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Challenges Of Water Resources Development In Nigeria

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Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink’’ is a popular quote from “Rime of the Ancient Mariner’’, a poem by the English Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the early 1800s, and it exemplifies the concern that water can be abundant but unusable.

 The maxim aptly depicts the current situation in Nigeria, as the country, which is blessed and surrounded with a large volume of water, is still grappling with efforts to provide adequate potable water for its citizens.

   Available statistics indicate that Nigeria’s surface water is about 226 billion cubic metres, while the ground water is estimated at 406 billion cubic metres. Experts are of the opinion that if the water potential of the country is properly harnessed and utilised , it is enough to satisfy all human, industrial and agricultural as well as livestock needs.

   The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is entrusted with the responsibility of facilitating the provision of water for the citizens but many observers argue that   the ministry, in the past years, has not been able to fully discharge this function because of its merger with the agriculture ministry.

    A water expert, Mr Hope Ogbeide, said that the continuous  merger and de-merger of the water resources ministry had caused some setbacks for the ministry in moves to fulfil its mandate.

 Ogbeide stressed that the merger had particularly hindered the country’s efforts to provide water for the citizenry in a way that would enhance public health, food security and poverty eradication, among others.

“The agricultural sector had overshadowed the water sector and investments in the water sector were less than those in the agric sector and the development led to the abandonment of most of the viable water projects,’’ he said.

However, the Federal Government, apparently aware of these limitations, has decided to restructure the ministry.  In April this year, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, then the country’s Acting President, appointed and swore in Mr Obadiah Ando as the new Minister of Water Resources.

The minister’s inauguration elicited some measure of hope from officials, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the water sector, as well as other stakeholders.

Ando’s appointment after his retirement as the ministry’s Director Planning Research and Statistics 15 years ago is seen by many stakeholders as the beginning of efforts to restore the ministry’s lost glory. 

However, the task before the new minister appears to be challenging, while people’s expectations about a positive turn-around of the water sector are rife, regardless of the fact that he has only one year to spend in office.

Apparently aware of the people’s expectations, Ando, on assumption of office, pledged to make potable water available, particularly in the country’s rural areas. 

 His words: “I thank God for this privilege and I have promised Acting President (now President) Jonathan that I will make water available in the rural areas.

 “As you are aware, most of the diseases in Nigeria are water-borne. So, I will strive to reduce the syndrome. By the time I complete my tenure, I should be able to look back and say we had accomplished a lot.

 “But I need your cooperation to achieve our goals and if there is anyone who is not ready to work, he can either seek transfer or retire voluntarily. We should do our best to justify the confidence the people reposed in us,’’ he admonished the ministry’s officials.

The minister, however, gave the assurance that in spite of the de-merger of the ministries of water resources and agriculture, the two agencies would still play complementary roles.

“I see the de-merger not as a separation of twins but as one that will continue to complement each other; this is because we are expected to work together as a team.               “For us, we will provide adequate water for people’s farms. We will also use the dams for power generation activities to enable the Ministry of Power to generate enough electricity.

“That is one area we shall focus our attention on for now. We will work with all the agencies, especially those that relate with us directly,’’ Ando said.

Aware of the need to carry along workers in carrying out his duties, the minister solicited the officials’ cooperation.

“If you do the right thing, if you are honest and hardworking, we shall all move in the right direction,’’ Ando assured the officials.In spite of all the minister’s assurances, some water experts particularly urge Ando to execute the National Water Resources Master Plan which was developed in concert with the Japanese government in 1995.

Mr Ibrahim Yusuf, a water engineer, argued that the full implementation of the master plan would engender the revival of the water sector, while boosting the utilisation of the country’s vast water resources.He stressed that the master plan would aid the minister in efforts to provide potable water for people in the rural areas. Yusuf noted that all aspects of the water sector such as dams, irrigation, erosion control, hydropower and water supply were addressed in the master plan with project costs attached to them.

