My Guber Bid For All Rivers People, Fubara Clarifies Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that he would not support anybody who believes that only the presidency of the country was their birth right, and that no other ethnic group can produce the president of Nigeria.
Wike made the declaration at the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2023 election campaign flag-off rally held at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Omagwa, Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, last Saturday.
This is even as the Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 election in Rivers State, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, has said that the governorship election in the state was not about him but every Rivers indigene and those who live and do business in the state.
The governor wondered why anybody could go on national television to deride any tribe, insinuating that they are less Nigerians and therefore, do not qualify, on ethnic basis, to ascend the presidency.
‘My dear brothers of the Integrity Group, you’ve done well. They have tried to break us, they couldn’t break us, and they will never break us.
“But here in Rivers State, I will say it, and let the heavens hear me. Let the earth hear me today. I will not support anybody who says that no other person from other ethnic groups can be president. I will not do it.
“I mean, Nigeria belongs to all of us whether you’re from Hausa, Fulani; whether you’re from Yoruba, whether you’re from Igbo, or you’re from Ikwerre, whether you’re from Urhobo, whether you’re from Itsekiri, you’re from Ijaw, or from anywhere, you are entitled to be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“So, when you go on national television and tell people, don’t vote for the Yorubas, don’t vote for the Igbos, you didn’t even mention where I come from, which means, nobody identifies with me; which means, I come from nowhere. But God knows that I come from somewhere.”
Wike explained that his stance has nothing to do with the party because he believes in the PDP.
But, he insisted that it was about the identity of a people who were Nigerians, and therefore, should have equal status, no matter their ethnic origin.
The governor said when people do not acknowledge that you exist, there was need to tell such persons that you do exist.
According to him, the people of Rivers State do exist, and as Nigerians, they can also determine issues about the presidency, and become the president of Nigeria too.
“You are saying it, don’t vote for Igbos, and don’t vote for Yorubas. You don’t mention where I come from, which means I don’t exist.
“God, are you alive and they say I don’t exist? I exist. God has never made a mistake in life. He is the one who said where we should come from? It has nothing to do with party. It has to do with my identity.”
Wike challenged the National Chairman of PDP,Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to sue him, if he was not corrupt as accused, over the diversion of N1billion, N100million, and money realised from the party primaries.
The Rivers State governor explained that Ayu was already building a private university from the proceeds of corruption, and insisted that such person cannot lead Rivers State to any campaign.
“I have challenged Ayu, you are corrupt and cannot lead me to campaign. I will not, Rivers State will not, whether they like it or not; Ayu cannot lead us to campaign. Ayu is corrupt.”
He further added, “You (Ayu) are building a university in Benue State, but you have not stayed one year in office. How do you fight corruption? I said you took N1billion. I told you, you took N100million. I told you, you took the money that we realised from the primary, Ayu sue me, if I lied.”
Wike thanked Governors Samuel Ortom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Okezie Ikpeazu, and Seyi Makinde of Benue, Enugu, Abia, and Oyo, respectively, for honouring Rivers people with their presence at the epoch event.
“I sincerely thank my brothers, the Integrity Governors for being here with us. Let me assure you, no state of the PDP Integrity Group will lose their governorship election. No amount of gang up will make PDP in Rivers, Abia, Oyo, Benue, and Enugu lose governorship election in 2023.
“Here in Rivers State, they cannot defeat us because we have done very well. Even President Muhammadu Buhari, who is a member of APC, acknowledged that we have worked for Rivers people. If the president could score us very high, who are they to challenge us at the polls?
“APC in Rivers State sold all our assets before we came on board, they sold our plane, we got it back, they sold our gas turbines that Dr. Peter Odili built, they sold it to themselves, now they want to come back, Rivers people will not let that happen,” the governor added.
Wike stated that he will not support any presidential candidate who says or believes that people from a certain section of the country cannot be president because he believes in the unity of Nigeria, and he wants a country where every Nigerian will be given equal rights and opportunities.
“I will not support any presidential candidate who says people from other parts of the country cannot be president. Nigeria belongs to all of us, nobody can say we do not exist, Rivers State exists.
“If you believe in restructuring like you claim in your town hall meetings, then show it in your party, all the senior positions of the party cannot be in the hands of people from one section of the country. What the G-5 Governors are saying is this, we need equity, fairness and justice in PDP,” he added.
The Chairman of PDP Integrity Governors, Mr Samuel Ortom, said Wike was a pan-Nigerian leader who believes in equity, fairness and justice, and earned their respect for showing exemplary leadership.
“Governor Wike is our leader, a pan Nigerian who believes in equity, fairness and justice. He has shown an exemplary leadership and we are happy to follow his leadership.
“With what I have seen here today, I want to congratulate the incoming governor of Rivers State, Sim Fubara, your victory is sure because Governor Wike has done well and PDP is fully on ground here. I also want to appreciate the good people of Rivers State for your hospitality,” he said.
