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Disowning The Political Jobbers …You Are On Your Own – Arewa Youths

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FRED19071003In spite of the varying views on the now contentious zoning arrangement allegedly foisted on the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), moments before the 1999 Presidential elections and its obviously unpopular appeal to a good many Nigerians, arrow-heads of the project are reluctant to give it up.

Instead, they have been putting in every thing including the kitchen sink, as American politicians often muse, in hope that their view would miraculously create a united North that would, at once, hypnotise many gullible Southerners into their ranks. Emerging from one nocturnal meeting, after another the likes of General Ibrahim Babangida, a former military President who ruled Nigeria for nearly a decade, Malam Adamu Ciroma, former minister of finance for very many years and several times Presidential aspirant and their cohorts, have continued to insist that the Presidency should return to the North, as of right because they willed it so.

So vitriolic are their vituperations against the likelihood of President Goodluck Jonathan’s joining the electoral fray in 2011, that even the most progressive of minds are forced to ignore the history of the Nigerian Presidency and the number of years Northern elements ruled Nigeria. Not only that, the assembly of strange political bed-fellows, has in every turn created the impression that theirs was representative of the general North’s opinion.

With that misleading identity, they have remained disagreeable to reason, tactless in debate and threatening in summations, as if the so called PDP zoning arrangement, which as they say, allows the South eight years and then the North, its eight, was ever discussed and agreed upon by either the PDP National Convention where, the party’s laws are often made or by the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Infact, until last week, many, including this writer were forced to think that the zoning enjoys the support of all Northerners, since they were presumed to have been part of it from onset.

But in a strange twist of sorts, the Arewa Youth Forum, the umbrella body of politically proactive youths last week lambasted the PDP for even mooting a zoning arrangement, if it truly did.

Condemning the concept of zoning, as propounded by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, ostensibly before the Obasanjo Presidency, (if it did) the Arewa Youth Forum said, “we are not in support of zoning and therefore appeal to all advocates of zoning that they should be guided by the letters of the constitution and jettison any unconstitutional methods in their quest to grab power … they should apologise to Nigerians for criminally decentralising our Presidency in their own concept of reform and class consideration”.

Even so, the randomly recycled set of self-seeking politicians largely responsible for the shameful under development of not just Nigeria and the Niger Delta region in particular, but indeed the entire North, which they pretend to love and represent, are determined to reclaim the Presidency and keep it till 2015.

In what I consider their gushing groans of greed, they repeatedly hide under protecting Northern interest while, infact, what they seek are political relevance necessary to secure a stronger voice in days to come; another opportunity to enlarge their already amazing personal estates and more importantly, to increase the level of charity between the affluent few and the very worrisome Northern poor, up to their fourth, even fifth generations.

Judging by, the manner of the gang-up, the desperation in their drive and their lack of respect for history, a political history that has frequently found the South-South region on the side of the North, it is very clear that the arrow heads of the zoning arrangement are driven not by their intellect or reason but, I do suspect, by their individual desires and appetites.

That is why, I am tempted to agree with Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas who on behalf of South-South political leaders last week in Abuja said, the North (meaning, the self-seeking Northern leaders) “have been taking us for a ride”. Douglas, did add that the North alone would never have been able to produce a single elected president without the South-South since independence. Infact, at the start of the Second Republic in 1979 when, the so called three big tribes, in an ethno-political clash floated the United Party of Nigeria (UPN); by the West, the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) and the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), it took the support of the Niger Delta region for the NPN to wear the national outlook which that party eventually earned and later abused.

Sadly, arrow-heads of the South-South support, Chief Melford Okilo and others were virtually forced on their knees in relentless appeals for an upward review of the Derivation principle. Typical of the annoying arrogance, insensitivity and greed of most self-seeking politicians, then Transport minister, Umaru Dikko boastfully said that since all Nigerians were not scavenging for food from public bins, the poverty of the people, particularly Niger Deltans was over-exaggerated.

But that mess, which eventually gave birth to the armed militancy that the Yar’Adua/Jonathan joint Presidential ticket has been battling to clean-up, is without doubt, by – product of the greed of the same crop of politicians now clamouring for a return of the Presidency to the North, denial of the South, discrimination against the East and only occasional compromise with the South West, notwithstanding.

This scenario clearly presents them as a bunch of Generals Without Loyal Troops, as confirmed by the Arewa Youth Forum and countless other voices of protest among Nigerians both at home and diaspora.

That was the exact point made in far away United Kingdom, when, well-meaning Nigerians from all tongues and tribes, diverse in unity, launched what was largely viewed as the true foundation of a new Nigeria, where, the interest of the peoples, all the peoples of Nigeria take precedence over the selfish needs of a select few , who would device several means of rotating political power among themselves. And with unbelievable arrogance.

Together, those Nigerians in Diaspora, most of them Northerners, sounded a wake-up call for, and invitation of President Goodluck Jonathan to heed the voice of wisdom and accept the challenges posed by the emerging new Nigeria, by contesting the 2011 Presidential elections.

To do otherwise, these Nigerians warned, is to undermine the spirit and letters of the Nigerian National Anthem

“Arise O! Compatriots

Nigeria’s call obey

To serve our fatherland

With love and strength and faith

Surely, if the labour of our heroes past is not to be in vain, then, Jonathan must not allow himself to be cowed into cowardice or submission. Instead, he should realise that Nigeria needs stability, unity, mutual respect, an egalitarian society, where, every Nigerian, not only ethno-political bigots, enjoy a sense of belonging and safety but indeed one that addresses the core needs of a rich country with very poor people and resolve today not later, that nothing constitutionally bars him from obeying, Nigeria’s call.

President Goodluck Jonathan has left many guessing for too long, even if I must concede that the element of surprise is a potent weapon in combat, ask IBB, but time is still of essence. He should step forward soon as a well-prepared competent, free, reformist, proactive, nationalistic, patriotic and indeed selfless leader that Nigeria needs at this time.

But I have a worry. Who would tell them that the Presidency of any free country is never decided upon in the dingy chambers of a political tin-god, by self-styled tin- gods in the dead of night?  But by the people.

My Agony is that seeing and painfully feeling decades of deprivation, depression and degradation, some politicians from the Niger Delta region are still making clandestine moves to truncate a Niger Delta Presidency, through unguarded public comments forcing: “Jonathan should wait till 2015, and then vie for the presidency”, using pseudo names, not because they think it’s the right thing to do, but because the hope that it will afford them an arrival at the familiar self-seeking political corridor, as made men.

Truth however, is that apart from the constitutional guarantees, his political charisma and his popularity, here and abroad, Jonathan hails from the Niger Delta region whose oil and gas resources account for the economic mainstay of the nation, but sadly has been denied the required political space in about 50 years.

Now therefore, is the appointed time and no general without  troops should attempt to change that, if for nothing else for the better future of Nigeria and her peoples. That’s the peoples’ stand.

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Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow

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The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.

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$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others

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The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.

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