The setback we experienced in the sector for the past two years is due to the inability to implement the plan; it is a good document that can be subjected to  reviews over the years,’’ he said.

Mr Peter Nze, a water resources analyst, urged the minister to fast-track the implementation of projects, saying: “We have lost so much in terms of implementation of water supply, dams and irrigation projects.

“For the past two and half years, nothing has been achieved. So, we urge the minister to focus on the development and utilisation of the water resources in an integrated manner.

“Irrigation and dam projects should be executed, so as to empower rural communities and provide job opportunities for people across the country,’’ he said.

 Nze, however, stressed that need for the minister to accord priority attention to projects such as flood-control, hydropower, inland waterways development, fresh fish production and afforestation schemes.

He particularly canvassed the need to promptly complete the Kashimbilla Dam so as to check the menace which a collapse of the structurally weak volcanic Lake Nyos, in Cameroon, could cause. Nze also wanted considerable emphasis placed on the development of hydro-power resources, as part of efforts to end to the persistent power crisis in Nigeria. Besides, he urged the minister to facilitate the ministry’s collaboration with the National Inland Water Ways Authority and other relevant agencies in efforts to develop and utilise the country’s water resources. Mrs Lydia Okoro, a civil servant, advised the minister to focus his attention on boreholes, dams and irrigation schemes. “Nigeria has a large body of water; the water resources should be utilised for poverty eradication, wealth creation, employment generation and the improvement of the people’s lives in general,’’ she said.“Due to his short tenure in office, the minister should narrow down his attention to small-scale water projects instead of embarking on big projects which he would not be able to complete by the time he leaves office,’’ she added.

 Dr Gabriel Dimlong, a water resources analyst, advised the minister to initiate efforts to revive water projects that were hitherto abandoned.

“The water sector has been relegated to the background due to the ministries’ merger and this had led to the stoppage of many viable water projects. Efforts should be made to revive those projects,’’ he said.

 A sanitation consultant, Mrs Comfort Olayiwole, however, wanted the minister to give tangible emphasis to the sanitation aspects of his water supply programmes.

According to her, embarking on water supply projects without taking due cognisance of their sanitation and hygiene components will be counter-productive.

“The new minister should not focus only on ensuring the provision of potable water but he should also ensure the promotion of hygienic practices among the people, the beneficiaries of the projects,’’ she said.

Besides, the consultant stressed the need to empower the communities to enable them to regularly maintain the water facilities and their sanitation components, adding, however, that the Federal Government should give the people the requisite technical support.

“They know the right thing to do; all they need is a proper coordination to enable them to do it at the right time. Emphasis should be, however, placed on cleanliness, good sanitary facilities and hygienic practices,’’ Olayiwole said.

She warned that if the government failed to give the communities the essential technical support, the water projects’ impact on the lives of the people would be minimal.

Meanwhile, Ms Junita During, the WaterAid’s Head of Governance, has urged the new minister to implement the “e-Thekwine Declaration’’ so to enable Nigeria to meet the sanitation targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The e-Thekwini Declaration, signed in 2008 in Durban, South Africa, during the AfricaSan Conference, sets global targets for political commitment to put Africa back on track in meeting the sanitation targets of the MDGs.

During said:  “We are really excited about President Goodluck Jonathan’s efforts in the water sector, particularly for his decision to have a separate ministry for water resources.

“There are so much that can be achieved. For instance, the e-Thekwine Declaration wants a separate budget for sanitation activities and proposes the allocation of a minimum of .05 per cent of the GDP to sanitation.

“The declaration also talks about national sanitation plans and some other things. Efforts should now be taken to implement some of the commitments spelt out in the declaration with a new drive and a new focus,’’ she added.

During lamented that the water sector had suffered a lot of neglect when it was subsumed under the Ministry of Agriculture, saying that “we are quite excited about the demerger because a lot of us have been calling for it for so long.

 “We encourage the new minister to speedily set the ball rolling; marshal his plans and execute his programmes, considering the limited time at his disposal and the huge challenges confronting the sector,’’ she said .

