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LG Polls: PDP’s Victory Thanksgiving And …

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Last Sunday the highest level of leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State led its victorious team of chairmanship and councillorship candidates in the just concluded local government elections in the state to a special thanksgiving service in recognition of God’s benevolence to the party and its membership.
Held at the St. Patrick Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, the occasion had in attendance the crème de la crème of the party in the state with the Governor himself leading the throng, being represented by the Deputy Governor and ably supported by the state party Chairman.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Nyesom Wike, who is also the leader of the party in the state, represented by his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo expressed gratitude to God for the outcome of the April 17, local council chairmanship and councillorship polls in which the PDP emerged victorious in all 23 local governments executive and more than 300 legislative positions contested for.
“It is not by our power, it is not by our strength, it is not by our making but by the Holy Spirit,” he said, adding: “That is what God has ordained for Rivers State”. He emphasized that Rivers State is a PDP State and would remain so.
In addition to the electoral triumph, the Rivers State Chief Executive said the PDP organised the thanksgiving in appreciation of God’s intervention that ensured a peaceful and crisis-free exercise against the wishes of detractors and those who do not mean well for the party and the state.
Delivering his sermon on the occasion, the Bishop of Diocese of Niger Delta North of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Budu Ihunwo, entreated the local government chairmen-elect to work to improve the pitiable lot of the people they have secured the mandate to oversee their affairs.
Reading from the Bible book of Proverbs chapter 19 and verse 17 which says: “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again,” Bishop- Ihunwo charged the local councils’ chief executives-elect to create an enabling environment that will reduce poverty in the local communities, noting that the socio-economic circumstances of the people at the rural areas are desperate and in dire need of urgent spirited rescue efforts.
Charging them to see themselves as privileged persons, the  clergy urged the soon-to-be-sworn-in chairman of local government areas to render selfless service to the people, warning that selfishness and greedy tendencies in leadership will only take God’s favour away from them. He said only by investing in the people with the sole purpose of lifting them from their present squalid conditions would they (the political leaders) attract and enjoy the kindness and benevolence of God as well.
There is a school of thought which believes that it is superfluous to plead and preach to people who had humbly requested and have been graciously granted the mandate to perform the same task and provided with all the enabling tools. In the thinking of this group of people, the local government chairmen, and indeed all other heads of government at all levels are not to dispense favours according to the dictate of their whims and caprices but to judiciously administer the resources of the people for their  (people) benefit under oath.
The job of a local government chairman therefore is much like any other paid employment where persons interested in the job indicate that interest through application, go through screening and are engaged based on impression made and trust built that the job will be done to the satisfaction of the employer under agreed terms and conditions. Often, as long as the employer meets their own part of the bargain, sanctions await the employee if they fall below par in service delivery or take undue advantage of their employment or engage in practices that are detrimental to the employer and their interest.
Simply put, the relationship between the government and the people is a contractual one with obligations to meet and not without consequences if any one defaults or fails in keeping their own part of the terms of the contract. Strictly speaking, therefore, nobody begs or pleads with a contractor to perform their job for which they are paid because they are aware that actions could be taken against them in the event that they don’t deliver on promise or they could be rewarded with more jobs if they prove faithful and worthy.
Perhaps, it is against this understanding that the leader of the PDP in the State, Gov Nyesom Wike has been crying himself hoarse in appealing to the standard bearers of the party at the local government level to emulate his performance at the state level as they prepare to go into office.
Admonishing the chairmen-elect when he received them on a ‘thank you’ visit in his office, Gov. Wike told them not to abuse the opportunity they have been given to serve their people and also avoid the pitfall of helping themselves to the commonwealth of the people.
“Contribute your quota. Make your mark and create impact. Improve on the lives of the people. If God has given you the opportunity, don’t abuse it”, he warned them, while reminding them that the chance exists for them to be called to higher service if they discharge themselves creditably in the opportunity they already have.
As part of tips to guide them for a successful outing, the governor, who himself was a two-term Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area before becoming a Minister of the Federal Republic, advised them to relate closely with the people, identify with their challenges and proffer solutions to them.
“It is a shame that you’ll serve for three or six years and you don’t have any project executed. You may claim you pay salaries. You have to pay salary, of course, but also be concerned about what legacy to leave behind and what you can be remembered for”, he emphasized and asked them to “show how you can enhance the chances of the party in your areas and make it popular. We are doing something at the state level, so do something too”.
Rivers State is a PDP State and that has been established and demonstrated for as long as the present democratic experience has lasted in Nigeria but the chances of the party cannot be enhanced if the incoming council administrators do not consciously and aggressively do something to change the prevailing state of affairs that is characterised by indolence and absenteeism.
The state party hierarchy must therefore, set benchmarks of performance and establish mechanisms to constantly monitor and evaluate the performances of the members the party has worked so hard to bring to power. There needs to be regular engagement between (and among) the party and the elected officials where situations will be reviewed, notes compared, challenges ex-rayed, solutions proferred and resolutions reached to strengthen the party through quality service delivery to the people.
It will not be too much for the party to insist that local government chairmen elected under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State take full time residence in their local government areas while they only pay visits to the state capital. In the alternative, the chairmen should be made to undertake to be going to their offices at the council headquarters at least three times in a week. The party should also insist on having monthly progress report from the councils. The era when LGA chairmen behaved like emperors without being accountable to anyone must be consigned to the past while a new dawn of purposeful, transparent, accountable and responsible  and responsive epoch must be birthed.
It is good and commendable that the PDP is thanking God for the favours He has bestowed on the party by the victory He has wrought for it but God will accept the thanksgiving and do more for the party if the party translates the victory into effective positive change in the lives of the people.
By: Opaka Dokubo
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Obi: You Can’t Speak For Afenifere, Tinubu Campaign Slams Adebanjo

