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Amaechi Town Hall Meeting: The Opobo/Nkoro Response

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When the legendary Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as “Government of the people, by the people;  for the people; uninformed skeptics of his contemporaries mocked has aphorism as balderdash without conventional syntax. Little did they know that the reality of this definition that emphasised on “the people” will survive generations unborn. The fact is that the splendour of democracy is the determination of supreme will of the majority people as embellished by its mass participatory attribute that distinguishes it from all other systems of government.

As the most universally acceptable system of government, it’s stance presupposes good governance based on the doctrines of the rule of law which in prutanity projects equity, transparency, sovereignty and freedom of expression of the citizens as distinct from military dictatorship, where might is right, as survival is only for the fittest through the obnoxious jingle rule of “do or die”. An act which left the vast civil population oppressed and their voices suppressed with the most vitriolic inhumanity hence the clamour for democracy to bring about peace to enhance rapid infrastructural and human capacity development.

Thus the introduction of meet the people tour simply referred to as the “Town Hall Meeting” by the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi-led administration in Rivers State is indeed a welcome development.

The Town Hall Meeting is significant in many respects in that it brings governance nearer to the people by creating an enabling environment whereby the people, especially those in the rural areas could meet with the Governor face-to-face and express their feelings about government.

With this development the people are given the seldom opportunity to massively and freely partake in the governance of the State. This free-for-all interactive session among other things gives the governor first hand information about the people and places to enable him know their immediate and pressing needs and how best they could be addressed.

On the other hand it demystifies the assumed invisibility of politicians once elected into office. It is incontrovertible that many politicians have made themselves unreachable to their people whose mandate they hold as a trust. The wrong signals emitted from such politicians without good intension and vision made some people to often call politics “A Dirty Game” and remain cynical about it.

However, Governor Rotimi Amaechi in his exemplary leadership has disproved the wrong impression by making himself reachable to the people through the town hall meeting. He made it possible to discuss, share ideas and opinion with the rural people in a common forum like members of one family. The town hall meeting in a nutshell is an enlarged political family meeting in which the governor makes every community he visits his home and the people, his own people.           .

Since the inception of the Town Hall Meeting, non performing Chairmen and contractors handling community development projects have started working to justify the huge monthly allocation and mobilisation fees they received. The visit· in many places have exposed chairman and contractors that are performing below expectation through response of the people as it was used to assess the performance of the various councils in developing their communities.

 It is another way the Governor uses to make Chairmen and Councilors give account of their stewardship in their presence for confirmation and otherwise of their people, while in turn he unfolds State projects in the local government areas and same time unveils his administration plans for the benefit of the people.

More importantly, because of the visits, work has resumed in many abandoned projects as contractors that had gone into hiding after receiving mobilisation fee have resurfaced and commenced work; this has risen hope that the once denied dividends of democracy have started reaching the people. In some places the visit has helped to reunite opposing groups within the traditional and political institutions. The groups bury their grievances against one another and unit to give the governor the ovation he deserves and in one voice make request for assistance from the governor who is liberal to assist.

Many local government areas have in so doing attracted extra development projects directly from the Sate Government while some local government councils have been relieved of huge overhead and security costs among other things. The recent town hall meeting with governor Amaechi at Opobo Town, headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area (ONOLGA) was unique as it brought to the fore democracy in action through exhibition of visible dividends of democracy in form of social amenities and long term infrastructural development that would benefit even generations unborn.

The people’s response in testifying to have never had it better than now gives credence that the Maclean Uranta’s administration of the local government council has lived above board in rendering meaningful service to people. His administration has in spite of the not so huge allocation it receives against difficult and expensive geographical terrain has embarked on many projects which include the building of Opubo Hotel to boost tourism and revenue to the council, construction of concrete bridges to link the kala-ama communities of Opobo kingdom, installation of solar powered water projects at Opobo town_ and Nkoro, installation of solar powered water projects at Queen’s town .Others are construction of new office complex, building of staff quarters and internal roads, modern  toilets at Opobo and Nkoro, renovation of the council secretariat, and legislative building, purchase of buses and boats to ease land and water transport, renovating native court at Opobo town as well as offices and staff quarters at Nkoro.