During gave the assurance that WaterAid would work with the minister and other stakeholders in the water sector in efforts to provide safe water to the citizens and ensure basic water sanitation.

 All the same, concerned citizens warn the Federal Government against the temptation of merging the water resources ministry with any other ministry in future, saying that the water sector requires serious government activities that are coordinated under the aegis of a separate ministry.

Ologunagha writes for NAN

 

Cecilia Ologunagba

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Candidacy  Imposition Syndrome In Nigerian Politics …Bane  Of  Democratic Process

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Democracy is commonly defined as “the government of the people, by the people and for the people”. It is instructive to observe that the emphasis in the definition of democracy is “the people”. In this regard, having any electoral process without true participation of the people being sincerely involved, makes democracy authoritarian and authoritarianism is an attribute of bad governance. It is pertinent to underscore the significance of political parties in a democratic process. Political parties are no doubt, the only vehicles of social mobilisation wherein an electoral process passes through, to have people elected into political offices. The idea of godfathers deciding who become leaders of the people is not only undemocratic but ungodly. Democratic system is a social system of government where majority carry the votes and not the reverse, where godfathers impose their stooges on the people for personal gain. It has been argued that candidate nomination at party primaries has been characterised by  infractions of sorts, such as the  abuse of internal party democracy. For instance, there is the privatised party structure where a candidate’s nomination is guided by a mixture of personal or factional interests, while on the other hand, candidate’s  nomination is considered an addition of elected executive authorities, defined as “leader”.
Party caucuses and “leaders” most often exercise power at their discretion and are unencumbered by rules, usually subverting party rules through personal directives. The imposition of candidates does not only weaken the legitimacy of candidates but also encourages the use of violence as the prevailing alternative for elections. This is because democracy ought to begin from the parties and how they choose their candidates for the election proper. If the candidates are not chosen in line with tenets of democracy, then the political space would be corrupt and no true democracy can thrive. Internal democracy is strategic to the avoidance of imposition of candidates on the party. Ideally, every candidate interested in an elective office should be given the opportunity to test his popularity within his party by a democratically  conducted primary, which will produce the most popular candidate for the election proper. Any infraction to this democratic practice is injurious to democratic norms and principles.
In Nigeria, imposition of candidates on the party by some influential leaders usually called cabals and godfathers has become the rule rather than the exception. This practice has spelt doom for many political parties and even their candidates whose political ambitions had been truncated un-democratically in preference for some sacred cows. Political godfathers and party tin gods go practically low wire as they pick  and chose favoured candidates and god-son at will without any concern for the good and progress of the party. Observation shows that such godfathers prefer their sorogates and criminals to popular candidates. It is worthy of note that imposition of candidates cuts across all strata of the political parties. Recent experience has shown the tendency of this evil practice to cause the disintegration of political parties and to breed bad blood and discontentment in the rank and file of the parties.
This practice is a threat to democracy as it does not give room for party members to  aspire  for the main election. Another dimension to the imposition syndrome is the practice whereby certain candidates who feel shortchanged in one party crossover to another party only to be given the opportunity to vie for elective posts or offered attractive jobs over and above hardworking and loyal old party members. This also breeds frustration and acrimony in the system. This development is a breach of the fundamental human rights of party members and  in turn deny them the right to elect candidate of their choice. The bane of Nigeria’s party politics since 1999 is the infraction of imposition of surrogates by party godfathers which has not allowed democracy to flourish in the political parties.
The spate of imposition across Nigerian political parties destroys democratic governance. It is a practice that is capable of shaking the belief of members in their party and in its internal mechanisms. It is a direct affront to democracy which reduces the game of polities to a process of sheer selection, godfatherism, favouritism and particularism. The present development where certain politicians abandon their original political parties only to join other parties and seek governorship or  other positions almost immediately is indecent. It should be completely discouraged. It is well known that the hallmark of internal democracy is that candidates should emerge from the process approved by the constitution of the party and the electoral law of our country. Whenever there is imposition, it brings about a questionable candidate and it is  averse to the electoral law of Nigeria.
When imposition prevails, it would continue to scare credible people from coming into politics. This being the challenge, there would be lack of credible participants in the political space. This imposition is responsible for the sorry state of the Nigerian nation, when one looks at some of those in the parliament most times, such that those imposed are unproductive; this is why they cannot contribute meaningfully to uplift internal democracy. It is the reason many may ask; how do we expect to grow with this type of lawmakers as a nation? Such incompetent people are even found in the executive. It is possible that this class  of politicians is not prepared for the task, but they love the glamour of the offices they hold and because they know how to play the dirty game, their political parties would impose them on the good ones.
Imposition should be eradicated to allow  internal democracy  thrive. Instead of just fostering candidates on the people, Nigerians must ensure that candidates are nominated through primaries except for cases where aspirants unanimously agree that a certain person should be their candidate. Nigerians without questionable track records should be allowed to come into leadership positions, and that is the only time the nation can see growth and development in governance. If you allow the plurality of opinions to reign, eventually someone would come out who would represent electorate better. If Nigerians, as a nation, want to enjoy the benefits of free thinking, free space, true representations and true democratic devident, then there must be room for the people’s wishes to thrive. It is proper  for the umpire to provide favourable atmosphere to contest while there should be automatic ticket.
