Hon Onofiok Akpan Luke is the member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/ Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State in the House of Representatives.
Hon Luke is the House Committee Chairman on Judiciary.
A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he was a former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and pioneer Speaker of the Nigeria Youth Parliament.
On Friday, November 27, 2020, the federal lawmaker was guest at the November congress meeting of the Akwa Ibom State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Uyo, the capital city of the state.
In his address to members of the fourth estate of the realm in that state, the fiery politician gave a swift rundown of his political life, ideology and accomplishments as a lawmaker and representative of his constituents.
One of the cardinal points he made in his presentation was the fact that critical issues of national development always require dispassionate and non-partisan approach from representatives across party lines to resolve.
He said for the country to make progress, matters of national development required bipartisan approach and expressed regrets that his critics expect him, as a PDP member, to oppose every issue introduced in the House by APC lawmakers.
The trained lawyer submitted that such critics do not mean well for the wellbeing of the country and the generality of the citizenry who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the business of the lawmakers.
“What my critics don’t understand is that, at the national level, bipartisan approach to governance is essential, if not pivotal.
“Your ability to coalesce the inputs of various stakeholders, regardless of party affiliations to drive home the interest of your constituency is a necessary survival instinct.
“You cannot be defining PDP/APC when there are pressing topical national issues seeking attention and legislations. Acknowledging this should not suddenly make you disloyal to your party,” he said, arguing that “Today, with this bipartisan approach to politics, I have advocated the granting of licence for the operation of Ibom Deep Seaport, reviving of Aluminum Smelter Company in Ikot Abasi, and the creation of a division of the Court of Appeal in Uyo”.
For all intents and purposes, representative Luke’s philosophy is as much needed at the national level as it is required at other levels of government, including the state and local councils, and by all political office holders for the benefit and over all development of the people on whose behalf they are in office.
Especially for some Rivers State politicians and political office holders, this is particularly instructive and one cannot but urge them to let the interest of the people’s wellbeing and welfare override their personal, sectional, party and sundry considerations.
The recent refusal by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi to be part of the South-South stakeholders meeting with the presidential delegation at Government House in Port Harcourt is one case in point of how not to behave as a political leader and a representative of the people even in appointive position, many people think.
Reacting to that unfortunate development, a faction of his own party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State, expressed disappointment at the Minister’s boycott of the meeting and called on him to render an unreserved apology to Rivers people (whom he represents as Minister) and the APC (over which he reigns as political godfather and leader in the zone).
In a release issued by the Igo Aguma-led faction of the APC in Port Harcourt, the party disclosed that Amaechi received the presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Amb Ibrahim Gambari at the Port Harcourt International Airport, but later “disappeared”.
The statement reads in part, “Information available to the APC in the state is that the Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi was at the airport in Port Harcourt to receive the presidential delegation, escorted them to the venue of the meeting, disappeared and was never part of such a critical stakeholders meeting that has to do with the South-South geo-political zone.
“The absence of the Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who is supposed to be the minister representing Rivers State in the Federal Cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, is most unfortunate, as there can be no justification for his non-participation.
“This is because there can be no plausible reason for his disappearance from such an important meeting of the leadership of the South-South and the Presidency aimed at discussing issues affecting our region.
“The action of the godfather of the APC in Rivers State, Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi is an evidence of the type of leadership he is giving the APC in the state, which is solely aimed at destroying the party at all cost for his personal gain in keeping with his vows”.
While the bold and courageous stance of the APC in Rivers State in pointing out the grievous error of their leader is worthy of commendation, the message must be taken to all other politicians in the state who have continued to equate their private interest with the interest of the state in general. There are yet many politicians who see service to themselves as service to the state and have continued to wage a war with the present administration in the state only because their private interests are not being served.
Politics, they say, is a game of interest. While this may be true, the question is: whose interest is politics meant to serve, public or private? The point remains that while politics may serve private interest as well, the private interests that politics is meant to serve are only those that align and fully given to the benefit, promotion and furtherance of the public good.
It is against this backdrop that Rivers people must begin to take notice of those who ride on their back to office, only to leave them in the lurch and relegate issues concerning their welfare and wellbeing to the background.
The point cannot be overstressed that continued bickering and bitter political rivalry after elections have been lost and won and a government legitimately put in place to run the affairs of the state amount not only to a disservice to the people but also a declaration of a position of enmity against the people and the state.
As Hon Luke noted, all political office holders and indeed politicians worthy of the enterprise, whether elected or appointed, and at all levels, must purge themselves of selfishness, pride, arrogance, undue partisanship and such other debilitating tendencies in order to qualify as leaders in name and in fact.
Going forward, the only consideration that ought to confer legitimacy on any political leader in Rivers State should be what they have to show as their contributions to the overall development of the state through the instrumentality of their previously held political offices and not how loudly they criticised, how stoutly they antagonised or how bitterly they fought the governor and government of the day because indeed the state is bigger and greater than any one person, section or political party.
By: Opaka Dokubo
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.
FG Disowns National Honours List
The Federal Government has disowned the list of National Honours nominees that has been in circulation in the last four days.
The list contained the names of many public servants, retirees and even some who have died.
A statement signed by the Director of Press in the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and InterGovernmental Affairs, Julie Jacobs, the Federal Government said that the list did not emanate from its officials and that it would publish the authentic list at the appropriate time.
It said, “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs has been drawn to a purported list of nominees for National Honours being circulated by some online media organisations.
“While it is true that President Muhammadu Buhari, will be conferring National Honours on deserving Nigerians and friends of Nigeria on 11th October, 2022, the authentic list of nominees is yet to be released to the public. The Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs will publish the list at the appropriate time and medium.
“Members of the public are hereby enjoined to discountenance the list in circulation as it is an attempt by overzealous reporters whose aim is to break news even when such news is fake.”
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