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The All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Campaign Council has slammed Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo for attempting to turn the pan-Yoruba sociocultural association into his personal estate and using same to canvass support for the Labour Party LP presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
Director, Media and Publicity of the council, Mr Bayo Onanuga in a statement on Saturday titled “Our Reaction to Baba Ayo Adebanjo and his new Ohanifere Venture”, said “Papa Adebanjo does not speak for Afenifere”.
According to the council, Pa Adebanjo is free as an individual to support anyone he likes, in furtherance of his democratic rights.
“We know for a fact that Baba has turned Afenifere into his personal estate as Acting Leader. We are also certain that there was nowhere Afenifere, as we know it, met and took a decision to adopt Mr. Peter Obi as a candidate for 2023 presidential election.
“We respect the age of Baba Adebanjo but he can not turn Afenifere into his personal franchise for any political alliance.
“We are very much aware that Baba Reuben Fasoranti, the real leader of Afenifere had stated clearly that Pa Adebanjo has always been speaking for himself on many national issues using the name of the group.
“It is our well considered position that Pa Adebanjo cannot appropriate Afenifere. Baba is just an individual who is free to support any politician of his choice. As an individual, he cannot equate himself with the socio-cultural and socio-political organisation”, the council stated.

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2023 Polls: IPC Begins Training Of Media Monitors

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The International Press Council (IPC), last Friday began the training of 12 Media monitors in Lagos to prepare them for the monitoring of the coverage and reportage of the electoral processes and the 2023 elections by the print and online media.
The essence of the 18-month monitoring that will commence on October 1, 2023, is to assess the level of compliance with professional and ethical standards by newspapers, including online ones, being selected for the exercise.
Among others, the monitoring will be done within the context of the expectation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which spells out the responsibilities expected of journalists and other media professionals at elections.
The Media Election Code was endorsed by umbrella media professional bodies and associations, and close to 300 individual media outlets in 2018.
It enumerates what journalists and media management should do to ensure social responsibility and integrity; equitable access for parties and candidates; media access for disadvantaged groups including women, persons with disability and youths; conflict sensitivity and the avoidance of hate speech.
The training of the monitors is one of the activities under component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project, being implemented by IPC, along with its partner, the Institute for Media and Society.
The overall goal of the media component is to “Support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with the media (broadcast, print and online media) helping to facilitate the key ingredient of credible elections through engagement and professionalism in coverage and reportage of the electoral processes.”
The specific objective is to ensure that, “The Media, including New and Social Media, provides fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the Electoral Process.”
The two-day training , the first day of which was facilitated by Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Mr. Sanmi Falobi, Project Manager of IPC, aimed to build the skill of the monitors on the processes and methodologies of media monitoring.
“Against the background of the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation especially by political actors, all we are seeking to achieve is for the Nigerian media to contribute to the credibility of electoral information before, during and after the 2023 elections”, said the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade.

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2023: ‘Same-Faith Ticket, Blunder Laced With Hidden Agenda’

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The Christian Awareness Initiative of Nigeria, CAIN, last Saturday night, said no amount of blackmail would stop a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and an erstwhile Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, from publicly condemning the decision of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for fielding a same-faith presidential ticket.
The Spokesman of CAIN, Yusuf Kanhu, who said this in a statement he personally signed accused supporters of the APC of hiring mercenaries to tarnish the image of the duo.
Kanhu in the statement made available to journalists in Abuja described the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC as a “blunder”laced with “hidden agenda”
He explained: “The decision by Nigerian Christians through the umbrella Association to reject the same faith ticket was not against any particular party but advice to all political parties. Sadly the presidential candidate of APC ignored the advice and picked his vice from the same faith.
“The Christian Umbrella body came out in the first place to reject the idea and challenge Christians in APC to tell their party and Candidate to do what is right and good for the unity of the country.
“Hon Yakubu Dogara and Babachir Lawal respected the call of their leaders and proved that they are not going to betray the position of CAN just to satisfy their belle.
“Interestingly, the APC candidate and some of his supporters instead of making an honest effort to convince Christians and especially those Christians in their party about the reason for their action have chosen to recruit faceless people and are creating unknown groups with funny names to castigate the Christian body and the courageous Christians from their party that are telling them the danger and implication of their ill advised decision.
“We wish to inform the APC candidate that blackmail will not stop Dogara, Babachir, and others from telling them the truth.
“Nigerian Christians know the difference between fake Christian groups from genuine groups such as Northern Christians Youth Initiative with her faceless coordinator Hon. Mike Msuaan Msuaan.
“We can go on to name many hungry people who have not attended any church service in the last 10 years but are cashing on the desperation of the APC candidate to show that he has Christians’ support to start none existing Christian groups to enable them to get their share of the cake in circulation.
“The church in Nigeria and especially in the North knows the voices and names of their genuine leaders fighting for justice which is different from the newly born and newly introduced names that are only speaking to get money from their sponsors.
“Sponsoring fake people and groups to insult others will not correct your big blunder and will only make more Christians accept the fact that the decision has a hidden agenda.”

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