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Plot To Stop Jonathan … Misfortune Unites IBB, Atiku, Others

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0706100107061001United by the misfortune of the unfortunate and painful death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua last month, the disturbing increase in approval of rating and public support for his successor, President Goodluck Jonathan and the North’s fear of losing the presidency to the South specifically, the long neglected Niger Delta region, by 2011, strange political bed-fellows are set for battle – a battle against the incomprehensibility of a Supreme Being, known to Islam as Allah and to Christianity as Almighty God.

Apparently dazed by the strange turn of political events and the high prospects for a Niger Delta presidency, former military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, one-time Finance Minister and many times presidential aspirant, Mallam Adamu Ciroma and 12 other Northern political top notchers last week met at the Abuja residence of Atiku.

That meeting was followed by another Saturday, and in attendance were five representatives from each of the three northern zones, North-East, North Central and North-West, with Babangida, Atiku and Ciroma, as arrow-heads.

The arguments against the perceived possibility of a Jonathan presidency come 2011 did not change; that Yar’Adua should have spent not more than two terms of eight years, if he had lived to indicate such interest, because the North earned the 8-year period by simply allowing former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the same number of years on behalf of the South.

That, according to them, was informed by a gentle man’s agreement which voluntarily ceded the presidency to the South, specifically to Obasanjo, after the death in prison of Chief Moshood Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections and the need to pacify the grieving South-West.

Laughable, but so sacrosanct is that agreement, in their estimation that they would do anything and everything to ensure that the North reclaims its prized heritage, a property they have owned for most of the nearly 50-year-post independence history of the forced federation of Nigeria.

Expectedly, the annually recycled Northern political big-wigs intend to carry their disapproval to everywhere including the National Working Committee, (NWC) and then the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of which serving President Goodluck Jonathan is leader, as of right.

In all these however, Jonathan is not known to have voiced interest in contesting the 2011 national elections on the PDP platform or on any other party’s for that matter. In fact, early last month, he ordered the arrest of some over-zealous supporters, who by themselves, and without his consent posted giant-size posters at strategic places in Abuja, and which urged Jonathan to contest the 2011 presidential elections.

If anything, Jonathan’s known public comments on whether or not he would play a key role in 2011 came on the heels of his historic visit to Washington, seat of the American political power, in his days as Acting President.

Then, Jonathan had told probing news hounds that he had three basic options: To pair-up with a sellable presidential candidate as vice; Return to Bayelsa after the end of the Yar’Adua/Jonathan joint ticket and eventual presidency; or contest the 2011 presidential elections as the Nigerian Constitution entitles him to do.

Not once has Jonathan been heard to say openly that he would wish to hang-on to power longer than 2011, as did Babangida and the many other Military Heads of State from the Northern part of Nigeria, who among themselves ruled Nigeria uptill Obasanjo’s brief emergence after the death of Murtala and in 1999 re-appearing as an obvious Northern choice, apparently as compensation for his role in installing former President Shehu Shagari, instead of his kinsman Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Former Ogun State Governor, Aremu Segun Osoba alluded to that fact last Friday during the executive session of the just concluded All Nigerian Editors’ Conference (ANEC) convoked by the Nigerian Guild of Editors in Port Harcourt, when while advising Rivers Governor Chibuike Amaechi, of the need to be discrete with official documents, Aremu Osoba shocked the conference with the information of how Obasanjo sought clearance from NPN candidate Shagari, on the choice of Supreme Court Justices to hear the election petition brought against Shagari’s 1979 Presidential victory by Awolowo. Twenty years later in 1999, the outcome of the presidential elections showed Obasanjo a little more of a Northern candidate, than a southern, without a political home base.

Even so, in 2003, Obasanjo was not given automatic re-election ticket, even in the face of the now contentious gentleman’s agreement of eight-year rotation between the North and South. Instead, as is required democratically, several others, including ambitious Northern elements contested the party primaries before the incumbent won re-election. Those who contested against Obasanjo did so because it was their constitutional right, so to do.

But today, Jonathan is being blackmailed with a rotational arrangement which had never, did not and probably would never have taken into account, the many fears of the Niger Delta, against which the Wilinks Commission warned long before independence in 1960.

