Connect with us

Politics

We Insist That Power Must Shift In 2023 -Robinson

Published

on

As the activities leading up to the 2023 general elections in Nigeria go into full swing, socio-political cultural and regional organisations as well as pressure groups have also been very vocal in their advocacy for what they think is best for the country, lending their voices and addressing burning national issues.
One of such foremost organisations that has left no one in doubt concerning where it stands on such issues as what the part of the country that should produce the next President of Nigeria and corollary matters is the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).
Acting Political Editor, Opaka Dokubo caught up with the National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Hon Ken Robinson in Port Harcourt and had this chat with him. Excerpts.

PANDEF is demanding a Nigerian President of southern extraction, are you satisfied with the way things have gone so far?
Our major concern has been the attitude of some of our brothers from other parts of the country, particularly Northern Nigeria because of a supposed majority . In every country, you will find that the South is more populated than the Northern part. But here in Nigeria, the reverse is the case and because of that supposed majority, they throw up this attitude of thinking that they can always control power or always decide who becomes the President of Nigeria. And that is the attitude that is being displayed as we go towards the 2023 elections.
Having said that, if we love this country; if we want this country to be united, to be peaceful, to be progressive, to become the great country that it should be, or to be what we claim to be, the giant of Africa, then, we must do things in a way and manner that will promote equity, fairness and justice.
Without equity, fairness and justice, without ever sharing of power in a diverse country like Nigeria, what you’re calling for is further crisis, is anarchy, is disaffection. There is a strong feeling of alienation in certain sections of the country, particularly in Southern Nigeria and that is why we have insisted and will continue to insist that after eight years of a Northern Presidency, the next President of Nigeria should come from Southern Nigeria.
And for us in PANDEF, we have said that whether it goes to the South west, Southeast or South South, it’s a different matter all together and we will not mind if the next President comes from the South-West, South-East or South South, power must rotate, or power should rotate to Southern Nigeria in 2023.
What we see today is the display of political arrogance, political irrationality, political dishonesty to the greatest height. We hear particularly in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the people should consider winning election rather than zoning the presidency. Does that mean that there is any zone in Nigeria where there are no competent persons to win election in Nigeria?
Obasanjo won an election for the PDP; he is not from the North. Goodluck Jonathan won an election for the PDP, he is not from the North. Of course, Yar Adua won election for the PDP, he is from the North.
What it means is that anybody in Nigeria that is competent, that is capable can win election for any political party. The person must not come from the North in particular for him or her to win an election. So, the insinuation or the impression that if PDP zones its presidential ticket to Southern Nigeria, PDP cannot win an election is insulting to the people of Sothern Nigeria and completely unacceptable to us, and we have insisted that power must rotate.
Any political party in Nigeria that does not zone its presidency to Southern Nigeria, the people of Southern Nigeria will mobilise and work against that party. That’s our position.
I was actually going to ask you what will happen to the PDP in particular that seems not keen on zoning the Presidency to the South?
PANDEF is actually working with Afenifere from the South-West, Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the South-East and elements of the Middle Melt under the Middle Belt Forum. We want to believe that they are together with us in all that we have said because these pronounaments have been made under the anspices of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders forum comprising these aforementioned orgainsations.
We have said that if any of the major political parties in the country does not zone its presidential ticket to the South, we are going to work against that party.
The position we have taken is that we will wait until the party primaries are concluded. After the party primaries are concluded, we will see the choices that are presented to us and if one of the two parties gives us a Southern Presidency, and the other does not, we will sit down and discuss and see how we can mobilise and ensure that Southern Nigeria punishes the party that is against us.
Beyond the issue of zoning, what are some of the other issues that should be on the front burner as we go into the 2023 elections?
One of the greatest challenges in Nigeria today is insecurity and the next President of Nigeria should be able to stabilise Nigeria. The next President of Nigeria should be able to defuse the disaffections and the feelings of dissent in the country. The next President should be able to promote unity. And of course, the economy of the country. The next President of the country should be able to see how we can boost Nigeria’s economy and make living in Nigeria less difficult. And we are saying that we have those kind of persons in abundance in the South South, in the south-East, and of course, in the south-West.
So, beyond the issue of zoning, we need a Nigeria that is stable if we are not stable; we can’t talk about any other thing.
Now, after the stability of Nigeria, for PANDEF and the Southern and the Middle Belt Leaders Forum, we are concerned about the inqualities, inequalities, structural defects in the country, and that’s about restructuring to bring about devolution of powers; let some issues that are over centralised at the centre be devolved to the states; and let there be stronger institutions so that some of the excesses that people fear may arise if more powers are given to states may as well be checked.
So, outside zoning, we’re talking about the stability of Nigeria, the restruturing of Nigeria; we’re talking about peace in Nigeria.
Going into 2023, are you confident that the elections are going to be remarkably different from previous exercises?
Nigerians clamored clamoured and insisted that the National Assembly should incorporate the electronic transmission of election results into the Electoral Act and reluctantly they did; reluctantly, the President signed it into law. So, INEC has a legal mandate to ensure that the transmission of results is done electronically.
Don’t forget that one of the major problems the Nigerian electoral process has faced is the transmission of results between the voting point and the collation point. We had seen situations where results that are announced at the polling units are completely different from final results that are announced.
So, if this electronic transmission of results is strictly adhered to in all parts of Nigeria (don’t forget that when the card reader issue came up, in some parts of Nigeria card readers would work, in some other parts of Nigeria, card readers would not work).
So, we will hope that INEC will have the administrative will and courage to stick to the electronic transmission of results across Nigeria without stories of network failures in some parts of the country and network access in other parts of the country.
If it is done across Nigeria, we think that the 2023 results will significantly, have a shift from previous ones.

