Rivers Electorate’ll Punish PDP National Leadership -Wike
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says Rivers electorates will use the forthcoming election to punish the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for abandoning them during the October and November 2022 flooding incidence.
Governor Wike made the remark yesterday at the Community Secondary School in Akinima Town during the Rivers State PDP Campaign Flag-off Rally at Ahoada West Local Government Area.
The governor explained that the flooding situation was devastating in some communities of Abua/ Odual, Ahoada West and Ahoada East Local Government Areas with houses submerged, the people displaced, and their socioeconomic life disrupted.
Wike recalled that while the period lasted, the national leadership of PDP refused to visit those communities as a way of identifying with Rivers people when it mattered most.
Governor Wike emphasised that even though the PDP national leadership refused to identify with Rivers communities, they gladly visited flood impacted communities in other States, and identified with them, which can now be interpreted that they hate Rivers State.
He said in retaliation of the hatred, and the mindset that Rivers State does not matter, the electorates will use the power of their permanent voters cards (PVCs) to “pepper” the PDP national leadership in the forthcoming election.
“You had a problem, a major problem. Ahoada West, Ahoada East, Abua-Odual, had a major flooding problem. After they’ll say we are in the same party. Is there anybody from the national of our party that came to visit Ahoada West, Ahoada East, and Abua?
“But they went to other states, which means that they don’t like us. If somebody says he doesn’t like you, will you force yourself on them?”
Speaking further, Governor Wike reassured the people of Ahoada West Local Government that his administration would deliver to them a fully reconstructed Government Secondary School, Okarki.
Governor Wike told them that the contract for the project was awarded long time ago and paid for in full, but their sons who got the contract failed to deliver on schedule.
He assured that the contract would be re-awarded and completed before his tenure ends on May 29.
Governor Wike urged the people not to allow ballot box snatchers in the area to outsmart them anymore particularly, now that the elections will be conducted electronically.
He harped on the need for massive mobilisation of the people per electoral unit, so that the voters will be aware of who to cast their votes for, and to make sure that PDP wins all the election for governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly.
“What I want to advise you this time is, don’t allow those ballot box snatchers in APC to try it again. Luckily, this election is not election of snatching ballot boxes or paper. It is election that will be done electronically and transmitted electronically. All we need from you is to mobilise your people unit to unit.”
In his address, Rivers State governorship candidate of the PDP, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, noted that because of the massive development projects delivered in the area by the PDP controlled State government, the party has first right of winning the election.
Fubara, therefore, urged the people to go and collect the remainder of their PVCs at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said with the PVCs, they can confidently vote into power the PDP consolidation team that will continue to deliver to them more development projects, education infrastructure and to sustain the security experienced in the area.
Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who presented party’s flags to candidates contesting for the various elective positions, charged the people to ensure bulk delivery of winning votes to PDP.
Rivers State Deputy governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is contesting for Rivers West Senatorial District slot, spoke on behalf of the candidates and said sequel to excellent performance of Governor Wike in office, it is given that Ahoada West is faithful supporter of PDP.
She promised that when elected, they would commit to upholding the interest of their constituents and the State at large.
Before going to the campaign venue, Governor Wike had paid a courtesy visit to the Ahoada West Local Government Traditional Rulers Council under the chairmanship of Chief Moore Maclean Ubuo, the king of Engenni kingdom, to first introduce and secure royal blessings for Sir Siminialayi Fubara, as the incoming governor of the State.
Ayu, You Are Gone -Wike …Says Those Plotting Against Them Are Now Victims …You’ve Done Well For Rivers People -Makinde
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday celebrated the ouster of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu.
The National Deputy Chairman of the party, (North), Umar Damagum, was announced yesterday as Ayu’s replacement in an acting capacity.
Ayu’s exit comes barely two days after the Executive Committee of the PDP in Igyorov Ward, Gboko Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State suspended the former chairman with immediate effect.
Ayu had been embroiled in a bitter feud with some high-ranking PDP members led by five governors identified as the G5: Wike, Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
With the emergence of PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the party’s May 2022 primary, the G5 refused to join the campaign unless Ayu resigned.
The face-off culminated in the party’s defeat at the February 25 presidential election.
Moments after Ayu’s removal was made public yesterday, Wike celebrated the defeat at the commissioning of the Trans-Kalabari Road Phase 1, Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“You see how God works? All those people who were plotting evil against us, they are now the ones suffering it,” he said.
Wike further mocked the former PDP National Chairman: “Ayu said nobody can suspend him but today, he has packed out from the national office. We have an acting chairman. I told him he will go whether he likes it or not, he will go.”
“Those lawyers telling you that the ward has no power to suspend you, that it’s only National Executive Council (NEC), then you don’t understand what is happening. When you came, it was the ward that suspended (Uche) Secondus, and you went and took office, is it not?”
“So, is it now that you know that it is only NEC that can suspend you? Let me tell you, since they’ve not told you, the court has struck off that section of our constitution that says it’s only NEC can suspend (chairman). PDP did not even appeal the judgement.
“So, forget it, you are gone. You are wasting your time. We are ready for the battle. I am not from Benue, but I have interest and that interest is that Ayu must go”.