 He also provides regular electricity supply and adequate security services for protection of lives and properties. The Council is also assisting the various health centers to function effectively as well as helping members of National Youth Service Corps posted to the area.

On the State Government part, the Governor announced the award of contract for the construction of eight primary  schools at Ekere-borokiri, kalaibiama, Nkoro town, Queen’s town, kalama, Iwoama Nkoro and two others at Opobo town. On health, he disclosed that work is in progress at health centers at Opobo, Queen’s town and Nkoro) while he had delivered (2000KVA) generator sets at Opobo town in addition to the existing ones.

He promised that the Unity Road projects will soon reach kalaibiama town in Opobo kingdom. He used the occasion to announce to the delight of the people about the competition of landing jetty at Epelema, land reclamation at Opobo town and shore protection projects at Queens town. His visit to Opobo/Nkoro gave him first hand information of how the council spends millions of Naira monthly on security services which he promised to relieve the council of such burden. With this development, money that would have been spent on security by the council could be channeled to other aspects of development.

Condemning violence and militancy he stressed on the need for giving children the opportunity to have good education as to produce the much needed manpower to project the state high in overall developn1ent. One of the major achievements of the Town Hall Meeting was the Governor’s promise that the state government will partner to make the Opobo International Boat Carnival (OIB) a great success. And that it will form part of the state cultural and tourism agenda. So from all indications the Amaechi administration is a blessing in verification.

One good turn, they say, deserves another, and to whom much is given, much is expected. Maclean Uranta has at the council level given much to the people of Opobo/Nkoro; Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has also given much to Opobo/Nkoro people and Rivers State in general. This bears eloquent testimony that the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP) manifestoes is a true statement of assurance for peace and progress of the people and development of the entire State. The peoples-oriented leadership Rivers people have been yeaning for has come through the party; let the people not be  deceived to derail but to continue following the path of peace to enhance rapid ‘infrastructural and human capacity development in the entire State through continuity with PDP and support to the hardworking Governor.        .

Let them reciprocate the good gesture by supporting PDP government at all level with true spirit of patriotism and honesty now and beyond this tenure.  But then, non performing Chairmen, and representatives of the people at various level of parliament should improve their relationships with their people by making themselves available and answerable to their people. They should justify the purpose of the peoples mandate they are holding with execution of constituency projects and empowerment of their people.

Let it be known to them that those they met on their way going up, will be the same people they will meet on their way coming down. The Amaechi humility in service which necessitated the ongoing Town Hall Meeting is the right step in the right direction, which should continue and emulated by other leaders who mean well for their people.

 

Austin Brown

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Islamic Leaders Blame Nigeria’s Woes On Leadership Failure 

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Islamic leaders in Rivers State have blamed the underdevelopment and high level of poverty in Nigeria on greed and bad leadership.
They also  called for an end to the lingering political crisis in Rivers State.
The Islamic clerics who spoke to newsmen  at the just concluded Eidel Fitri prayers at the Port Harcourt Central Mosque, Niger Street, regretted the high level of poverty in the country inspite of the country’s enormous resources.
The Vice President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Awelegbe Uhor, condemned the lingering political crisis in the state, adding that, if not checked, the situation could derail development efforts.
Alhaji Uhor also stressed the need for the various political parties in the state to work with Governor Siminalaye Fubara to move the state foreward.
He said Governor Fubara meant well for the state, adding that Rivers Moslems were beneficiaries of the policies and programmes of the current administration in the state.
Alhaji Uhor, who blamed the ravaging poverty in the country on greed, noted Nigeria has enough resources to make every body rich in the country.
He also said that Nigeria did not need to vote for any president based on religion, adding that moslems and Christians had been ruling the country since independence and the situation had not changed.
Also speaking the leader of Rivers state Moslems, Alhaji Suleiman Akani, warned that Rivers Moslems would not tolerate any impeachment against Governor Fubara.
Alhaji Akani described Governor Fubara as one of the most Moslems friendly governor since the inception of the state.
He said the governor had not neglected the moslems community since the inception of his administration, stressing that some Moslem umars have been sponsored for pilgrimage by the administration.
According to him, “Apart from Odili, this is the most Moslems friendly governor.
We moslems have benefitted so much from the present administration in the state.”
On his part, the Chief Imam of the Port Harcourt Central Mosque, Alhaji Abdul Malik Yahaya, called on Nigerians to cultivate the virtue of love for one another, stressing that the message of Salah was  about love for one another.
He also called on Moslems to show love, not only to fellow Moslems alone, but to  people of other faith as well.
Meanwhile the sole Administrator of the Rivers State Moslem Pilgrims welfare Board, Alhaji Abdul Rasaq Diepriye, has commended Governor Fubara for being the first governor in the country to sponsor Moslems to the Haj.
He said that it was the first time in several years that Rivers Moslems had felt a sense of belonging.
Alhaji Diepriye assured of the continuous support of the Moslem community to the administration.

