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Let There Be Reconciliation

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In the realm of politics, when a man only sees himself as the centre of attraction and believes with arrogance that his actions are always right, then, he is yet to come out of his induced fantasy island.
Just recently in his Easter message, immediate past Governor of Rivers State and the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi called on Rivers people to fix the problems of the state irrespective of party affiliations. He also called on Rivers people to pray for forgiveness and stressed that the state is always in the news for the wrong reasons.
However, a critical look into the message as a whole leaves much to be desired, as his actions from 2015 during the twilight of his administration to date have not left anything encouraging to the discerning mind.
In May 2015 as a sitting governor, he refused to set up a transition committee to handle the handover process of the reins of government to his would-be successor, Chief Nyesom Wike and left the Government House porous and unsafe which resulted in the vandalisation and massive looting of government property.
Furthermore, his utterances from that period down to the just-concluded 2019 general elections heightened the security situation in the state in which many lives were lost.
Up till now as a former governor of the state who ruled for eight years and a serving minister, he has not deemed it fit to send message of condolence nor visit the families of those who died in the just-concluded general elections.
Yes, there is need for reconciliation, building a better society and putting an end to gangsterism and the security problems in Rivers State. But the solution does not lie with the common man on the street alone, but also the elite of which he, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi belongs.
Security-wise, the last presidential election in Rivers State was so bad that the people of the state wished that if that was how elections were to be held, then, nobody is safe any longer ….and the problem could be traced to the role played by him.
So, when his message harps on forgiveness, we believe that the former governor should also lead by example by first of all paying a brotherly visit to his successor, Chief Nyesom Wike at Government House in Port Harcourt.
In every democratic society, there are always disagreements between political parties, individuals and interest groups, yet the problems are managed in a civilised way but in most parts of Africa and especially in Nigeria, this is not always the norm as those who lose out in the quest for power are mean and vindictive for the rest of their lives thereby creating more problems for the society.
Some examples will suffice. In Kenya, shortly after independence, President Jomo Kenyatta and his greatest opponent, Odinga Odinga were always at loggerheads. In Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, Angola, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, etc, political opponents were either jailed, killed, victimised or sent on exile. Where these did not play out, a civil war erupted; all because of irreconcilable differences or greed for power.
In essence, for peace to prevail in Rivers State, Amaechi should imitate the example of the Late Joshua Nkomo of Zimbabwe who despite losing out in the election of 1980, later reconciled with Robert Mugabe all in the interest of peace.
What the people of Rivers State need is peace and this can only come about if those who lost out in the power struggle in the state heed the call of Governor Nyesom Wike to join him in ensuring the speedy development of the state as well as building and sustaining the existing peaceful environment.
The bickering and acrimony due to political differences had gone on for too long and what is needed now is new direction devoid of pettiness by all political gladiators.
Rivers State belongs to all of us, and we should see ourselves as Rivers people first before we can be categorised as members of a political party.
From 1999 to date, Rivers people have lost prominent sons to political differences and those that pilot our affairs should sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk on how to develop the state. The challenges we face as a minority are quite enormous. A lot of young people are without jobs, most of the manufacturing companies have left the state over ten years ago, no new one have replaced them for now.
What we should all work towards is how to ensure that more investors are attracted into the sate to ensure that the teeming unemployed population is reduced to the barest minimum.
Amaechi has made his call but that is not enough unless he marches his words with action. For him to be taken seriously, he should not hesitate to make the first move and tell all Nigerians that he is now a statesman and has grown beyond the partisan level of politicking, this is because when the founding fathers of Rivers state fought for its creation, they did not envisage a situation whereby prominent sons and daughters of the land will have disagreements at the detriment of the state.
As a Minister of the Federal Republic, his tenure will one day elapse, then, after that what next? For the people of the state to hold him in high esteem despite the problems associated with his style of politics, now is the time for him to do the needful by visiting Governor Wike and have either breakfast, lunch or dinner with him and hold a joint news conference that all is well; it is only then and then that we will know that his call for reconciliation and forgiveness is truly from the heart and not just a political rhetoric.

