Connect with us

Politics

Gov Fubara And One Year of His Signature in Rivers By Nath Odili

Published

on

Gov Fubara And One Year of His Signature in Rivers

By Nath Odili

 

Going by the recent comment by His Excellency, Siminalayi Fubara, Executive Governor of Rivers State that his administration started in February 2024, it would be right to say that he’s just four months old in office. However, the record books won’t accept such a position. This is not the first time such is happening in Rivers State.

It would be recalled that in 2007, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi took over the mantle of leadership when his colleagues in other States were already 5 months into their tenure. He had to forfeit the time spent by his immediate predecessor, Chief Celestine Omehia for peace to reign and by May 29th 2011, it was assumed or believed that Amaechi had spent 4 years in office, when in a real sense, he had three and a half.

The case of Governor Fubara is peculiar, though. Unlike Amaechi, Fubara was in office but not in power. While he was there as the figurehead, the levers and fulcrum of power resided somewhere else and being wielded, controlled, manipulated and exercised by someone who stayed miles away. Someone who was once in the driver’s seat but was reckless in driving. Someone who had the opportunity to lead but decided to rule with pride and arrogance. A mortal man who equated himself with God.

So in an attempt to x-ray the giant strides of the people’s governor within the last year, we must be mindful of other events that have shaped the administration as there’s a saying that “no event, no history”. Yes, the last year has been eventful and one of the biggest achievements of Gov. Fubarais his ability to wrestle and rescue Rivers from the shackles of those who kidnapped the State and held her and her abundant resources hostage for their gains.

During the electioneering campaign and his early days in office, not much was expected of a Fubara administration as he was seen as a stooge and puppet of the immediate past administration. The people of Rivers were expecting another four years of hellish experience, of brutal governance spiced with arrogance. They had made up their minds to live with another “bull in a Chinese shop”.

A government that will seize their ancestral lands and confiscate their cherished properties without reason talk more of compensation. A government that invites you to the government house, you expect feedback and good explanations to take back to your people but what you get is insults and humiliation right before the cameras and by the time you get home, everyone is already aware of your bitter experience as it was live on national televisions.

The governor who can change this narrative and take away this shame from the land and reproach from the people would be said to have done more than enough. This was exactly what Fubara achieved in his first seven months in office and because it’s not physical infrastructure that can be seen or touched, the governor is not impressed with himself. The people experiencing this new breath of fresh air blowing through the State are exceedingly grateful though. Without being a member of the Omoyele Sowore RevolutionNow “take-it-back” squad, Governor Fubara has taken back power on behalf of the good people of Rivers State and has now settled down to work for the good of the electorate and the land.

If the above looks abstract to the outsider and those who are not physically there in Rivers to experience the relief on the faces of the people on the streets, well, the governor also felt the same way and is probably not counting it as one of his numerous achievements. When he rolled out his scorecard and account of his stewardship in Port Harcourt to commemorate his one year in office, he referred to the political crisis he wriggled through as vicious and existential and assured the people that the worst was over as he said he has defended his rights to govern the oil-rich State without compromise.

Governor Fubara who said he inherited a project debt of over ₦225 Billion from his predecessor, promised to continue with any of those projects that have a direct bearing on the lives of the people despite the desperate efforts by his detractors to sabotage his government. He said he inherited 34 abandoned projects spread across 13 Council Areas but is committed to their completion.

He cited examples of how a cartel incited a contractor of an abandoned project to go to court and frustrated his efforts to complete the project. He also said the cartel went all out to persuade dignitaries and resource persons invited to the Rivers Economic and Investment Summit not to attend the programme or associate with his government but got disappointed when they decided not to politicize issues of the economy.

The former Accountant General of Rivers said his government has awarded contracts for nine new roads with a combined sum totalling over ₦534 Billion.
He said he established an “Internally Generated Revenue Investment Advisory Committee” chaired by himself that has greatly improved the internally generated revenue of the State.

From the ₦12 Billion monthly IGR he inherited in May 2023, he said the monthly generated revenue now fluctuates between ₦17 during the off-peak to ₦28 Billion in peak periods. It also goes to show how most of the State’s revenue was being diverted into private accounts before he regained control of the treasury. Those benefitting from this malfeasance were using the proceeds of this crime to foment trouble and destabilize the State.

To encourage investors and support small-scale businesses, the government has kept tax rates very low and has completely frozen taxes on small businesses. The government is partnering with the Bank of Industry to support micro and small-scale businesses and about ₦4 Billion has been committed to this cause. It is aimed at empowering about 3,000 businesses that can create jobs with multiplier effects on the job market. The money will be disbursed at a single-digit interest rate with a 5-year repayment plan.

The administration awarded the 50-kilometre Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Ring Road with six flyovers, a river crossing and street lights which run across six local government areas to Julius Berger Nigeria PLC for ₦195 Billion and made a down payment of ₦150 Billion which represents 77% of the total sum. Julius Berger has never had it so good in Nigeria. Though the agreed completion period is 36 months, work is proceeding from six different points and there’s every likely hold that they will beat the time.

