now, was a return of the bustling commercial activities and delightful socio-cultural life.
Speaking on behalf of the contractor, Ferotex Construction Company, Mr. Jack Afara, said the roads had been done with highest standard of road construction.
He thanked the Rivers State governor for entrusting the company with the project, and several others.

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RVHA Passes 2023 Appropriation Bill Of N555bn

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Less than two weeks after the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, presented the 2023 Budget, the state House of Assembly has passed the 2023 Appropriation Bill after it was adjusted from about N550billion to over N555billion.
The Speaker of the House and who also chairs House Committee on Supplies, Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, during a debate on the bill, last Friday, granted leave to adjust the budget estimate after scrutinising the report submitted by the Chairman, House Committee of Appropriation, Hon. Enemi Alabo George, to accommodate some items not captured in the budget, which include registration of West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for students of Rivers origin and the take off of the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute.
The Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 1, who led the debate on the report of the House Committee on Appropriation, said the House was empowered to make adjustments, where necessary, in the appropriation estimate before passage.
Also, member representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 2 and Chairman, House Committee on Works, Hon Michael Chinda, in his submission, said during the budget defense with MDAs, it was observed that some of the projects listed in the budget by the Ministry of Works in the last budget had not been awarded, and advised that such projects should be awarded or be removed totally from the 2023 budget estimate.
While ruling on the debate, Ibani, said that the budget would enhance more projects for the people of the state.
All members voted for the passage of the budget while the House adjourned sitting to Tuesday.

By: Ike Wigodo

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