Continue Reading

Politics

Islamic Leaders Blame Nigeria’s Woes On Leadership Failure 

Published

on

Islamic leaders in Rivers State have blamed the underdevelopment and high level of poverty in Nigeria on greed and bad leadership.
They also  called for an end to the lingering political crisis in Rivers State.
The Islamic clerics who spoke to newsmen  at the just concluded Eidel Fitri prayers at the Port Harcourt Central Mosque, Niger Street, regretted the high level of poverty in the country inspite of the country’s enormous resources.
The Vice President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Awelegbe Uhor, condemned the lingering political crisis in the state, adding that, if not checked, the situation could derail development efforts.
Alhaji Uhor also stressed the need for the various political parties in the state to work with Governor Siminalaye Fubara to move the state foreward.
He said Governor Fubara meant well for the state, adding that Rivers Moslems were beneficiaries of the policies and programmes of the current administration in the state.
Alhaji Uhor, who blamed the ravaging poverty in the country on greed, noted Nigeria has enough resources to make every body rich in the country.
He also said that Nigeria did not need to vote for any president based on religion, adding that moslems and Christians had been ruling the country since independence and the situation had not changed.
Also speaking the leader of Rivers state Moslems, Alhaji Suleiman Akani, warned that Rivers Moslems would not tolerate any impeachment against Governor Fubara.
Alhaji Akani described Governor Fubara as one of the most Moslems friendly governor since the inception of the state.
He said the governor had not neglected the moslems community since the inception of his administration, stressing that some Moslem umars have been sponsored for pilgrimage by the administration.
According to him, “Apart from Odili, this is the most Moslems friendly governor.
We moslems have benefitted so much from the present administration in the state.”
On his part, the Chief Imam of the Port Harcourt Central Mosque, Alhaji Abdul Malik Yahaya, called on Nigerians to cultivate the virtue of love for one another, stressing that the message of Salah was  about love for one another.
He also called on Moslems to show love, not only to fellow Moslems alone, but to  people of other faith as well.
Meanwhile the sole Administrator of the Rivers State Moslem Pilgrims welfare Board, Alhaji Abdul Rasaq Diepriye, has commended Governor Fubara for being the first governor in the country to sponsor Moslems to the Haj.
He said that it was the first time in several years that Rivers Moslems had felt a sense of belonging.
Alhaji Diepriye assured of the continuous support of the Moslem community to the administration.

By: John Bibor

 

Continue Reading

Politics

Rivers PDP Chieftain Hails Fubara’s Leadership Qualities

Published

on

A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Opobo/ Nkoro Local Government Area, Warisenibo  Tonye Fubara, has described Governor Siminalayi Fubara, his deputy, Prof Ngozi Odu and Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Rt. Hon Edison Ehie, as leaders with unbeatable transformational agenda.
Speaking with newsmen recently in Port Harcourt, Warisenibo Fubara said that they are astute, patriotic and typify leaders with quality mindset Nigerians, especially Rivers people yearn for, as far as purposeful, profit oriented and development -innovative governance is concerned.
He said: “Insecurity, political crisis, hunger and marginalization have become a cankerworms that have eaten deep into the fabrics of the oil and gas -rich state, in particular and the country in general.
He maintained that since Governor Siminalayi Fubara took over the mantle of leadership of the state in May, last year, till now, there has been relative peace across the state, noting that the political crisis in the state orchestrated by some mischief makers and greedy politicians was regrettable.
Warisenibo Fubara, a grassroot mobiliser in Opobo/Nkoro Ward 5, further hailed Governor Siminalayi Fubara, his Deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie for successfully triumphing over dictatorial leadership, describing them as “development pathfinders of our generation.”
He pointed out that Governor Fubara and his team were committed in the task of governing the state in the best interest of the state and  its people, not minding the negative and unproductive distractions of those who do not wish the state and its people well.
Meanwhile, Warisenibo Tonye Fubara has enjoined Rivers people to support Governor Siminalayi Fubara to provide the needed democratic dividends for all and sundry, adding that they should stand their ground to resist any attempt by the Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule -led Rivers State House of Assembly who threatened to impeach the Governor for vain glory and selfish ambition, without following the rule of law, as to please their pay masters.

By:   Bethel Toby

 

Continue Reading

Politics

Fubara’s Victory Thanksgiving: Semenitari Challenges Okocha Over Funding Allegation

Published

on

Former Commissioner for Information and Communications in Rivers State,  Mrs Ibim Semenitari, has challenged the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) in Rivers State, Chief Tony Okocha, to show proof that Governor Siminalaye Fubara is funding the thanksgiving services being held across the 23 local government areas in the state by the Simplified Movement.
Mrs Semenitari who said this during the thanksgiving service organized by the Okrika Local Government Area chapter of the Simplified Movement explained that the event was sponsored by simple people from the local government areas who are happy with the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the election victory of the governor.
She said what Rivers people should focus on his good governance, adding that Governor Fubara had shown commitment to keeping to his promises to Rivers people.
“The Rivers State Government is not spending a dime. I challenge him (Okocha) to bring out proof of Rivers State Government funding the thanksgiving service. It is a simple event funded by simple people”, she said.
Mrs Semenitari, who was also a one time Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said the occasion was an opportunity for Rivers people to show appreciation to God for what He had done in Rivers State.
‘It is an opportunity to say to God, we are grateful; that we are grateful to God for the victory without rancour; we are grateful that we have the opportunity to celebrate a Governor who had a peaceful disposition. But beyond that, also a prayer by Rivers people that we are tired, we don’t want any more crisis.
“We want our state to progress. We have a Governor who is committed to driving development across every local government area. For us, that is what matters” she said.

By: John Bibor

Continue Reading

Trending