It has been observed that any time candidates are imposed, they end up being self destructive because the people you either rigged out or rigged in to do your bidding may not live up to the mark you set for them. For those who impose candidates with the aim of using them to collect money or for other less noble purposes, when they break out, you have to part ways. It is pertinent to place on record that those who have the privilege of occupying leadership positions today will one day give account of their stewardship to man and God, one cannot be man and God at the same time. Democracy thrives only when people choose their leaders by themselves. That is why Section 87 of the Electoral Act makes provisions for direct or indirect primaries; that is with a view to entrenching internal democracy and restoring power to the people.
Section 87 of the Electoral Act from sub section 1 to sub section 11 states thus; “(1) A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions.(2) The procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries. (3) A political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party.(4) A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure outlined below: (a) In the case of nominations to the position of President,  a political party shall, (i) hold special conventions in each of the 36 States of the Federation and FCT, where delegates shall vote for each of the aspirants at designated centres in each state capital on specified dates.
(ii) a National Convention shall be held for the ratification of the candidate with the highest number of votes. (iii) the aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting  in the 36 states of the federation and FCT, shall be declared the winner of the presidential primaries of the political party and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party after ratification by the national convention. (b) In the case of nominations to the position of governor,   a political party shall, where they intend to sponsor candidates: (i) hold special congress in each of the local government areas of the states with delegates voting for each of the aspirants at the congress to be held in designated centres on specified dates.
(ii) The aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primaries of the party and aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party, for the particular state. (c) In the case of nominations to the position of a senator, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly,  a political party shall, where they intend to sponsor candidates: (i) hold special congresses in the senatorial district, federal constituency and the state assembly constituency respectively, with delegates voting for each of the aspirants in designated centres on specified dates. (ii) The aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primaries of the party and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party.
(d) In the case of the position of a chairman of an area council, a political party shall, where they intend to sponsor candidates: (i) hold special congresses in the area council with delegates voting for each of the aspirants at designated centres on a specified date. (ii) The aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primaries of the party and the aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party. (5) In the case of a councillorship candidate, the procedure for the nomination of the candidate shall be by direct primaries in the ward and the name of the candidate with the highest number of votes shall be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party.
(6) Where there is only one aspirant in a political party for any of the elective positions mentioned in sub section (4)(a), (b), (c) and (d), the party shall convene a special convention or congress at a designated centre on a specified date for the confirmation of such aspirant and the name of the aspirant shall be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party. (7) A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.(8) No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of nomination of candidates for any election.
(9) Where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of this Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue. (10) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Act or rules of a political party, an aspirant who complains that any of the provisions of this Act and the guidelines of a political party has not been complied with in the selection or nomination of a candidate of a political party for election, may apply to the Federal High Court or  the High Court of a State, for redress. (11) Nothing in this section shall empower the courts to stop the holding of primaries or general election under this Act pending the determination of the suit.” Under direct primary, people vote for aspirants of their choice from ward, local government areas and state levels to determine the candidate of the party.
Under the indirect mode, party members are supposed to elect delegates to represent them from the ward level up. A political party does not belong to any individual or clique of individuals. That is why imposition robs the people of the right to freely choose. That is why bad governance is common in the polity. Political godfathers continue to thrive in their business of determining who rules and worse still, who does not rule.  In Rivers State, for instance, it is now a known fact  that it is one godfather that determines what happens. The question therefore is; why must most powerful politicians in the party want to hijack the structure? The reason for hijacking the party structures is because they know that the election will not be free and fair and if the primaries are not free and fair, one could be rest assured that the main election cannot be free and fair because people are desperate to grab power and loot the treasury.
In Rivers State for instance, there is a faction which belongs to certain power brokers who have  produced all the candidates for different elective positions and still want to remain  perpetual oracles that must be consulted before anything can happen; but this is undemocratic. Politic is meant to be the social engineering for development but has rather turned out to be conduit pipe for embezzlement of public fund at the expense of the electorate without any form of accountability. The reason there are unpatriotic politicians who do not care about development of their people and locality is traceable to the single fact that they are not the choice of the people but were imposed by their god fathers for personal gain. Imposition of candidates on the electoral process must stop, if democracy must grow. The time to act is now.

