The Cross River State House of Assembly has again turned down Governor Ben Ayade’s request to source for N20b loan and committed the request to Finance and Appropriation Committee for in-depth scrutiny.
Governor Ayade made a request to the House for approval to obtain credit facilities of Ten Billion Naira each from First Bank and Zenith Bank.
The House, according to a press release made available to news men by the Information officer attached to the State Assembly, Mrs Itam Offor, said the House deliberated on the requests which were contained in two separate letters sent in from the office of the secretary to the State Government.
According to the letters, the State Executive Council at its 3rd meeting of Friday 24th January 2020 resolved to get loan facilities of Ten Billion Naira from Zenith Bank PLC for developmental projects and another ten billion naira from First Bank PLC for execution of capital projects.
Both facilities are offered for 48 Months at an interest rate of 15% per annum. Members who commended the governor’s Industrialization drive however observed that there was a need for the House to be furnished with more details including, the type of projects being considered, their cost, location as well as the total facilities already accepted by the State Government.
Engr Emeka Woke: Chief Of Staff Extraordinaire
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value” – Albert Einstein.
Two state matters of importance, among others, which the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Engr Emeka Woke, had dealt with frontally, without fear of intimidation or favour, present him as an officer worth his salt and deserving of commendation.
These matters which had the potential of portraying the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike in bad light to the unsuspecting public, have spurred me to give him thumbs-up, warranting this article on his personality as an exemplary Chief of Staff, worthy of emulation.
Recently, Chief Emeka Woke stole my heart when, in very strong terms, at Opobo Town, the headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, during the grand finale of the just concluded “Operation Obtain Your PVC Sensitisation Rally” of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in Rivers State, debunked the rumours making the rounds in the media by some Abuja-based or Diaspora Rivers politicians who cannot win elections in their wards, trying to blackmail and drag the name of our revered Governor, the Political Lion of Nigeria, the inestimable leader and, arguably, the strongest pillar and mainstay of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the mud.
To say the least, it is malicious and repugnant that these charlatans attempted to smear the immaculate image of the Pride of Rivers State, His Excellency, Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS(Africa) and the forthright political class of the Peoples Democratic Party in the State with lies that a meeting was held in Government House with the intention to harass, molest, intimidate and assassinate members of their splinter group in the same party for holding different political views from that of the Governor on their Presidential flag- bearer.
To the credit of the Chief of Staff, the allegations were undressed and dismissed as he declared them spurious, unfair, unfounded, unfortunate and mischievous evil concoctions aimed at causing disaffection and bringing the towering Governor, his unimpeachable administration and the formidable ruling party in the state to disrepute.
The maverick politician in his own right, affirmed the capability and capacity of members of the Peoples Democratic Party to resolve their internal differences and wranglings in Rivers State and elsewhere, and at any time, in peace which is the hallmark of a family bonded by love. He, therefore urged Rivers people in particular, and Nigerians in general, to disregard and discountenance the allegations and their fabricators whose main agenda is to de-market the PDP and the State.
Of course, society watchers are in full agreement with the Chief of Staff on his timely and robust intervention and admonition since the two groups belong to the same political party that is contending to win the coming elections both in the State and at the centre. He clearly acted wisely as rumors of such magnitude, if not urgently nipped in the bud, could work against the interest of his principal, the party and the people of the State at a time of tensed political atmosphere in the nation as the 2023 general elections beckon.
For good reason, it is expedient to advise that politicians at all levels should endeavor to rise above pettiness and present themselves as true leaders of the people by showing restraint in their public utterances so as not to cause disaffection or chaos within the unsuspecting public.
What renegade politicians should not fail to understand is that politics is a game that should be played by the rules and not to be approached as a do -or -die contest because only the living is guaranteed to play the game in due seasons, again and again.
It must, as well, be understood that success in politics is always a product of team work with established structures at Units, Wards, Local Governments, States and the Centre. It also requires the players to be on ground at the grassroots and not from the Diaspora, on pages of newspapers and electronic or social media.