There’s also the 34-kilometre Elele-Omoku road awarded at the cost of almost ₦81 Billion with a completion period of 24 months. 50% of the contract sum has already been paid to the contractor. The projects are been financed from internally generated revenue and allocation from the Federation Account as an additional loan burden on the State is not the priority of the government at the moment.

In the area of education, Government Secondary Schools in Bokori, Eneka, Emohua, Okrika, Ataba, Community Secondary Schools in Kunusha, Tai, Rumuepirikom and many other secondary schools have experienced the Fubara touch. The government paid about ₦612 Billion for the furnishing of the convocation ground at the University of Port Harcourt, a federal university and also committed over ₦700 million for the construction of a twin hostel at the Nigerian Law School, Yenagoa Campus. This is apart from the ₦2 Billion released to the Universal Basic Education Board, UBEC as a counterpart fund for the upgrading and standardisation of Basic Schools in Rivers State.

Honestly, some of the figures being released by the Rivers State government to a single agency sound like the annual budget of ministries in other states. That’s the Fubara way. Emergency ambulance services have been revived in Rivers State and the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital is being equipped to improve tertiary healthcare services in the State, most especially to handle referrals. Already, 35 Primary Healthcare Centres have been upgraded to attend to the immediate health needs of rural dwellers.

In one year, which many believe is just a few months, Fubara is already imposing his signature and stamping his authority on the State and it’s becoming visibly clear he’s only out to serve his people. Many won’t mind if he continues on this path even if he steps on the toes of those who have held back the State for so long and become huddles on his way.

The founding fathers of the State and critical stakeholders who are only interested in the well-being and prosperity of the State are solidly behind Governor Fubara and the solitary he enjoys from these Elder Statemen is enough encouragement that could spur him to do more in his remaining years in office.
Now, the Rivers people are hungry for more and the man who killed the “Rivers lion” with his bare hands is now ready to confront any Goliath that stands to defile his people.

Odili wrote this piece from Port Harcourt.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Politics

SANWO-OLU: WE’LL ARREST THOSE BEHIND KIDNAPPING OF LEBANESE NATIONALS 

Published

on

SANWO-OLU MOURNS MEDICAL DOCTOR, DR. DIASO, ORDERS IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION

Says Lagos will not condone people with evil intentions

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday vowed to arrest perpetrators behind the recent kidnapping of the three Lebanese nationals, including the Managing Director of Fouani Nigeria Limited, Muhammed Fouani, saying his government would not condone people of evil intentions in the State.

He assured Lagos residents, particularly business owners and religious tourists, of adequate security in the state, saying his administration is committed to making the State peaceful, attractive and homely.

Governor Sanwo-Olu gave the assurance during a courtesy visit by the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Revd. Israel Akanji, and his entourage at the Lagos House, Alausa, on Wednesday.

The Governor, while confirming the kidnapping and release of three Lebanese, said the incident happened on the big water on their way to Ikorodu and not around Five Cowry in Falomo, as reported.

He said, “The security of life and property is paramount, and we do not leave anything to chance on that. The very recent incident that happened in Lagos was about the kidnapping of three members of our Lebanese community. We are happy that they have been released, and this morning (Wednesday), I met with them, and we have useful information to ensure that the perpetrators of the act are not going to be spared.

“We know we have an idea of how far they have gone, and we will do everything to ensure that we do not give them a space in our city and state. I want to assure all our citizens and businesses, both national and international, that Lagos will continue to remain safe and peaceful. People thought the incident happened around the Five Cowry, Falomo. No, it actually happened on the big water on the way to Ikorodu. So they were not even around Falomo.

“We want to assure you that we are on top of it. The security operatives are combing all the necessary areas. This is a strong signal that Lagos will not condone such people with evil intentions. They do not deserve any sort of recognition. So, we will continue to make Lagos peaceful. We will continue to make it attractive and homely. We will continue to ensure that businesses thrive. We will ensure people live and work in a conducive environment.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu, while responding to the request of the Nigerian Baptist Convention to host the annual Baptist World Alliance in Nigeria for the first time in over a century, promised to ensure a safe and delightful experience for all foreign religious tourists coming to Lagos next month for the convention, noting that religious organisations are stakeholders in governance.

He said, “Nigeria and Lagos are ready to host the world. We believe it is a thing of joy and celebration to be acknowledged and identified with not only the African body but the global body of the Baptist Convention.

“We want to assure all the international visitors that will be coming that Lagos State Government will support you. We will ensure that we provide additional security in and around the hotel environment so that everybody will feel safe and will also taste the hospitality of Lagos.”

Speaking earlier, the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Revd Akanji, commended the giant strides of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration, especially in food and transport palliatives for residents during these economic challenges in the country.

