Jonathan Seeks Confidence Building To Sustain Democracy
Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has said that if democracy must endure, the democratic process must be developed in a way that people would have confidence in the electoral process.
This is as Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, said that the problems of Nigeria are self-inflicted, as they flow from politicisation of everything and the promotion of pervasive injustice.
The former President spoke at a lecture/book presentation to mark the second term inauguration of Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt, last Monday.
Jonathan stated that despite the challenges, the country must embrace electronic voting, adding that electronic voting was the ultimate way going forward.
He noted that the African continent must come up with minimum standards for the establishment of the election management body, insisting that for the purpose of confidence building for credible elections, no single person should have the power to constitute the election management body.
The former president said, “We must come up with new standards for constituting our election management body in a way that people will have confidence. I believe in some quarters, what they do is that a body of people constitute the election management body. It is not in the hands of one person.
“When you leave such responsibility in the hands of a politician, no matter how good the person is, there will be the tendency for people to suspect that the right thing is not done.
“When people don’t have confidence in the system, whatever they do, it is difficult for the people to accept”, he added.
He suggested that, “The continental body, African Union, should come up with a minimum standard across Africa for constituting electoral management body”.
Jonathan added that no single official should have the power to appoint membership of all the Election Petition Tribunals as this erodes confidence in the system.
“Also, the judicial process where one person constitutes all the election tribunals to hear petitions is not right. It is difficult in a democracy for somebody to be extremely neutral. In one way or the other, somebody close to you will be in one party or the other. The only way to be above board is to make sure that one person does not have all the powers to constitute tribunals to listen to all cases”, he explained.
The former president called for the enthronement of independent security agencies that would provide security during elections, and decried the online video in Rivers State where women were dragging soldiers attempting to compromise Rivers elections.
“The African Union must come up with a code of conduct for security operatives that participate in elections. What happened in Rivers State, in a video being circulated where women were dragging soldiers down from walls, was a very sorry sight. When these things are being discussed outside the country, if you are a Nigerian, you feel so ashamed”, Jonathan said.
The former president called on parliamentarians to work towards modifying national laws to ensure that what happened in 2019 was not repeated in 2023.
He congratulated the people of Rivers State for their total support of Wike during the elections.
Jonathan said that the Rivers election was a star election in 2019, as it was used to assess the elections.
“Governor Wike stood firmly. He was courageous. He was a good leader. I urge you to continue with your good works.
“If you did not impress Rivers people, you wouldn’t have received support. Wike tried. He brought unity and physical development to the state”, Jonathan said.
In his address, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike decried the level of politicisation of the governance process of the country.
Wike said, “Although I lack the intellectual impetus to join issues with the learned Professor, but for me, Nigeria’s problems, which are largely self-inflicted, can be reduced to two: the politicization of everything and pervasive injustice.
“Over the years, we have allowed the entire governing system to be corrupted by banal politics and the courage to do what is right and fair to all parts of the country had since departed.
“As a result, we are increasingly becoming insensitive or rather impervious to the injustices and the horrific happenings in our country that have reduced our humanity”.
Wike said that insecurity continues to thrive in the country because the nation has refused to listen to the cries for justice.
He said, “In our case, everyone is crying out for justice, and because we’ve as a nation blocked our ears and hearts to the deafening cries for justice, peace has become a rare commodity in our country.
“My take is that we are going nowhere as a country; we will continue to run round in circles, and possibly crash-land in a very hard way, unless we change our narratives about justice because peace or peaceful co-existence cannot be decreed in a multi-cultural society such as ours, or in any society at all. It is only a real sense of justice that can command and guarantee enduring peace, patriotism and solidarity in Nigeria”.
The governor said that he was persuaded to approve the writing of the book because books document and educate people for the development of the society.
Wike said, “The essence of this book as captured by the short side of the title: ‘Excellence in Governance’, is truly captivating. I think, ‘excellence’ as opposed to ‘perfection’ in governance is attainable, if leaders care about how posterity would judge them after office.
