As Anambra Prepares For Election…
On November 6, 2021, the people and residents of Anambra State in South Eastern Nigeria will file out to cast their votes in an off-season election expected to bring about the next governor of the state upon the cessation of the incumbent governor’s tenure, Willie Obiano. Hence, it is a national imperative for the poll to be effectively safeguarded.
Preparations for this election have attained a fever pitch. Essentially, politicians including the contestants for the coveted position, are in brilliant political manoeuvres, transcending one another in their endeavour to sway the electorate to their respective sides. Obviously, the people seem to be excited about this.
But the inhabitants of the state, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), politicians and even the Nigerian government have a disconcerting problem of insecurity. Among many citizens of this buzzing state, adjudged to be the commercial nerve centre of the South-East, the apprehension is not much about who wins the election, it is about who will be alive to do the voting.
The prevailing situation is that the tension preceded by the November 6 governorship election now perseverates across the state. The questions are: will the election hold out? If it is finally conducted, will it repercuss what the public and others choose?
These are pertinent questions currently disrupting politics and politicking in the state. The Anambra electorate need an answer to assure them that the election will indeed be held seamlessly. This is because what should normally pass as a peaceful exercise is rapidly weakening the state, severely exposing the underbelly of state security. Anambra has become a hunting ground with gratuitous destruction of state institutions and assets.
The state has grasped a glimpse of insecurity in its purest form, as many well-known citizens have been kidnapped or assassinated by unidentified armed men, inseminating fear in all and sundry. The abduction of the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, ObioraAgbasimalo, and the murder of the deceased husband of late Dora Akunyili, ChikeAkunyili, are two illustrations. Other imprudent killings have raised doubts about the November 6 poll.
Last April, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof Charles Soludo, escaped death by the whiskers when gunmen charged at him during a political meeting he convened at the Civic Centre in his hometown of Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. But while he escaped unhurt, three police officers attached to him were killed.
There have been several other killings in recent weeks. Specifically, the Nnewi office of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) building were demolished. Unidentified gunmen persist in striking terror into the political class with gun attacks, and numerous innocent passers-by are also obliterated. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been spasmodically named in connection with the sprouting violence, particularly because of its professed undertaking to make certain that November 6, 2021 Anambra election does not hold.
IPOB’s sempiternal and economically enervating “sit-at-home” directives, which are brought to bear in a cataclysmic manner, fudge together a perdurable part of the pang in this area of the country. It has overwrought the people’s economic, educational, and political rights. This is certainly not acceptable.
INEC had expressed concerns over the November 6 governorship election in Anambra and warned against constitutional crisis that might engulf the state if the situation persisted. Its chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, conveyed the fears during an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja recently. Recall that in May 2021, the INEC office in Awka was attacked and all the non-sensitive materials and vehicles assembled for the governorship election destroyed.
Despite the anxieties, this state of affairs is allowed to advance to a certain amplitude, and the South-East, which was predominantly one of the most non-belligerent areas of the country, is now a locality to circumvent due to insecurity. The run-of-the-mill inhabitants are flustered and solicitous over their future, owing to the ventures of some gunmen, who slink the nooks and crannies of the state, looking for targets.
According to sources, these armed men not only execute relentless onslaughts against politicians, but equally against chaste, irreproachable and defenceless citizens as well as policemen, and set fire to assets. In all those intrusions which today discommode the entire state and jeopardise the 2021 governorship election, no breakthrough has been chronicled by way of arrests.
Anambra people and Nigerians deserve peace and a sanctioning environment that will make the forthcoming gubernatorial election not only feasible but a huge success. We urge the federal and the state governments to ensure that the people are safe and ensconced and that the November 6 election comes about as scheduled.
If the proposed security workouts of the Nigerian Army will cover the three Southern regions and parts of the North Central as earlier presumed, it should be organised in a way to gain the full underpinning of the law-abiding citizens in the affected regions. The people must feel that the armed forces are there to protect them, not to exacerbate their situation.
Agitators in the South-East should commit themselves to the peaceful pursuit of their lawful aspirations. Recourse to violence will only result in superfluous death and destruction, notably for law-abiding citizens. IPOB should discontinue the threat of undermining the Anambra election. It is against the interests of the people to forcefully prevent them from freely electing their leaders. Any group that tinkers with the people’s educational, economic, and political rights cannot claim to be their emancipator.
We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.
… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.
Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari
President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.
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