Beyond Partisan Politics …The Tambuwal, Wike Example
For a country deeply enmeshed in bitter partisan bickering, political intolerance and senseless blame-game, the statesmanship displayed by Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike deserves some commendation. It indeed demonstrates the needed difference between ‘politicking’ and leadership.
Last weekend, Tambuwal, led by his host, Wike, commissioned various projects completed by Governor Wike in Rivers State after the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Conference in Port Harcourt. The host governor is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his guest, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Among projects commissioned by Tambuwal were the Rumualogu-Alakahia road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area built to ease traffic congestion in that sector of the LGA and the expanded and rehabilitated Okrika ATC Jetty and pavilion reconstructed by the government for safer water transformation in the area.
Commissioning the projects, Tambuwal described Governor Wike as a man of the people committed to the development of the state. “I see that Wike is a man of the people who is committed to the development of the state. I commission this road to the glory of God and the benefit of the people”, Tambuwal said.
Tambuwal spoke from the heart as a good leader should and not a political opponent and demonstrated very clearly, that what follows after every election is leadership and service and not the needless blame-game that has characterised governance at the centre and the bitterness that has coloured the criticisms of the opposition in the state.
Nigeria recorded one of the worst examples of opposition politics months before the 2015 general elections and did not abate even after opposition won the Presidential elections. To date, name-calling takes the place of reasonable leadership.
It was an opposition that saw nothing good in government and politicised even national security. Some examples may suffice.
When it became evident that Nigeria could no longer enrich a cartel of Independent Marketers, who through questionable refined products import claims, made non sense of the petroleum subsidy, and moved to liberalise the downstream sector, opposition kicked, even if they knew it was the right thing to do. They mobilized civil society groups, labour and the jobless lot, provided them with uniforms, foods and flyers in protest against a lofty economic move.
Months later in government, the same APC government did what they should have encouraged the Jonathan government to do when, the Naira had stronger value against other major currencies than later that more than N350 is needed to buy a dollar. Today, the official rate of fuel is N145, up from N87 while, in the open market it sells for between N200 and N300, with consequential hike in prices of basic needs.
This is in spite of the fact that there are no palliatives to cushion the effects of the drastic increase as was being contemplated by the Jonathan Presidency. Attempts to tinker such palliatives this time around were dashed, no thanks to a badly polarised labour which lost its bargaining power to needless power tussle.
In the area of security, opposition view then was that the Jonathan Presidency was too soft on Boko Haram because of the relative inexperience of the Commander-In-Chief. But when the Nigerian troops, under Jonathan’s order took the fight to the terrorists stronghold, the opposition was the first to cry genocide and ethnic cleansing, both concoctions intended to present the Commander-In-Chief as anti-North.
Even so, opposition politicians sponsored a campaign to pressure government to bring back the Chibok School girls abducted by the terrorists. Initially, Nigerians were fooled into believing that the Bringback Our Girls campaigners were apolitical Civil Society activists, genuinely moved by the plight of the girls. It was only after the elections that Nigerians indeed realised that it was a partisan crusade.
But like all monsters, the group has now grown bigger than its owner, and still pursues its agenda of pressuring the APC-government to go bring back the girls. Denied audience with the Presidency, the group staged another protest last week, although the campaigners were later disowned by parents of the abducted girls, who said they were not part of the ill-fated protest to barricade the entrance to Aso Rock Villa.
In those three instances, opposition politicians gave the impression that they had alternative answers to the problems.
First, they would make the nation’s refineries perform optimally and even build new ones. Nearly two years in the tenure, nothing has been done to stop fuel importation. Nigerians are now left on their own and at the mercy of the same importers. What government used to spend to relieve the people of the burden has been removed with no sign that new refineries would emerge to force down prices.
The second is the war on terror. The initial impression was that Buhari had a magic wand with which in three months, we would bring the terrorists to their knees. In fact, December 2015 was peddled as deadline government gave to totally dissimate Boko Haram. Yes, the troops have done well and won territories, hitherto held by the terrorists, but the war is yet to be totally won.
The third is the Chibok girls. The talk then was that a Jonathan Presidency lacked the required military intelligence to locate and bring back the girls. That a Buhari Presidency would within days, locate the girls and save them from the strangle-hold of their abductors. A year and three months after, that has not happened.
The excuses then are today the same. First, government knew where the girls were but was avoiding collateral damage. And later, there is no clear information as to their whereabouts. Just then, Shekau, the Boko Haram henchman released a new video, showing the depleted number of the girls, with an accusation that troops’ bombings were responsible for the deaths of many. The bottomline remains that the girls are yet to be brought back.
If these issues of urgent national concern were not politicised and treated patriotically through bi-partisanship, Nigeria would not be where she is today. For instance, Nigerians would have gotten used to the liberalisation and be relatively stronger to face today’s harsh economy and joblessness. Perhaps also, Boko Haram would have been history and the Chibok girls brought back home.
