Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ijaw National Congress, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has written a protest letter condemning former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his alleged hatred for the Niger Delta region.
Clark lambasted Obasanjo, stating that the latter betrayed the interest of the Niger Delta region when he was the military Head of State.
According to him, the former President had only recently visited him at his residence last week, and showed no discontent about the Niger Delta and its people with regards to the struggle for resource control, but had embarked on verbal outbursts, at a summit organised by the Global Peace Foundation in Abuja.
Clark thanked Obasanjo for stopping over at his Asokoro residence last week Monday to check on his well-being adding that they both engaged in a discussion that bothers on national issues and those issues that were very disturbing, but wondered what went wrong within a few days that made Obasanjo descend heavily on the Niger Delta people.
He said, the discussion, though, personal to the two of them, was never about Niger Delta, and neither did Obasanjo express any ill feelings about Niger Delta people, before going to a summit to lash out at Niger Delta people.
Clark noted, “Your Excellency will recall that a summit was organised by a group, Global Peace Foundation, on Monday, 13th December 2021, the same day you came to visit me, to which various groups and individuals were invited, and Your Excellency happened to be one of the invitees.
“I was equally invited. But because as Your Excellency knows, I am recuperating from an ailment, and since I have been told by my doctors to take things easy, I asked His Excellency, Ambassador Godknows Igali, a retired Permanent Secretary with the Federal Civil Service, and a former Ambassador, to kindly represent me at the Summit together with Mr. O’Mac Emakpore, a retired Director with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and Engr. Ebipamowei Wodu, the Secretary-General, Ijaw National Congress (INC).”
He expressed shock at watching Chief Obasanjo’s outburst in a video which he described as unbecoming of his standing in the society.
He said Obasanjo’s outburst was a huge disappointment to those present at the meeting as his hate for the people of Niger Delta who dared to agitate for resource control was obvious, specifically, when he interjected Engr. Wodu and Mr. O’Mac Emakpore, each time they tried to put the interest of the Niger Delta in proper perspective.
According to him, he has known Obasanjo for 46 years, even before he became the Military Head of State, wondering why he continued to push for the marginalisation of the region.
“Your Excellency, we have known ourselves for several decades, since 1975, when we served as Federal Commissioners (Ministers) in the cabinet of General Yakubu Gowon’s government, together with His Excellency, late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, late General Murtala Mohammed, amongst others,” Clark said.
Clark said the agitation for resource control has been there even when it was earlier captured in the 1960 Constitution, wondering why Obasanjo has been consistently working against the region that produces the nation’s economic mainstay.
Pointing out Section 140 of the 1960 Constitution, according to Daily Trust, Chief Clerk insisted that natural resources found in regions were controlled by the people of the regions in the country.
“As a former Military Head of State of Nigeria, 1976-1979, and later a democratically elected President of the country, 1999-2007, I am certain Your Excellency knows that the principle of derivation has always been top on the agenda of our national discourse, before and after the country’s Independence.”
Clark said Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Western region and Sir Ahmadu Bello of the Northern region were able to develop their regions above the Eastern region as a result of the practice of the principle of derivation.
“The Eastern Region did not progress like the other two regions. From the benefits of the practice of derivation principle, the Western Region introduced free education, built universities, the first Television in Africa, among other economic and social infrastructure, including hiring at the time, an Israeli Company, Soleh Boneh, to develop roads and other infrastructure.”
He pointed out that the derivative principle continued till the discovery of oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in 1956 which the then Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, sent a congratulatory message to the then Premier of the Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara.
The sharing formula at the time was 50% of the revenue for the owning State, while 20% and 30% goes to the Federal government and distributable pool, for sharing among the regions, including the contributing region.
“Your Excellency, as you are very much aware, this was the situation for sharing the fiscal assets of the federation among the regions of the country until the 1966 coup that suspended the Constitution.
“The Cocoa House and the Liberty Stadium all in Ibadan, the Western House in Lagos and the Oodua group of companies, one of the biggest companies in Nigeria, are solely owned by the Western Region.
“One very disappointing thing that happened in the whole of this, was when the Midwest Region, to which I belonged, was created out of the Western Region, the Western Region, bluntly refused to share assets with the Midwest Region on the reason that the Midwest Region did not contribute anything to the Western Region and its economy.”
He explained that the northern region was well coordinated in the joint ownership of assets compared to the South East region, a situation that badly affected them at the time.
He further lamented that the 36 States of the Federation go to Abuja monthly to share oil revenues made from the ruins of the Niger Delta region.
NPA Set To Dredge Ports In Delta
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has reiterated its reading to revamp Ports in Delta State by embarking on dredging of channels and rivers in the State
Managing Director of the Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, who disclosed this in Warri, Delta State, when he paid a visit to Olu of Warri Kingdom, Ogiame Atuwatse III, said the dredging of the channel would help to expand the channel and enable bigger vessels to visit the port in the State.