Were the PDP rotation allowed to hold water, this would surely be the scenario. South-West, eight years 1999-2007, North-West, 2007-2015; South-East, 2015-2023, North-East, 2023-2031, South-South-2031-2039 and North-Central 2039-2047, a period of 48 years. The implication will be that in addition to the nearly 50 years of denial of political space to aspire to the highest political office in the land, the South-South geo-political zone would have waited 82 long years, but for the intervention of the Supreme Being known to the South-South as Ayiba, Tamuno, Chi, Abasi, Kiniyanabo Bari and Chinbo Boroma, among others. Strangely, it was that same God that unilaterally reduced Jonathan’s three known pre-president options for 2011, to only two, thus, erasing completely, the likelihood of he pairing-up with any ‘mega’ Northern candidate as running-mate, an arrangement which top politicians like Babangida, Atiku and Ciroma would have treasured and yet seek  second term as of constitutional right.

But I have a worry. The Nigerian Constitution clearly states that oil bearing states should be granted derivation of not more than 50 per cent.  This clearly means that 50 per cent derivation to the Niger Delta would still have been constitutional. But regaling in the euphoria of being a super majority, the Hausa/Fulani flock which predominantly people the North, along with other majority tribes considered only 13 percent after much sweat.

Their excuse, has well been that such huge allocation would ground other less-productive states of the federation and thus impracticable.  But today, the maximum of two terms of eight years is being pursued religiously as if oblivious of the fact that such would also ground many states desirous of a political  space, especially that of the South-South, with Jonathan merely as a vessel.

My Agony is that President Jonathan has yet to signify any intention of contesting in 2011, even if neither the PDP’s phoney rotational agreement nor the Nigerian Constitution forbids him to, but the polity is already awash with unpopular protests grounded in ethno-religious permutations.

These should not deter Jonathan because everything, from Yar’Adua’s protracted ill-health to Jonathan’s ascendancy to executive power as President, is like the peace of God which passeth all understanding, and clearly reveals forces far greater than Jonathan, the North, South and indeed Nigeria. That is why he should not allow mortal political book makers to distract him, from doing the work, which providence has imposed on him in these trying times of Nigeria’s existence.

Instead, Jonathan must seek to deliver on his inaugural promises within the short time at his disposal, particularly, those of improved, electric power supply, religious implementation of the post-amnesty package, the Niger Delta question and electoral reforms.  All others including the Presidency in 2011 will follow, if the same Supreme Being, the decider of all political conflicts, wills it so.

This is indeed not Jonathan’s fight, but that of all-well-meaning Nigerians who, have for far too long waited patiently for divine intervention in the lives of men, Nigerians and Nigeria in particular.

With that, no amount of unity in misfortune as the reported gang-up of strange political big-wigs seems, can change the face of providence which appears to be beckoning on Jonathan, under-estimated from day one and never seen coming this far, to stand up and address our fluctuating fortunes as a rich nation with very poor people.

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Our Legacy’ll Leave Lasting Impression On Rivers People -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that his administration will collaborate and continue to consult widely in delivering a liberated State experiencing enduring peace.
Fubara said, in doing so, he would not operate as a dictator but as a member of a team that has the best interest of the State at heart and determined to leave a lasting legacy that can be celebrated.
The governor spoke during the formal presentation of Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office to the Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, King Ateke Michael Tom, as first class tradition ruler, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Fubara stated that, during the Sixth State Executive Council meeting, N80.8billion was approved with 50 percent contract value paid already as the Government awarded the construction of the Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road.
He said the project will be funded from the savings from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to underscore his administration’s prudence without also borrowing to complete the project.
“We are at a crossroad in our State where we all need to stand for what is right. It happens once in a life time. So, for now, be one of those people that will be in the course to liberate and free our dear State.
“And I know strongly that having the support of a peace-loving Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, having the support of the wonderful Council of Chiefs, having the support of the great people of Rivers State, we will bring peace in our State. We will do those things that are right to develop our State.
“We will continue to consult. We will not act as dictators. We will act as people who know that one day, we will leave, and when we leave, the way we have acted will speak for us. We will not force people to talk good about us. Our legacy will be a signature for how we led”, the governor said.
Fubara explained that he acted within the ambit of the law to upgrade the traditional stool upon which King Ateke Tom sits in recognition of his efforts in promoting peace in Okrika, and indeed, the State, and urged him to continue to do justice to everyone.
In his speech, Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Hon Charles Amadi, congratulated King Ateke Tom for being formally presented with the Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office as first class traditional ruler.
Also speaking, former Transport Minister, Chief Abiye Sekibo, thanked the governor for fulfilling his promise of upgrading the traditional stool of Okochiri Kingdom, and pledged the support of Kirike Se people to his administration.