Kiikpoye Inabo

Inabo is a regular contributor from Radio Rivers.

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Wigwe: One Death Too Many For Rivers

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Death is inevitable. The Bible’s King David described it as “the way of all humans”. It is the way everyone will go through. It is gateway to eternal life either in heaven or hell. Death, in the words of the erudite and literary scholar, Williams Shakespeare, “is a necessary end that will come when it will come”. It is non discriminating, favours no person and works at its pace. So the occurrence of death is no more news. It is only news when it happens in an unfortunate and dastardly circumstances and least expectancy which more often causes devastation and trauma to the bereaved. Such as the transition of  Dr. Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe. Dr. Herbert Wigwe reportedly died on the night of Friday, February 9, 2024 when the helicopter he boarded crashed near the border city between Neveda and California en route to Las Vegas.
The Late Wigwe who hails from Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area of oil-rich Rivers State, Nigeria, was born on August 15, 1966. Until his uneventful demise on that Black Friday, Dr. Wigwe was Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Access Holdings Plc. Facts gleaned from his biography revealed  that the  Rivers’ successful business mogul had a degree in Accountancy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State. He also bagged a Master of Arts in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor), and a Master of Science (MSc) in Financial Economics from the University of London. The late Wigwe was a philanthropist and exceptionally diligent in his career. He started his career at Coopers & Lybrand, Lagos, as a management consultant,  and later  qualified as a Chartered Accountant. After a stint at Capital Bank, he joined Guaranty Trust Bank where he spent over a decade working in corporate and institutional banking, rising to become the Executive Director in charge of Institutional Banking.
He also served as the Chairman of Access Bank Ghana Limited, Access Investment & Securities Limited, Central Securities and Clearing System (CSCS). He was the Chairman of Access Bank (UK) Limited until his demise. In 2016, in recognition of “his exemplary role in the society and contributions to youth development”, the Boys’ Brigade (BB) inaugurated Herbert Wigwe as State Patron for Lagos State Council. The diligence and sterling entrepreneurship qualities of the late Wigwe earned him several meritorious awards. In same  2016, he was named  Banker of The Year, separately, by The Sun and Vanguard newspapers.
That same year, he founded The HOW Foundation, a non-profit organisation. In October 2022, in recognition of his enormous contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria, Former President Muhammadu Buhari conferred on him, a  national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
His avowed commitment and determination to replicate his entrepreneurship prowess in the younger generation and drive sustainable development of the Nigeria’s economy within the sphere of his influence informed his decision to add value to the Nigeria’s rducational system. The deceased is the mastermind of the establishment of the Wigwe University located at Isiokpo, Rivers State. The university is expected to kick off in September 2024. Following the demise of Wigwe  which is adjudged a colossal loss to Ikwerre Ethnic nationality, Rivers State, Nigeria and the business community in the United States, the Isiokpo Ancient Kingdom has announced eight days mourning period for the death of the  Late Bank Chief,  Herbert Wigwe. A statement by by his Royal Majesty, King Blessing A.N Wagor , the Wagidi XL,Nye Nwe Ali  Isiokpo Ancient Kingdom, “ has directed  eight days of mourning period” for their illustrious son whose tragic death occurred along with his wife and son in the United States of America on Friday night.