“However, since excellence in governance is not a term of art, how can it be measured in relation to the burden of leadership? Is it by simply making comparisons between governments, past and present? Or by how and to what positive extent the government of the day responded to public issues, challenges and opportunities of the time?”
Wike lauded the quality of discourse in the book, which he said, promotes good governance without any form of sycophancy.
The governor said, “I have been managing people and resources as governor of Rivers State for four years, and it is only proper for stakeholders to start to dispassionately interrogate our performance in office, the quality of our leadership and the extent to which we have delivered public services from different perspectives.
“This book is, therefore, a pioneering effort in this regard from the socio-legal perspective, which I consider very uplifting because it is not about self-serving opportunistic claims to the high moral ground nor the product of sycophantic image laundry and patronage.
“Against this background, I have no hesitation in identifying wholly with this book, and commend both the editors and the contributors for their highly informative and logical arguments that elevated the legal discourse round the contemporary relationship between law, leadership and creativity in governance”.
The Guest Lecturer, Prof Anya O. Anya, in a paper titled: “Re-imagining Nigeria: The Imperative of Democracy, Values, Peace and National Development in the New Nigeria”, said Nigeria was a country under siege and its people and leaders were in denial.
Anya said, “We are at a stage where most nations are in dynamic state; where change is the order of the day. The rules of linear progression in social and economic evolution have given way to a situation where interactive forces act as interconnected matrices”.
He said that ultimately, the forces of peace would prevail despite the insecurity in different parts of the country.
Anya noted that God would manifest in the end on behalf of Nigerians and stop the high level of insecurity, and urged the governor to continue to work for the peace of Rivers State and Nigeria.
The Book Reviewer, Prof M. T. Ladan recommended the book to all students of Law and Politics, because, according to him, it captures the need for the development of Nigeria by examining the outstanding qualities of Wike.
Ladan said that the book was written by 51 authors, with 40 chapters and 735 pages, adding that the lawyers who wrote the book documented the delivery of democracy dividends in Rivers State.
The Book Presenter and Representative of Sokoto State Governor, Engr Bello Suleiman, described Wike as a true leader who would play a key role in the future of the country.
He said the governor has written his name in the sands of time by his superlative performance as chronicled in the book.
The Chairman of Inauguration Committee and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Austin Opara, said that the event was part of the programme to herald the second term of Chief Nyesom Wike as governor of Rivers State.
Wike, Promise Keeper – Eze Gbakagbaka
His Majesty, Eze Oha Evo III, King Leslie Nyebuchi Eke, has described the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, as an astute leader and a promise keeper.
Eze Eke stated this when he spoke with newsmen at the commissioning of Rumuigbo internal roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, yesterday.
Governor Wike, he said, has so far proven that he has the interest of the state at heart, and expressed satisfaction over the Governor’s continuous project execution even towards the end of his administration.
According to him, the internal roads built by Governor Wike have opened the area to new trench of business and economic activities.
He noted that the community has now become a bee hive of business activities due to the roads.
The Evo King recalled how floods ravaged the area in recent times, but said such now belong to history due to Wike’s intervention.
On the recently commissioned phase one of the Trans-Kalabari Road, he said it has exposed the riverine communities to business activities as well.
He noted that the prices of commodities in the area will now stabilise as more business operators will be trooping into the place.
“The jinx of monopolistic operation is now broken. Everyone in the area will now be moved to do one business or the order. I think the Trans-Kalabari Road is one in million. Kudos to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike”, he said.
He also called on the people to jettison all forms of rancour and acrimony and give the in-coming administration under the leadership of Sir Siminialayi Fubara the needed support in order to enable him execute more people-oriented projects like the out going governor.
The monarch, who supported the idea of ‘Consolidated Government’, revealed that it would bring about rapid development in the state.
“My thinking is that Consolidation is necessary. For instance, the beauty of governance in Lagos State is that they maintained one party over the years, which has addressed the issue of abandoned projects”, he said.
The Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration has executed more projects in the state than any other government with no record of abandoned project.