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We’re Determined To Leave Legacy Of Quality Education -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has promised to give the best attention to the education sector so that standard and quality learning will never be compromised in the State.
The governor emphasised that in achieving such legacy, schools in the State will be driven with a curriculum that will equip school-aged children to become competitive, innovative and self-reliant.
Governor Fubara made the assertion while inaugurating the Governing Council of Rivers State University at Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said: “There is a lot of noise everywhere: people asking what we are doing; that we are not focused, and that we don’t have direction.
”But I want to tell the world that we are focused and aware that we cannot grow if our energies are not channeled to education. Not just education, but purposeful education.
”Education that is creative. Education that gives you independence. We have left the era in the world when you speak too much grammar. We are in such times when it is what you can do with your hands.
”Our purpose for education is that we should bring back our academic programmes to where, at the end of your studies, you don’t need a job but you create jobs. When one creates a job, you automatically employ others. That is what I want this council to see as their task.”
Governor Fubara noted the non-existence of public secondary schools for the male child in the Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
He said such negligence leaves children in that area who have completed primary education, and whose parents cannot afford sending them to far away secondary schools, to roam the streets, and therefore becoming willing tools for criminality.
Governor Fubara assured that such fundamental problem will be addressed by his administration as a measure to curb the negative impression associated with Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
The governor said he trusts in the capacity of the members of the Governing Council of Rivers State University to bring about positive change in the institution while also contributing their quota to improving the general education standard in the State.
”I charge you, not just in terms of administering the affairs of the university, but let us add something different from the normal things that we already have to see new things.”
In her response, on behalf of the other members, the Pro-Chancellor of the Governing Council of Rivers State University, Justice Mary Odili (rtd), thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve in such capacity.
Justice Odili assured they will work assiduously as a team to solve the problems that agitate the mind of the governor and ensure their contributions form part of the legacy that will be bequeathed by his administration.
The members included Justice Mary Odili (rtd) as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council with Barrister Mela Oforibika and Chukwuma Chinwo, Esq.
Others were Adata Bio-Briggs, Esq., Dr. Jonathan Nimi Hart, Ngo Martins-Yellowe, Dr. Nancy Nwankwo, Dr. Igoni William-Park, and Mr. Ogbugbu Barisua.

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Fubara, Others Eulogise Rivers First Lady’s Mother

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, his Deputy, Prof Ngozi Odu, and key stakeholders of the State on Wednesday paid glowing tributes at the Service of Songs held in honour of late Mrs Adeline Jaja, mother of the wife of the Governor, Lady Valerie Fubara, at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the event, Governor Fubara described his late mother-in-law as a great and visionary woman who lived on truth and conviction in what she believes.
“Mama was a great woman. She wasn’t a materialistic person. When she believes in you, she’ll be all out for you. She stood for me. I feel pained that, like my own mother, she left at this moment.
”Mama believed so much in God, and the wonders of God. I thank everyone, particularly the Church. On behalf of the bereaved family, we will support the Church to immortalise her name,” the Governor said.
In his homily, Vicar of the Church, Ven. A. A. Ijon-Ama, who spoke on the gains of death, said physical departure from earth was not an ultimate end but an opening for higher and permanent gain and perfection.
He pointed out that when a man has a good relationship with God, he stands to gain more in death.
Ven. Ijon-Ama described late Mrs. Adeline Jaja as a devout Christian, who exuded deep sense of hospitality, and endowed with accommodating spirit, noting that she will be greatly missed by all.
The Vicar, who prayed for the repose of the soul of Mrs Adeline Jaja, also solicited for Divine fortitude for the family to bear the great loss, and called for the immortalisation of the deceased to keep her good legacies alive.
Some family members, who spoke at the Service of Songs, extolled the virtues of the deceased, describing her as “a great community leader, counsellor, peace maker, and caring mother, who provided for the needy, and participated actively in Church activities.
Highlights of the event were special prayers for the bereaved family, conducted by the Anglican Bishop of Evo Diocese, Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu; remarks by key family members, choir ministration, among others.

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