One, therefore, finds it heartwarming that the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Emeka Woke, quickly, effectively and efficiently rose to the occasion in dispelling the dangerous rumours that such meeting ever held, reassuring and inspiring confidence that democracy is on course in the State and that those who are working to pollute the political atmosphere are identified, isolated and disarmed.
The second reason that endeared the Chief of Staff to me was another proactive action he took some years ago. It was a similar scenario that tended to inflame passion and raise political tension in the State.
The case in point was that of ranting of one Chief Gani Toba, who went on Rhythm FM “‘View Point “ programme to blackmail and castigate the Governor and government of Rivers State on trump-up, frivolous and unfounded allegations of non-performance, ostensibly sponsored by detractors, traducers, naysayers and enemies of the multiple award-winning and serially acclaimed best performing governor in Nigeria.
On that occasion, Engr Woke made his way into the studios of the radio station with hard-cold evidences of facts and figures to meet the blackmailer and debunked the white lies, while challenging Chief Toba to recant his wicked claims or face legal action.
Of course, those who tuned to the programme on the day were held spell-bound as the attention-seeking, self-styled Ogoni-born environmental activist was taken to the cleaners and his frivolous allegations completely destroyed without much ado.
It is worthy of note that since that singular bold, courageous and spontaneous reaction of Engr Woke, no one in the State has dared to brazenly brandish such lies and unsubstantiated allegations against the governor and the government, not Chief Toba or anyone else.
Certainly, that encounter sent strong signals to everyone, especially those who harbour evil motives against the government and its Chief Executive, that a no-nonsense Chief of Staff that would not condone misguided, ill-advised and deliberately fabricated falsehood intended to discredit and distract his boss, the Governor, was in office and alive to his responsibilities in the Rivers State Government House.
Political observers are of the opinion in many circles of discussion that the Chief of Staff needs commendations for his proactive actions in times of potentially volatile happenings which might culminate to a breach of the peace in the State.
They say that he is a square peg in a square hole who had long synergised with Governor Nyesom Wike from the foundation of the NEW Rivers Vision and through to the 2015 general elections. He did not leave the side of the Governor during the turbulent and trying moments of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when the All Progressives Congress (APC) held sway and dominated power in the state.
In the face of the high challenge of wresting power from the APC in those days, Chief Woke, along with other like minds, kept faith with Governor Wike in the battle to overcome the odds against contending with the power of incumbency and coming out victorious when many could not stand the heat and capitulated.
He is an apostle, unapologetic loyalist, a Mente and scion of the political order of Governor Nyesom Wike, the toast and grandmaster of contemporary Nigerian politics, who has remained with his master in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from inception of political party formation in 1998.
Engr. Chukwuemeka Woke is, therefore, a well established political personality in Rivers State that needs little or no introduction. Simply known as Chief Emeka Woke, he is well spoken of for his resilience, resourcefulness and bravery.
He was appointed by Governor Nyesom Wike, aka Mr. Quality Projects of Nigeria, in 2015, upon the inception of his (Wike) administration, and has kept his job till date.
Chief Woke, a proud son of Ikwerre Ethinic Nationality was a former elected Chairman of Emohua Local Government Area, who was during his tenure as council boss, adjudged by political pundits as meticulous, meritorious and frugal in the running of the affairs of the council. Many believe that these were the traits that attracted the eagle eyes of His Excellency, himself (Wike) a proven performer at that tier of government, in spotting him among others for appointment into this sensitive position of Government.
His teeming associates describe him as a silent achiever, a man of the people, grassroots mobilizer, strict and straight forward, a philanthropist and a go getter. He is also regarded as one of the most popular and worthy political leaders in Emohua Local Government Area, who speaks and the people listen.
Political pundits, public affairs commentators and society watchers refer to him as the undisputed head of the political engine room of Government House in the present administration.
He is among the most reliable and closest political allies of the Governor and his family; a confidant, political adviser and defender of inestimable value to the Governor on government policies at any time.