The dredging, he said, has started and is about halfway done
Bello-Koko said, when completed, it will enable ports in Delta State to have a better draft, receive bigger vessels and record less incidences of vessels running aground.
“We all know that the breakwaters collapsed about 10 years ago, and there has been high siltation resulting in reduction of the draft from seven meters to three meters in some places,” Bello-Koko said.
He told the monarch that NPA has also started the mapping and charting of the Escravos channel, starting from the fairway buoy down to Koko Port, which has not been done for over a decade or more.
“The essence is to enable us to be able to know the draft along the way and also ensure that the navigational aids are properly placed.
“This is because there are some decisions that can only be taken after knowing that the channel has been properly mapped and surveyed,” he said.
He further said the efforts put together means that the NPA is beginning to pay attention to the ports outside Lagos.
“We have a special interest in ensuring that Warri and other ports in Eastern areas are more active. This is why we have been holding stakeholders meetings and we are going to Port Harcourt for another one.
This enables us to engage with the importers and exporters for them to know that these ports are available for use
“We will deploy more marine equipment and ensure that the signals are also working to ensure safe navigation of vessels”, he added.
Earlier, the Olu of Warri Kingdom, Ogiame Atuwatse III, noted the importance of the Eastern ports and the need to be opened up after several pushes by different governments in the past, adding that the recent efforts will yield positive results for the benefit of the importing community.
While saying that the Niger Delta people want the port to work, the Warri monarch said that port generally drives the economy of the cities where they are located.
He stated further that the NPA can always come to the royal family for support to achieve the goal of opening up Warri Port for business.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Non-Indigenes Condemn Splinter Group In A’Ibom
President-General of Non-Indigenes residing in AKwa Ibom State, Dr. Sunday Nwara Orie, has urged the public to ignore another group that emerged last week to manipulate members for what he called their selfish interest .
Speaking to newsmen in Uyo, Orie expressed shock that some women were misled to “inaugurate an unregistered group under the guise of Non-Indigenes Association” in the State.
Orie, who is the Chief Executive of Ugo Parker Motors, explained that it was dangerous for the public to deal with non registered unions, which, he said, are formed by “selfish people who are out to manipulate non-indigenes in the State for their personal gains”.
Tagging them “dissident group”, he said they broke out from the recognised Non-Indigenes Association, which comprises Igbos, Yorubas, Hausa and other tribes living in the State.
The President-General recalled that trouble started in the association when some greedy members wanted him to adopt some governorship aspirants in the State in order to extort money from them.
“As a leader of the group in the past years, I advised them to shun such attitude, explaining that it was capable of pitching the union against government and other aspirants who may not be comfortable with such development.
“I advised us to wait until after the party primaries to enable us adopt a candidate and work with him, so as to maintain the stability and peace in the state. I reminded them that we are not competent to take decisions in the affairs of the State, but can only partner for peace,” he said.
“Not satisfied with my advise, the group conscripted some of my Exco members, particularly women among us, and formed another group, just to extort money from desperate politicians”, he stated.
Orie continued that, “I disagree with them in this regard, saying they cannot use the name of Non-Indigenes residing in AKwa Ibom to play partisan politics.
“I have lived in this State for many years and have seen how political activities are conducted. I would not allow my members to take side with any politician to avoid rancour”, explained further.
He, therefore, urged security agencies to arrest any other body or group of persons parading themselves as Executive of Non-Indigenes Association in AKwa Ibom state.
“I have sent letters to Governor Udom Emmanuel, the Commisioner of Police, Director of State Security Service and other sister Agencies to be alert for any impostor and bring them to book accordingly”, he concluded.
By: Christopher Tom
NCE Indicts 20 Bayelsa Schools Over Exam Malpractice
The National Council on Education (NCE) has indicted 20 secondary schools in Bayelsa State for allegedly being involved in examination malpractices.
According to the NCE, the act took place during the 2021/2022 terminal examinations recently organised by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) in the country.
Director of Secondary Education Department in the State Ministry of Education, Mr Jacob Osusu, disclosed this during a one-day sensitization program held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
He stated that 23 teachers were found guilty of allegedly aiding and abetting examination malpractices.
Mr Osusu said out of the 20 indicted schools, five have been de-recognised as examination centres in the State, adding that the remaining 15 were given stern warning based on the degree of the offences committed.
He called on the State Ministry of Education and the State Government to punish any principal of a secondary school found culpable to discourage the increasing rate of examination malpractice in schools.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Education, Dr Gentle Emelah, said the government has noted the council’s decision, as the state lacked sufficient teachers, stressing that those available should ensure that students are well groomed to face the challenges of examinations without involving in malpractices.
Also speaking, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Christopher Ewhrudjakpor, said the report from the National Council on Education had been forwarded to Governor Douye Diri to mete out appropriate sanctions that would be recommended to serve as a deterrent to others.
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