According to the statement, the eight days mourning period begins on Wednesday 14 to Wednesday 21 February 2024. All shops in the area are to be closed from 8am – 4pm during the period of mourning. The statement added.
For his part, Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara expressed shock and sadness at the news of the demise of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, his wife Chizoba, son and others,  describing the incident as a monumental disaster. Governor Fubara, on behalf of his family, the State Government and people of Rivers State commiserated with the Wigwe’s  family over this unfortunate incident, urging them to be comforted by God’s assurances of His love and outpouring of global sympathy on this deep pain and loss.In a statement by Boniface  Onyedi,  the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Rivers State on Media, the Governor said “there are no words to convey how terrible these losses are, and the state and indeed Nigeria will miss an unassuming, iconic and accomplished illustrious son of Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“Rivers State and the Nation are in tears because it would be extremely difficult to understand this sweeping loss of a family involving a strong pillar, accomplished banker and philanthropist with tentacles in the education sector”, the Governor said, noting that the prestigious Wigwe University which he pioneered must not be allowed to die.”Dr. Herbert Wigwe rose to become one of the most outstanding African financial sector leaders and global figure who superintended over the impressive growth of the Access Bank Group, and also established the Wigwe University in Isiokpo, the headquarters of Ikwerre Local Government Area with a 60 per cent local and 40 per cent expatriate faculty population” the statement said. Miffed by the sudden death of one of its illustrious sons, the President General of Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organization Worldwide, Eze (Barr.) Godspower Onuekwa,  has urged the United States Government to unravel and explain to Ikwerre people in particular and Nigerians, the actual cause of the death of Mr. Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe.
Speaking at the palace of HRM Blessing Wagor, the paramount ruler and Nye Nwe Ali Isiokpo, the President-General assured Isiokpo people that Ogbakor Ikwerre was behind them. He said there must be an autopsy to verify the actual cause of his death and that Ikwerre people will not sleep until the cause of his death is made known. Eze Onuekwa was quoted as saying that a day will be fixed for all Ikwerre sons and daughters to march the streets of Ikwerre land with black clothes, with all shops and offices closed. He stated that after that, Ikwerre people will visit the governor of Rivers State and ask him the next line of action before writing to President Ahmed Bola Tinubu. The President-General  of the Ogbakor Ikwerre delegation to Isiokpo include, members of the National Executive Committee of Ogbakor Ikwerre, among others.
Recalling his meeting with Wigwe, Nigerian billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, expressed shock over the death of  Wigwe, and said “Wigwe hosted me and Aliko Dangote”.
Otedola, in a post on his verified X handle on Sunday, February 11, 2024, recalled how the Rivers-born prominent banker hosted him and Aliko Dangote in his new house in Lagos. He said : “I am shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of a banking genius, Herbert Wigwe, his dear wife Chizoba and first son Chizi. Exactly two weeks ago Herbie and his wife hosted myself and Aliko to dinner at his newly built home in Lagos. I will cherish and fondly remember my memories of time spent together with him over the years. Herbie, we will all miss you. Your legacy will live on forever.”
My heartfelt condolences go out to his children Tochi, Hannah and David. I pray God comforts them during this tragic time. No doubt the vacuum the death of Wigwe has created in the banking industry, economic and education sectors cannot be easily filled up. But God is All- Knowing yet offers no explanation for his actions.  We will understand it better when we see him.