That is the kind of bi-partisanship that is required in addressing development concerns of the people. That indeed was what Tambuwal and Wike demonstrated when they left their different party garbs behind to celebrate service to the people. That is what electoral victory should be all about. Knowing when to stop political bickering distinguishes a leader from a political jobber.
This is the example opposition politicians in Rivers State should imbibe and not continue to make the state a battle-field, a war front of sorts, where, every political contest must be bloody and inconclusive.
My Agony is that die-hard partisan jobbers would rather than see leadership in Tambuwal’s rare demonstration of statesmanship, misinterpret it, as anti-party and a sign of voting ambition for 2019. That’s how petty some can get, but fact is, both governors deserve commendation for a rare leadership example.
Submit Name Of Apiti’s Successor In Two Weeks, Wike Tells Rumueme Community
Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has given the Rumueme community in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, two weeks to submit to government the name of the successor of the late Apiti of Rumueme, His Royal Majesty, Nyenwe Eli, Omunakwe Nyeche Nsirim.
The governor urged the kingmakers and those entitled to the vacant stool in Rumueme community to ensure a rancour-free selection process.
Wike gave the charge during the funeral service of the late Apiti of Rumueme, His Royal Majesty, Nyenwe Eli, Omunakwe Nyeche Nsirim at St. John’s Anglican Church, Rumueme on Saturday.
He said Rumueme people should be happy that the monarch’s political activism brought the community to political limelight of the State.
“He brought recognition to Rumueme kingdom. Whether you like it or not, he brought you recognition. There was a time in this local government, nobody could talk about Rumueme, even to come out as a councillor was a problem.
“I know when we decided that a Rumueme man should be chairman of local government, it was a problem. But some of us stood firm and said we can’t continue this way. This man has fought, he was one of those who stood firm and fought for the creation of Obio-Akpor local government.
“That was what led to two Rumueme sons becoming chairmen of Obio-Akpor; Dr Amadi and Timothy Nsirim. He was alive when his son because chairman of the local government he fought for.”
Wike, who described the late Nyenwe Eli as an ardent defender of Rumueme’s interest, noted that prior his recognition by the Rivers State government as a first class traditional ruler, the community never had even a third class king.
The governor explained that the government decided to honour the Apiti of Rumueme with a state burial in recognition of his immense contributions to the socio-political development of Rivers State.
“Late Nsirim had contributed so much as far as Rivers State is concerned. Late Nsirim had contributed to the political development of this State and persons in this state, one of them is me standing before you. And so, he deserves to have a state burial”, he said.
Governor Wike said the late monarch was a man of strong character and highly opinionated. And because on this, those who were unable to forge intimacy with him had often misconstrued his actions and disposition.
“Strong men are not liked easily, strong characters are not liked easily, those who are not yes members are not liked easily. Those who are highly opinionated, those who can say their mind for what is right are not easily liked, and that is the person you are seeing here.”
In his sermon, the Rector St. John’s Anglican Church, Venerable Gabriel S.B. Omoleye, who preached on the topic; “ A time for everything and purpose” admonished the congregation to conduct their life in manners that pleased God.
Venerable Omoleye declared that anyone who is unable to fulfil God’s purpose for his life, will in the end be reckoned as someone who wasted his time here on earth.
Dignitaries present at the funeral service were the governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi; the wife of the Rivers State governor, Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, former Rivers State governor, Dr. Peter Odili and his wife, Justice Mary Odili; Rivers State governor-elect, Sir Siminalayi Fubara and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu, and former Senate President, Senator John Azuta-Mbata.
The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Simeon Chibuzor Amadi; the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani; National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South-south, Chief Dan Orbih; Rivers State chairman of PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor were also among other dignitaries that attended the funeral service.
Wike Mocks Amaechi, Abe, Debunks Allegations Of INEC Chairman Working Under Him …Urges Security Agencies To Invite Amaechi For Questioning
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has refuted allegation by former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, once worked under him as a minister.
The governor noted that Amaechi’s spurious claim that Yakubu was nominated by someone in the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was tantamount to public incitement and a threat to national security.
Wike, in a state broadcast on the outcome of the March 18th, 2023, governorship/National Assembly elections in the State, yesterday, said Amaechi’s outburst that the just conducted general elections by INEC was the worst in Nigeria’s history, is ludicrous.
He said, “The truth was that Mahmood Yakubu never worked under me. Both of us worked in the Federal Ministry of Education. He was the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, supervised by the Minister of Education, while I was the Minister of State for Education.
“At any rate, was Mahmood Yakubu INEC’s chairman in the 2015 general elections in Rivers State when we defeated him and his political party as a sitting Governor and Director-General of Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Campaign?
“Was it not the same Mahmood Yakubu that conducted the 2019 general election, which the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari won? Was he working for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP when, as a sitting super Minister of Transportation, he could not win 25% for President Buhari in Rivers State in the 2019 general election?”
Wike wondered why it took this long for Amaechi , who served as a minister for over seven years under President Buhari to speak out about his opposition to Mahmood Yakubu’s reappointment.