 

Tonye Ikiroma-Owiye

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Group Urges NASS To Veto Electoral Reform Bill 2021

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The Organisation for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN) has said that the National Assembly must veto the Electoral Reform Bill 2021 if President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to assent to it.
The group accused Buhari of applying delay tactics in signing the bill just as he did in 2019 which compelled the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the 2010 Electoral Act in the conduct of the election, despite its deficiencies.
Speaking to newsmen in Kano, Monday, the Executive Director of OCCEN, Abdu Razak Alkali, said, “the National Assembly has done a wonderful job and this is the first time that the legislature, the CSOs and the generality of Nigerians are on the same page.
“Unfortunately, with two weeks left until deadlines, the President is yet to assent to the bill and has been foot-dragging and unjustifiably delaying on the bill, this should be worrying to every Nigerian because it appears the President is listening and giving priorities to some powerful and selfish categories of politicians.
“Sadly, this issue is taking a similar approach to how the President behaved pre 2019 elections which made INEC to use the 2010 Electoral Act despite all deficiencies in the Law”.
According to him, the President needs to do away with the selfish interests of some Nigerian politicians and focus on what is in the best interest of Nigeria and its citizens.
The director of the civil society said it is very clear to all peace-loving Nigerians that the conduct of the party elections through direct primaries in Nigeria remains the most transparent mode of nominating candidates.
“While the current system of indirect primaries has handicapped women and youths from achieving their political leadership, the direct primaries would surely give them that chances and opportunities,” he said.

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PDP Criticises Ondo Gov On Varsity Award

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The Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, has again criticized the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, over an honorary doctorate degree conferred on him by the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, on Saturday.
Akerodolu was conferred with a Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa) Degree, amid fanfare by members of the All Progressives Congress.
State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kennedy Peretei, in a statement titled, ‘Akeredolu’s misrule in Ondo State (7): it is shameless to receive award from a university when yours are under lock and key’, issued in in Akure, on Sunday, condemned the governor for receiving an award when universities in Ondo State were in crisis.
The statement read in part, “…It beats common sense and logical reasoning for a governor whose song is paucity of funds to mobilise almost everybody in the political circle of Ondo State to Oyo for an award. The list is simply endless.
“If the Governor attached so much importance to this award, is it then not an irony that all the state owned-universities which he is Visitor to are under lock and key? Could he receive this award if Crowther University has been closed down like the universities he presides over?
“A cursory look at the footage of the ceremony engenders nothing but pity for a man that can shut down the government of Ondo State for the purpose of a personal award that brings no single benefit to the people of the state.
“Every passing day, the APC government under Rotimi Akeredolu demonstrates that the suffering of the people means nothing to him.
“Otherwise, he should have quietly gone to Oyo to receive his award without putting a strain on the resources of the state. I need not add that in the fullness of time, some of these frivolous spending will be refunded to the Ondo State treasury.”
In response, the state APC Spokesperson, Mr. Alex Kelaniya, said, “The award, no doubt, is in recognition of Arakunrin Akeredolu’s selfless contributions to the development of jurisprudence in Nigeria, enhancement of human rights, and his avowed commitment to good governance.”

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‘Nigerians’ll Reject APC Over Hardship’

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Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence and Senator representing Plateau North, Istifanus Gyang, said Nigerians would reject the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023 elections following the hardship and pains the government have inflicted on citizens.
He described the APC as a failed political party due to it insensitive in addressing insecurity, economic woos and skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs and cooking gas in the country.
Sen.
Gyang stated this on Monday during the distribution of trader moni to 512 widows and scholarship to 611 students in Plateau North Senatorial District, held in Jos, Plateau State.
“As we go towards 2023, we in Plateau State will have leadership that will prove that what we are seeing now is a total failure, what is going on now is a total failure.
“A government that has no respect to the rule of law, no respect for constitutionality and insensitive to the plights of Nigerians. I challenge the Governor of Plateau State to an open debate”.
Gyang explained that his empowerment programme captured strategically 512 widows and  611 students drawn from the 6 Local Government Areas that make up Plateau North.
“We are empowering 512 widows and 611 students are given scholarship. We are giving the widows N20,000 each and each student will go with N10,000.
“The assistance as empowerment of our constituents is something that has been ongoing, the widows and students are special category that is dear to my heart, knowing what my mother faced following the demise of my father and the difficulties that I went through in school and the challenges of indigent students are what prompted this intervention.
“It is not just something that came without concept; it is a product of personal experience. These two groups deserve attention much more than I am doing but with greater capacity, I will do more to this particular group.
“For the widows, this empowerment is for the petty trading. Recall the Federal Government through the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo, went to the market and distributed N10,000 as trader moni and I am giving N20,000 which I believe will enhance their businesses and those who don’t have to start one.
“For the students, the state government is giving them N5,000 scholarship and I am giving my constituents N10, 000 to alleviate their challenges.  I have experienced what it means to be in school without financial support.
“The little I am providing can help the students to get a book and pen and to even have a lunch from it and so that is going to create greater impact, which can better imagine.”

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