Igbiki Benibo

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Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, Others Hail S’Eagles Impressive Win …Fubara Celebrates Nwabali’s Dexterity

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President Bola Tinubu, Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminialayi Fubara and his Lagos and Enugu State counterparts, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Peter Mbah respectively, were among eminent Nigerians that celebrated the Super Eagles for reaching the final of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast following a 4-2 penalty win over South Africa on Wednesday.
In a pulsating encounter at the Stade de la Paix, Bouke, William Troost-Ekong put Nigeria in the lead from the penalty spot midway through the second half after rampaging striker Victor Osimhen was brought down inside the box, before South Africa earned a spot-kick of their own in the final minute of the 90th minute after Egyptian referee, Amin Omar, disallowed Osimhen’s goal following a VAR review, and instead awarded a penalty to South Africa after replays showed midfielder Alhassan Yusuf had fouled Percy Tau.
Teboho Mokoena converted from the spot in the 90th minute to send the game into a goalless period of extra time where Bafana Bafana defender Grant Kekana was sent off late one.
Having lost five of their previous six semi-finals at the continental finals, the Eagles survived some nervous moments to book a place in Sunday’s final with a 4-2 win after Stanley Nwabali saved two penalties.
Reacting to the Eagles’ victory, Tinubu, on his official X handle, congratulated the team while encouraging them to win the final.
“From the Southernmost cape of Africa to the Plains of Mauritania and the coast of West Africa… You have made us all proud to be Nigerians! Go… Soar in the AFCON final. Well done, boys!” he tweeted.
Also, the Labour Party presidential candidate at the last election, Peter Obi, also took to his handle to hail the team following their impressive outing.
“Today (Wednesday) was yet another victorious outing for Nigeria as our National team, the Super Eagles displayed great fighting spirit, beating the Bafana Bafana of South Africa to take Nigeria to the finals in the ongoing AFCON games,” Obi wrote.
Also reacting to the win, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said, “We did it!!!!
“So proud of our Super Eagles for finding that extra tenacity to push through. From Nwabali with the in-match and penalty heroics to Ekong to Osimhen for taking the initiative to help us score in the match and to the silent hero, coach José Peseiro, everyone dug deep to give us this one.
“Off to the finals and by God’s grace the Cup. For now, we’re playing @asakemusik’s Amapiano for the rest of the week.”
In the same vein, Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, hailed the Super Eagles victory.
In a terse message he personally signed, Fubara said, “Stanley Nwabali’s dexterity and determination in the ongoing AFCON tournament embody the spirit of every Rivers youth. His remarkable saves inspire us all.
“Congratulations to Nwabali and the entire Super Eagles team on the victories so far. We believe in your abilities and wish you triumph in the finals.
“Keep shining, knowing you carry the hopes of a proud nation and embody the resilience and aspirations of our youths. We stand with you as you bring dignity to make us proud.”
Dr. Peter Mbah, Enugu State Governor, equally took to social media to praise the team.
“Hearty congratulations Super Eagles on your qualification for the final of AFCON 2023,” he wrote.
“That was a breathtaking encounter, but you were undoubtedly super in mentality and display.
“Thank you for making us super proud and best wishes in the final of the competition. Our prayers are with you.
“Congratulations, Nigeria.”
Minister for Sports, Senator John Enoh, added, “My dear Super Eagles, today you have given every Nigerian Compatriot a reason to rejoice. We all doff our hats to you. You have shown us all that the Nigerian spirit is a winning spirit. You are conquering the continent one match at a time. Bravo, heroes of our time!
“You have set your goals high and you have not stopped. Keep soaring and bring home the Africa Cup of Nations. Unto the Finals.”

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