By: King Onunwor
Pensioners Demand Separate Ministry Under Tinubu’s Govt
Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has called on the President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu, to create a ministry that will be saddled solely with the responsibility of addressing the plights of retirees in the country.
The South-West zone of NUP made the call after its quarterly meeting in Abeokuta, yesterday.
The Tide source reports that the meeting was attended by chairmen and secretaries of NUP from Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Lagos and Ekiti states.
Speaking with newsmen after the meeting, the Zonal Public Relations Officer of NUP in the zone, Olusegun Abatan, said that the creation of the ministry would turn the fortunes of pensioners around in the country.
Abatan called on Tinubu to do more for pensioners when he assumed office as president.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has done quite a lot for pensioners. He really helped them and so we are appealing to Tinubu to please give the matter of pensioners serious attention.
“We want a separate ministry that will be solely addressing matters that have to do with pensioners under the administration of Tinubu,” he said.
Abatan alleged that governors of South-West states were owing pensioners in the zone huge sums as gratuities and pensions.
He urged all the governors in the zone to implement the consequential adjustment and the 35 per cent increment in pensions without further delay.
Abatan particularly cited Ogun, Ekiti and Osun states where he claimed that the gratuities of pensioners were paid last in 2012.
“They are owing arrears of pensions, gratuities and other entitlements, including gratuities and entitlements to the next of kin of some deceased pensioners.
“We want to appeal to our governors to step up their interests in the affairs of pensioners,” he said.
We’ll Defend PDP’s Mandate Secured During The Election In Rivers -Wike
Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State will defend the mandate that was been given to all of its candidates in the 2023 general election.
The governor noted that soon the various election tribunals will commence sitting where the mandate will be challenged, but the PDP will stand in defence of its candidates to ensure that the mandate is not stolen.
Governor Wike gave the assurance when he spoke at a luncheon organised to celebrate the PDP candidates who won their election and have been presented with their Certificates of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Those honoured with the luncheon at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday were the Governor-elect, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, Deputy Governor-elect, Prof. Ngozi Odu and other elected Representatives of Rivers State to the National and Rivers State House of Assembly.
Governor Wike pointed to the fierce political battle that was experienced during the general election and that if not for God, the victory that PDP is celebrating today would have eluded it.
The Rivers State governor told those who have been elected to the National Assembly to support every cause that promotes national unity, while placing the interest of the State paramount at all times.
He explained the importance of working in tandem with the State on any cause, whether it is suiting to them or not, but because it is expedient in advancing the interest of the State.
Governor Wike pointed to some Rivers leaders who went to Abuja and betrayed the interest of the state. He said they have become the greatest losers and fallen out of relevance in the State.
The governor also urged the elected representatives to trend with caution and never use their elevated positions to undermine or antagonise existing leadership structure in their various local government areas.
He told them not to abandon those who have contributed sundry efforts to ensure that their emergence at the polls was successful.
Governor Wike scolded Hon. Nwanaka Okpokiri, the member representing Ahoada West State constituency, for working against the success of the PDP in the last general election, but failed.
In his speech, Rivers State Chairman of PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, said there is massive celebration across the State over the victory of the party in the last general election.
He noted as astute the leadership governor Wike provided in leading the party in a fierce electoral battle that has produced youngest governor-elect in Nigeria, Sir Siminalayi Fubara.
Nation4 days ago
NLNG Inaugurates OB-GY Ward Project In LUTH
Rivers4 days ago
Party Chief Hails Fubara, Lawmaker- Elect’s Victory
Nation2 days ago
Sanusi Assures On Better Second Term For Makinde
News2 days ago
Leadership Centre Urges Tinubu To Form Unity Govt
Business4 days ago
Customs Rakes In N54.9bn In 3 Months …Seizes Containers Worth N94.6
Sports4 days ago
Super Eagles Beat Guinea Bissau Tops Group A
Metro2 days ago
Celebration As Governor-Elect, Deputy, Assembly Members-Elect Get Certificates Of Return
Rivers2 days ago
LG Boss Vows To Replicate ‘Wike’s Performance’