By: John Bibor

 

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Rivers PDP Chieftain Hails Fubara’s Leadership Qualities

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A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Opobo/ Nkoro Local Government Area, Warisenibo  Tonye Fubara, has described Governor Siminalayi Fubara, his deputy, Prof Ngozi Odu and Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Rt. Hon Edison Ehie, as leaders with unbeatable transformational agenda.
Speaking with newsmen recently in Port Harcourt, Warisenibo Fubara said that they are astute, patriotic and typify leaders with quality mindset Nigerians, especially Rivers people yearn for, as far as purposeful, profit oriented and development -innovative governance is concerned.
He said: “Insecurity, political crisis, hunger and marginalization have become a cankerworms that have eaten deep into the fabrics of the oil and gas -rich state, in particular and the country in general.
He maintained that since Governor Siminalayi Fubara took over the mantle of leadership of the state in May, last year, till now, there has been relative peace across the state, noting that the political crisis in the state orchestrated by some mischief makers and greedy politicians was regrettable.
Warisenibo Fubara, a grassroot mobiliser in Opobo/Nkoro Ward 5, further hailed Governor Siminalayi Fubara, his Deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie for successfully triumphing over dictatorial leadership, describing them as “development pathfinders of our generation.”
He pointed out that Governor Fubara and his team were committed in the task of governing the state in the best interest of the state and  its people, not minding the negative and unproductive distractions of those who do not wish the state and its people well.
Meanwhile, Warisenibo Tonye Fubara has enjoined Rivers people to support Governor Siminalayi Fubara to provide the needed democratic dividends for all and sundry, adding that they should stand their ground to resist any attempt by the Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule -led Rivers State House of Assembly who threatened to impeach the Governor for vain glory and selfish ambition, without following the rule of law, as to please their pay masters.

By:   Bethel Toby

 

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Fubara’s Victory Thanksgiving: Semenitari Challenges Okocha Over Funding Allegation

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Former Commissioner for Information and Communications in Rivers State,  Mrs Ibim Semenitari, has challenged the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) in Rivers State, Chief Tony Okocha, to show proof that Governor Siminalaye Fubara is funding the thanksgiving services being held across the 23 local government areas in the state by the Simplified Movement.
Mrs Semenitari who said this during the thanksgiving service organized by the Okrika Local Government Area chapter of the Simplified Movement explained that the event was sponsored by simple people from the local government areas who are happy with the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the election victory of the governor.
She said what Rivers people should focus on his good governance, adding that Governor Fubara had shown commitment to keeping to his promises to Rivers people.
“The Rivers State Government is not spending a dime. I challenge him (Okocha) to bring out proof of Rivers State Government funding the thanksgiving service. It is a simple event funded by simple people”, she said.
Mrs Semenitari, who was also a one time Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said the occasion was an opportunity for Rivers people to show appreciation to God for what He had done in Rivers State.
‘It is an opportunity to say to God, we are grateful; that we are grateful to God for the victory without rancour; we are grateful that we have the opportunity to celebrate a Governor who had a peaceful disposition. But beyond that, also a prayer by Rivers people that we are tired, we don’t want any more crisis.
“We want our state to progress. We have a Governor who is committed to driving development across every local government area. For us, that is what matters” she said.

By: John Bibor

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