He advised Ayu to come to terms with the reality that his calamitous reign has come to an end.
The governor said Ayu’s claim that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) can suspend him was a pointer that he was suffering from delusion of grandeur.
He declared that Ayu cannot reap from a party by presiding over its affairs, where he has not sown or secured any electoral victory for it.
Wike pointed out that Ayu’s suspension by his ward executive shows that he is not a formidable force and respected political leader who commands loyal followers.
“Look at it, a national chairman, your own ward will be suspending you. Does it not tell you that you are not on ground? Your own ward will be suspending you and you go to television to say only NEC can suspend you. Stay, wait for NEC, but then know that you’re gone”, he asserted
The governor noted that Ayu could not secure winning votes for his preferred candidate in the February 25 presidential election, in addition to electoral failure that greeted him because he lost his unit, ward, local government and the state to the opposition party.
“Ayu, the man you supported for president you didn’t give him the vote, he lost. We supported a southern president and we won in our states for equity, justice and fairness.
“A man who lost his unit, a man who lost his ward, a man who lost his local government, a man who lost his state and he is coming to preside over us who won our units, won our wards, won our local governments, won our state, something must be wrong”, he said.
Wike also told Ayu: “You cannot reap where you never sowed. If all of us have lost our states, what will you be chairing.
“You want to use Rivers State to be chairman, we are not party to that. Go and bring your own local government. Here (in Rivers), we won 32 over 32 seats for House of Assembly; Ayu, how many did you win? Here, we won the three seats for Senate too; Ayu, how many did you win? We won 11 out of the 13 seats for House of representatives; Ayu, how many did you win?”
Commenting on the Trans-Kalabari Road project, Wike dismissed sceptics who had assumed he won’t complete the project.
According to him, despite the kidnap of Lubrik Construction Company staff for five months in a bid to disrupt the project, he pressed on and ensured its completion in his tenure.
The governor commended Kalabari people for supporting the PDP and delivering winning votes in the three local government areas for Sir Siminialayi Fubara to emerge the governor-elect.
Performing the inauguration of the project, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State noted that Wike has done so well for Rivers people because of the spread of his development projects in virtually every community.
Makinde said he is following in the footstep of Wike to sustain the pace of delivery of democratic dividends to people of Oyo State who have graciously re-elected him for a second tenure.
Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. Dakorinima Alabo George-Kelly, said the Trans-Kalabari Road that is 13. 545 kilometers long linking six Kalabari communities to mainland, was awarded on March 23, 2021, and completed on schedule.
“Several governments in the past had made futile attempts to commence this project, but they were all efforts in futilities. You came, you awarded and in no time we are here for the commissioning of the project. Your Excellency, you have put your name in the sands of time so far the Kalabari ethnicity is concerned.
“Before now, out of the 33 towns and villages of the Kalabari ethnic nationality, only 12 were linked up to the mainland. Your Excellency, Nyesom Wike has linked up extra six to the mainland.”
In his goodwill message, Chairman of Rivers State Elders Forum, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, noted that 18 months after he was privileged to perform the flag-off of the Trans-Kalabari Road, against the expectation of sceptics, it has been inaugurated.
According to him, it shows that Wike was not like other politicians who promise what they cannot fulfill, adding that Kalabari people were eternally grateful to him.
In his welcome address, Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Michael Williams, flanked by his counterparts of Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru, expressed the appreciation of Kalabari people to Wike for fulfilling his promise of delivering the phase one of the Trans-Kalabari Road within his tenure.
Naira Scarcity: NLC Postpones Protest by Two Weeks
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to carry out nationwide protest in two weeks if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fails to find permanent solution to cash scarcity.
President of NLC, Joe Ajaero, and his counterpart in the TUC, Festus Osifo, gave the warning at a joint press briefing which held at Labour House, at the end of their National Executive Council meeting, yesterday.
The congress had last week said that it would begin an indefinite strike and picket all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria across the country.
But the apex bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, in an attempt to avert the impending crisis, called on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, to prevail on the Labour leaders to sheathe their sword.
However, Ajaero said after receiving briefings from its state councils in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, the NLC decided to defer the picketing directive issued to workers last week.
He said reports from its state councils showed that the cash scarcity was easing off.
The labour leader told reporters that the NLC would resume the planned protest if naira notes become unavailable to Nigerians by the end of the two weeks.
According to him, committees had been set up at both the national and state levels to monitor situations in banks and report to it at the end of the two-week ultimatum.
He said, “Yes, there has been compliance but the NLC after its NEC meeting doubted the sustainability of the compliance.
“We have to monitor this compliance for the next two weeks to see whether it is sustainable because they have rushed to move money to commercial banks and some of them are getting empty again. It will be very naive for the congress to hurriedly call off the action. Whereas we are not shutting down tomorrow.
“We will want to loosen up for another two weeks with committees set up at the national level and all the states of the federation to coordinate compliance. There are some banks that didn’t open on the weekend. We advise the CBN to play the role of the regulator. They can sanction banks that are not complying.