He observed that in his frustration, Amaechi had publicly denounced and claimed to know so much bad things about the Federal Government that he served for seven year, but, regrettably, lacked the courage to tell Nigerians what he claimed to know about Buhari’s government, which he alleged had totally failed.
“In saner climes, law enforcement agencies should have invited such a devious and malignant character for hate speech, public incitement and threat to national security, public safety and order. By his mischievous statements, Rotimi Amaechi attempted to attribute, locate and blame his infamous political failures and frustrations in Rivers State on the INEC’s chairman.
“In the 2015 general elections, we defeated him as a sitting Governor and Director-General of the Buhari campaign in Rivers State. In the 2019 general elections, we beat him as President Buhari’s super Minister and Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign.
“He could not even influence 25% of the votes for his party, even after using the Army to cause mayhem and attempt to rig the election. In 2023, we defeated him as an ordinary person. This shows that Rotimi Amaechi cannot win any electoral contest with us in Rivers State”, the governor said.
Wike stressed that the outcome of the 2023 general elections in Rivers State has again exposed Amaechi, the APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole and his Social Democratic Party counterpart, Senator Magnus Abe, as political paperweights and rejects.
“The APC gubernatorial candidate, Tonye Cole, lost in his Ward and Local Government Area. He lost in almost all electoral units, wards and Local Government Areas of the State. Tonye Cole never ran any effective political campaigns. His party was fractured beyond redemption. He was literarily waiting for his godfather and business partner, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi to magically make him governor.
“Rotimi Amaechi also lost to the PDP in his community, Ubima, his Ward and the Local Government Area. Both forgot that Rivers people knew them as an evil partnership that diverted the State’s $50,000,000.00 and declined overwhelmingly to vote for them”, Wike alleged.
The governor further said that the electoral fate of the SDP candidate, Senator Abe, who lost woefully in 15 out of 17 wards in his native Gokana Local Government Area, was also not better.
“Magnus’s vaunting ambition was to have a chance to be named on the ballot as a gubernatorial candidate of any party, having twice been denied the APC by his former friend, political leader and associate, Rotimi Amaechi. He achieved this limited and useless ambition when he hurriedly decamped from the APC to the SDP.”
Wike challenged Abe to explain to the world his relationship with the INEC Director of Security, Lebara Nduh, who allegedly availed him and his supporters with fake INEC security tags.
The governor thanked Rivers people for voting Fubara as the next governor, adding that the results already announced by the INEC show that the PDP won 31 of the 32 State House of Assembly constituencies.
He, however, extended olive branch to the opposition to join in moving the State forward.
According to him, he has received assurance from the governor-elect of his willingness to work with the opposition to advance the interests of the State.
The governor also appreciated the security agencies’ professionalism throughout the elections and promised that the State Government would defray the medical expenses of any security personnel injured during the elections.
Wike congratulated all PDP governors-elects nationwide for their electoral victories.
He said now that the elections are over, PDP members desperately need to close ranks and work together to reclaim, rebuild, and reposition the party based on equity, fairness and justice to serve and advance the country’s unity, security and progress.
Petrol Price Increased By 54.76% Per Litre, NBS Confirms
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has said that the average retail price of a litre of Petrol increased from N170.42 in February 2022 to N263.76 in February 2023.
It made the declaration in its Petrol Price Watch for February 2023 released in Abuja, yesterday.
It stated that the February 2023 price of N263.76 represented a 54.76 per cent increase over the price of N170.42 recorded in February 2022.
“Comparing the average price value with the previous month of January 2023, the average retail price increased by 24.58 per cent from N257.12.
“On states profiles analysis, Jigawa paid the highest average retail price of N329.17 per litre, followed by Rivers and Ebonyi at N323.33 and N317.14, respectively.
“Conversely, Niger paid the lowest average retail prices of N198.50 per litre, followed by Plateau at N198.71 and Abuja at N200,’’ it stated.
Analysis by zone showed that the South-East recorded the highest average retail price in February 2023 at N306.86 per litre, while the North Central recorded the lowest at N215.01 per litre.
The NBS also stated in its Diesel Price Watch Report for February 2023 that the average retail price was N836.91 per litre.
It explained that the February 2023 price of N836.91 per litre amounted to a 168.26 per cent increase over the N311.98 per litre paid in February 2022.
“On a month-on-month basis, the price increased by 0.98 per cent from the N828.82 per litre recorded in January 2023,’’ it added.
On states profiles analysis, the report said the highest average price of diesel in February 2023 was recorded in Bauchi at N904.33 per litre, followed by Abuja at N885 per litre and Adamawa at N873.33 per litre.
On the other hand, the lowest price was recorded in Bayelsa at N767.14 per litre, followed by Katsina State at N778.75 per litre and Edo at N789.43 per litre.
In addition, the analysis by zone showed that the North Central had the highest price at N850.65 per litre, while the South-South recorded the lowest price at N814.63 per litre.
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