Chief Emeka Woke is the 5th Chief of Staff, Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, since 1999. This political personality is definitely one of the hopes of the state in the years ahead.
By: Odinaka Osundu
Osundu, a public affairs commentator, resides in Port Harcourt.
Ekiti 2022: Oni’s Campaign Slams Fayemi
The Segun Oni Campaign Organisation(SOCO) has described the alleged boast by the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, that he has the judiciary in his pocket to legitimise the election of governor-elect, Biodun Oyebanji, as a product of hallucination.
The organisation said that it is very disgusting and debasing for a failed governor who during his tenure destroyed the legacies that used to make the state one of the enviable entities to now weave the nest to cage the judiciary in order to sustain his hold on Ekiti State resources.
In a statement made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti, on Monday by the Director of Media and Publicity of the organisation, Mr Jackson Adebayo, the action of the governor was described as primitive, barbaric and callous.
The statement further read that the impunity with which the All Progressives Congress (APC) rules Nigeria and carries out the activities of their party is too glaring to be ignored by Nigerians hence, the national calamity bedevilling the country today.
Adebayo stressed that Governor Fayemi should explain to the whole world why his party presented candidates with forged results for election and how his party’s governorship primary was manipulated to bring out Biodun Oyebanji who was nominated by an illegal authority elected through front loading of election results.
The group maintained that Fayemi and his party deliberately perpetrated all these political heresies, basking on their culture of manipulating the judiciary as the boasting and antecedents suggest.
According to SOCO, the emergence of Governor Fayemi both in 2010 and 2018 also took the same route, hence, his belief in shortcut to the Ekiti Government House, forgetting that some people in the judiciary can still protect their integrity.
“Fayemi who said that those challenging the election of Oyebanji in court and tribunal are mere entertainers, that they don’t know that he has the judiciary in his pocket, should avail Nigerians how many Judges he has bought for the intended coded outcome of the court and the tribunal.
“We want to remind the governor that the ground which is before the tribunal goes beyond an ordinary technicality and legal masquerading. There are constitutional issues which had been decided at all levels of court in Nigeria, so any clandestine movement becomes suspicion”, the statement read.
The organisation added that leaders, sons and daughters of Ekiti and the leadership of the Nigerian judiciary should beam their searchlight on Ekiti State matters so as to save the last hope of the masses who voted but were cornered by the APC government.’’
PDP Forum Gives Ayu, Anyanwu, Others 48Hrs To Resign
The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over recent corruption-related accusations has escalated as National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, National Secretary, Samuel Anyanwu and Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Damagum have been given a 48-hour ultimatum to resign at the risk of legal action.
The threat followed a resolution by the Forum of PDP Candidates and Aspirants, which passed a vote of no confidence on the three officers.
They have also petitioned the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party on the unanimous demand of candidates for the resignation of the above-mentioned officers.
The candidates who gathered and held their brainstorming session in Abuja, also alleged that the leadership of the party extorted several aspirants during the congresses, primaries and national convention of the party and swapped the names of candidates with the names of persons who did not win.
They pointed out that these “underhand actions of the leadership of the party are largely responsible for the nullification by the courts of the governorship primary in Zamfara State and all primaries held in Ogun State”, while noting that many more are still pending in court.
Chris Ogbu, who presided over the session as the Forum Coordinator and House of Assembly Candidate, also read the communiqué. He was flanked by Dauda Yusuf, the Forum’s Secretary and former governorship aspirant as well as several other members.
They demanded that Ayu, Anyanwu and Damagum step down immediately or be sacked by the party within 48 hours, at the expiration of which a legal action would be instituted to force them out of office, beginning from today.
The candidates/aspirants said that the alleged sharing of money paid for nomination forms by Ayu instead of utilising it for the prosecution of the historic 2023 election was very provocative and impacting negatively on the image of the party.
“Voters now see them as a come and chop or share the money party and that removing Ayu and his gang of party treasury looters will go a long way in showing that PDP is now a party that is intolerant of corruption,” the resolution reads.
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