According to him, all G-5 Governors have chosen to work with him since they believe in equity, fairness and justice.
On his part, Enugu State Governor, Hon Ífeanyi Ugwuanyi, stated his support to the Sim Project which, would consolidate the New Rivers Vision and guarantee continual delivery of democratic dividends to Rivers people.
Also speaking, the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, urged all Rivers people to support the PDP to deliver Fubara, who would continue in Wike’s trajectory of growth, development and progress for Rivers State.
In his remarks, Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, expressed the hope that Rivers State would continue in the tradition of delivering all PDP candidates as known since 1999.
PDP Deputy National Chairman (South), Amb Taofeek Arapaja, expressed optimism that the party would win all elective positions in the 2023 general election.
Arapaja commended the G-5 Governors for their unwavering commitment to the party.
On his part, former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, urged the national leadership of PDP to use available time to ensure that true reconciliation was achieved, before it was too late.
In his speech, the Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 election in Rivers State, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, said the governorship election in the state was not about him but every Rivers indigene and those who live and do business in the state.
The Rivers PDP standard-bearer said his ambition was selfless, and his vision was to continue to consolidate the milestones of Governor Nyesom Wike in infrastructure, education, health, among others.
Fubara said, “While I was coming here, someone said to me that today is my day, let me set the record straight, what we are doing is not about me but every Rivers citizen, it is not Fubara’s day. Today is the day that we have all come together to support and consolidate on the NEW Rivers Vision.
“Your support for the consolidation of NEW Rivers Vision is Sim. It is not my day but it is a day for continuity. A day we have all agreed that where our present governor will stop, Fubara will continue.
“In the area of education, wherever he stops, Fubara will continue. In the area of infrastructure, which is his special area, wherever he stops, Fubara will continue. Wherever he stops in health care, Fubara will continue from there.
“Like I stated earlier, it is a day for every one of us. A special day will come where we will unveil what we will do for Rivers people, to consolidate on the already established blueprint of the NEW Rivers Vision,” the guber candidate added.
Fubara seized the opportunity to thank Rivers people for their overwhelming and unflinching support for Governor Nyesom Wike and his administration.
“I want to specially thank Rivers people for your continuous support for our visionary and indefatigable Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike,” he said.
Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Amb. Desmond Akawor, who gave the welcome address, said the campaign flag-off was the unveiling of the next governor of Rivers State.
“I welcome you all for the unveiling of the next governor of Rivers State, that man is Sir Sim Fubara. History is being made today. The crowd you see here are Rivers people with PVC, not rented crowd.
“Sim is the man Rivers people have willingly chosen to govern them in 2023. It is Sim Fubara because his candidacy stands for equity and fairness; it is Sim Fubara because he is young, educated, sound, and energetic. He is the right man to take us to the next level, he added.
The Director-General of Rivers PDP Campaign Council, Bro. Felix Obuah, said Wike has made his job as campaign DG easier because he has done tremendously well for Rivers people.
“As the Director-General of PDP Campaign Council, I am supposed to be running around campaigning for our governorship candidate, but Governor Wike has done virtually 75percent of my work with his projects in Rivers State. My job is a lot easier. The entire state is SIMplified,” he stated.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of flags to the governorship candidate and National Assembly candidates by the PDP Deputy National Chairman (South), Amb. Taofeek Arapaja.
While performing the task, Arapaja said they will continue to be loyal to the G-5 Governors because they mean well for Nigeria, and those fighting them are elements of disunity in the country.
CAS Lauds Troops For Exceptional Performance In South-East Operation
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has lauded Nigerian Air Force (NAF) troops for exceptional performance in ongoing Joint Task Force in the South-East code-named “Operation Udo Ka II”.
Abubakar said this yesterday in Enugu during his maiden visit and tour of operational and training assets and facilities within NAF Ground Training Command (GTC), Enugu.
He noted that NAF troops had done exceptionally well and recorded series of success in the joint operation meant to keep the South-East safe and secured for all.
The CAS noted that the GTC Command was highly important to NAF as it housed the ground component (non technical component) as well as a unit of air component necessary to ensure the attainment of the mandate of NAF.
He said: “Today, we are in Enugu, which is the host of the GTC Command in our maiden visit and we are here to interact with the NAF personnel, see the facilities and infrastructure on ground.
“We are also here to encourage the personnel to continue to do the good job they had been doing before now.
“The GTC Command and the Air Training Command are key to all of our activities in NAF and the two commands ensure we have the adequate and skilled manpower for all our activities and operations.
“I am also here to strengthen our activities within Operation Udo Ka II, which Enugu is the headquarters, and see how we can achieve greater successes more than what we are having now and ensure that South-East is totally secured.”
He disclosed that 750 personnel were currently undergoing training and would be graduating between December 2023 and January, 2024.
“These training are important to us in terms of our operation; and the current number is very significant amount of manpower to be injected into our operations and other activities in the country,” he said.