“The first and second day the CBN said the money they were pushing per week they were pushing it daily. I wouldn’t know if they are still pushing it daily. They have constrained the banking sector. Nigerians have suffered so much. Even those who have withdrawn N10,000 are afraid to bring it out in case the scarcity returns.
“The NLC and TUC have decided to allow tomorrow pass without any shutdown or picketing but to watch the next two weeks.
“After two weeks from today (Tuesday), the NEC of the two Labour centres will meet again and decide whether the CBN has actually complied and whether their compliance is sustainable to drive the economy.”
On his part, the President of TUC assured that Labour would continue to protect the interest of workers and Nigerians.
Osifo said the two Labour centres would sustain the push for banks to make naira notes available to Nigerians for another two weeks.
He said, “We have agreed that we need to sustain this push for another two weeks. Reports from various states showed that there has been some level of compliance but some banks didn’t open at the weekend.
“We call on the CBN to sustain this action because the quantum of money Nigerians need now is even higher if this panic had not come in because an average Nigerian will withdraw money and be spending it little by little.
“The confidence in the system has been eroded and because that confidence has been eroded the CBN needs to do more by pumping more money into the economy.”
Osinbajo Seeks Global Synergy Against Terrorism In Africa
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on great and emerging powers to put aside rivalries and work together with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU), to stamp out terrorism in Africa.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said the vice president delivered a public lecture at the King’s College, London, UK.
The title of the lecture was, “Africa Can Prosper in an Increasingly Complex World”.
According to the vice president, there is restiveness on the continent which is driven in part by poverty, alienation, environmental degradation and poor governance.
“The more pressing problem today is the encroachment by franchises of global terror groups into Africa; although many African countries have acted vigorously to tackle these terrorist groups.
“There is still much more that can be done especially in partnership with the rest of the international community.
“The Sahel appears to be the worst hit; according to the 2022 Global Terrorism Index, the Sahel has become home to ‘the world’s fastest growing and most deadly terrorist groups’ and Sub Saharan Africa accounts for 48 per cent of global terrorism deaths.
“The Sahel is also said to account for half a million internally displaced persons, 1.8 million people facing food insecurity and 5.1 million people needing humanitarian assistance.
“Given the scale of the problem and the fact that the threat of terrorism anywhere on earth is a threat to the whole of humanity, I think it is time for the global community to treat the menace of terrorism in the Sahel as a common challenge.
“This is one area in which the great powers and emerging powers can put aside rivalries and work together with ECOWAS and the African Union on an initiative to stamp out terrorism in Africa especially in the Sahel.”
Osinbajo said that Africa had been and remained a force for global good.
He made reference to the agreement in 1963 when African countries barely out from colonial rule agreed to respect colonially inherited boundaries.
The vice president said the agreement was a big deal as most wars in the world in previous centuries were often linked to disagreements about boundaries.
“ Following from the respect for colonially inherited boundaries, Africa has also shown outstandingly good example in using its regional integration arrangements to promote peace and security on one hand and trade and industry on the other.
“African regional organisations have taken responsibility for maintenance of peace and security in the continent and its sub-regions.
“Notable in this regard is the strong resistance to unconstitutional changes of government at the African Union and also in regional economic groupings.
“ECOWAS for instance has sanctioned countries like Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali where soldiers have seized power by coups d’etat.
“Such sanctions include suspension of memberships, travel bans and freezes on financial credits amongst other things.”
Osinbajo commended the AU which has backed up ECOWAS actions and has also suspended the membership of these countries.
He also acknowledged that the U.S. Government issued a statement of specific support for ECOWAS sanctions in Guinea.
Osinbajo praised efforts towards economic development in the continent as Africa had shown outstandingly good example through the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA).
He expressed optimism that AfCFTA would overcome the constraints of Africa’s small, fragmented markets and its impact on commerce within the continent both in goods and services will be profound.
According to the vice president, another investment which has the capacity to act as a game-changer for Africa in the current complex world is digitalisation.
“I think there is a strong conviction that digitalisation offers the best opportunity of leap-frogging for Africa.
“Digital technologies are being deployed across Africa to provide solutions in agriculture, education, Fintech and healthcare delivery.
“ It is also being deployed in logistics and transport and have the potential to be used for smart housing solutions and smart power grids.
“The story of mobile telephony which has provided the platform for the use of digital technologies in daily lives in Africa is one such example.
“ Due to mobile telephony, Africa is ahead of other parts of the world in terms of Fintech and payments solutions; Africa accounts for about half of the world’s mobile money accounts,’’ he said.
He said that more African countries were using AI-enabled surveillance technologies for facial recognition to monitor and respond to crime.
The vice president’s lecture also touched on climate change crisis, the Russian-Ukrainian war, among other issues.
Earlier, Prof. Rachel Mills, the Senior Vice President (Academics) at the King’s College, said the college and especially the African Leadership Centre (ALC) had long standing collaboration with African institutions.
She said that the college, had over the years, demonstrated its commitment to offering quality education to young talented Africans through its partnership programmes with some African Universities.
Mills underscored the importance of the public lecture delivered by the vice president as an opportunity to reflect on Nigeria as a regional leader in economic, political and social terms.
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