On the inspection in the new GTC Command Headquarters, new 553 Base Services Group (BSG) Headquarters and BSG Annex; Abubakar said that he was quite satisfied and impressed with the pace, level and quality of work done already.
“I have taken out time to inspect the projects and asked questions about the projects and I tell you that I am satisfied with what are on ground and all our assets and facilities are well maintained and protected,” he said.
The NAF boss commended NAF officers, airmen and airwomen in GTC Command for “doing a good job and keeping the flag flying high” as well as extolled their sacrifices and commitment to duties as well.
“I am very happy for their performance. We at the NAF headquarters, we are doing all we can to make sure they have all the necessary support and equipment as well as welfare and accommodation to carry out their jobs effectively,” he said.
He assured NAF personnel of doing more by providing all necessary infrastructures to ensure the maximum working of the GTC Command.
The CAS also inaugurated a renovated airmen’s club and new Mrs Rakiya Abubakar Children’s Park as well as inspected the water treatment and reticulation system and the hospital within NAF Base, Abakpa in Enugu.
UNIBADAN Lecturer Wins Best Thesis Dollar Prize
The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos, has announced Dr Muhammad Ribadu as winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Ph.D thesis in African Studies award.
The Director of the institute, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, made the announcement in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
Ribadu, of the University of Ibadan, will be rewarded with a total of 1000 dollars, a plaque and a certificate.
Falaiye said a total of 18 entries for the 4th edition of competition were received from various universities in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa
He gave the title of the winning thesis as: The Social Context of Gentrification in Lagos State; Ph.D (Jan. 2023) Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan.
“The first runner up for this competition was Oluwaseyi Popogbe, currently a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Crawford University in Ogun.
“The title of his thesis is: Social Exclusion and Poverty in Selected Coastal Slum Areas in Lagos State; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) Department of Economics University of Lagos.
“The second runner up position went to Dr Charles Akwen, currently a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Lagos.
“Akwen’s thesis is titled: Notions of Identity in the Literary Creativity of Odia Ofeimun and Yang Mu; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) English Literature, University of Lagos,” the director stated.
He said that both the first and second runners up would be awarded plaques and certificates in recognition of their contributions and hard work.
Falaiye noted that the competition was in honour of Prof. Rahamon Bello, who was the 10th Vice Chancellor of the university, at the time the institute was inaugurated.
The prize money is usually donated every year for the award by friends of Prof. Bello.
Falaiye said that Dec, 6, had been fixed for the presentation of the awards.
The Tide source reports that the award was first presented in 2020.
States, LGs Lack Infrastructure To Manage Ecological Fund, Shun Queries – Perm Sec
The 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government councils have no structure in place to manage Ecological Fund.
The declaration was made in Abuja, yesterday, by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made the declaration at an interactive session with the House Representatives Committee on Ecological Fund.
He said since states and local governments began to share the fund with the Federal Government they had not been able to put structures in place to manage their share.
The Ecological Fund is an intervention fund by the Federal Government to address the multifarious ecological challenges in various communities in the country.
Ibrahim told the house committee that the sharing of the fund among the three tiers of government followed a court decision.
He said governors and local council chairmen never welcomed queries about how they deployed the ecological funds.
“It is a `no-go’ area,’’ he quipped.
“They don’t want to see officials of the Ecological Project Office near them; so we cannot ask them how they spend the money,’’ he added.
Ibrahim said also that all motions by the National Assembly regarding intervention on ecological project matters had been treated.
“The Ecological Project Office acts expeditiously on documents sent to it to solve problems; it looks at some of the gaps within the motion and tries to fill the gaps, and we have had more than five of such motions.
“ The Ecological Project Office does not handle funds; it only appraises projects and makes recommendations to the president,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary explained that it is the Ministry of Finance that manages the fund and the projects.
He stressed that it was a misconception that the Ecological Project Office is in charge of funds and at liberty to decide on where projects would be sited with the money in its coffers.
He said whenever there were interventions; the Ecological Project Office informed affected communities and went with the contractor to hand over the projects to the community.
This is to enable the community to take ownership of the intervention and communicate their observations to the project office.
Responding, Rep. Sani Jaji (APC-Kaura Namoda/ Birnin Magaji), chairman of the committee, said there should always be stakeholders engagement before embarking on ecological fund intervention projects.
He noted that the projects were stakeholders’ projects and failure to include the stakeholders would always lead to security breach.
“So many things happened with UNICEF’s polio vaccine rejection; but when it included stakeholders, people began to accept the vaccine.
“It is critical to involve stakeholders and ensure equity. Security cannot be the reason why you won’t execute projects in certain parts of the country.
“The perception about your office is that there is money out there; so you need to change that perception and let people know that you have limitations about the execution of projects,’’ he said.
Jaji challenged the Ecological Fund Project Office to provide the needed advice to the president to enable him to take the correct steps.
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