“We want to appreciate a lot of reforms going on in Lagos State. We want to thank you for the transportation. Rail transportation has brought a lot of conveniences to our people. We want to thank you for your consideration concerning the staggering number of days of work for staff. That has brought relief to so many of our people. We want to thank you for your proactiveness all the time when it has to do with health care. We also thank you for the security in Lagos State,” he said.

Revd. Akanji, who is the President of the African Baptist Convention, solicited the support of the Lagos State Government to host the annual Baptist World Alliance, which has its headquarters in the United States of America.

Continue Reading

Politics

LG Chairmen Tenure: Gov Fubara Deserves Nobel Peace Prize – Nigerians In Diaspora*

Published

on

*LG Chairmen Tenure: Gov Fubara Deserves Nobel Peace Prize – Nigerians In Diaspora*

 

 

The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group (NDMG) has nominated Governor Siminalayi Fubara for the Nobel Peace Prize for saving democracy and eschewing illegality in Rivers State.

The group, in a statement on Tuesday, said the governor was brave, decisive and swift to direct Heads of Local Government Administration to assume responsibility for the 23 council areas.

Recall that Governor Fubara ordered elected local government chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors to step aside on Monday after the expiration of their three-year tenure.

In the statement signed by Dr Markson Martins, the Diaspora group hailed the governor for skillfully avoiding potential criminality and a breakdown of law and order with a view towards a peaceful transition.

Martins said Fubara embodies the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize, adding that his unwavering commitment to democracy, stability, and the well-being of his people makes him an inspiration to Nigerians and a shining example for African leaders.

The group, therefore, urged other Nigerian leaders to emulate Governor Fubara’s exemplary leadership, prioritizing the rule of law, democracy, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

“We proudly nominate Governor Siminalayi Fubara for the esteemed Nobel Peace Prize. This recognition is in honour of his exemplary leadership and commitment to upholding democracy in Rivers State,” Martins said.

“Recently, Governor Fubara demonstrated his dedication to the rule of law by directing Heads of Local Government Administration to assume responsibility for the 23 council areas.

“This decisive action followed the expiration of the three-year tenure of elected local government chairmen, vice chairmen, and councillors. By taking this step, he skillfully avoided potential illegality and a breakdown of law and order, ensuring a peaceful transition.

“Governor Fubara’s leadership embodies the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize. His unwavering commitment to democracy, stability, and the well-being of his people makes him an inspiration to Nigerians and a shining example for African leaders.

“His actions have not only maintained peace in Rivers State but also strengthened trust in government. We urge the Nobel Committee to recognize Governor Fubara’s remarkable achievement and award him the Nobel Peace Prize.

“His leadership is a beacon of hope for Nigeria and Africa, and this recognition will further inspire him and other leaders to prioritize peace, democracy, and the greater good.

“We call on other Nigerian leaders to emulate Governor Fubara’s exemplary leadership, prioritizing the rule of law, democracy, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.”

Continue Reading

Politics

RE: ON ICAO’S DAMNING REPORT ON NIGERIAN AIRSPACE SECURITY.

Published

on

Keyamo

RE: ON ICAO’S DAMNING REPORT ON NIGERIAN AIRSPACE SECURITY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— A REPLY TO ONE ILIYASU GADU WHO HAS BEEN HIRED TO ATTACK FESTUS KEYAMO, SAN

 

 

 

 

 

Tunde Moshood

 

 

 

 

 

Sahara Weekly Reports That We are aware that a certain former Minister met with some so-called ‘online influencers’ and some hack writers in Abuja some weeks ago and the agenda was simply on how to generate comments, articles and editorials and plant them in various media against no other person than the current Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN to water down the efforts he’s presently making to reposition the aviation sector as mandated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

 

 

 

 

 

RE: ON ICAO’S DAMNING REPORT ON NIGERIAN AIRSPACE SECURITY. 

 

 

 

 

They have since embarked on a well-oiled campaign of calumny against the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo SAN CON, FCIarb (UK). This coordinated attack is clearly driven by their total discomfort over the Honourable Minister’s commendable performance and focus on key issues in that sector which has confounded even his fiercest critics.

 

 

 

 

 

So, we know where Iliyasu Gadu is coming from.

 

Of course, the push-back by the reactionary forces should be expected. Beneficiaries of the old, decadent order will hardly ever give up old privileges without a fight. But, definitely, in the eyes of right-thinking Nigerians, the honourable minister is doing a damn good patriotic job by restoring the culture of sanity, efficiency and accountability in the aviation sector, consistent with President Tinubu’s renewed Hope Agenda.

 

In the last few weeks, the paymaster and his hirelings wrote and planted an editorial in one of the nation’s major dailies complaining about Keyamo’s alleged ‘interference’ in what they see as ‘regulatory issues on safety’. Apparently pained by the wide applause that has greeted the Minister’s bold initiatives both in the media and civic space, these disgruntled elements decided to generate a laughable and warped ‘fact-check’ on the stated achievements with a view to discrediting them. But knowledgeable folks who read the so-called ‘fact-check’ only laughed out so loud that they could not help but call for another fact-check to check the fact-checker!

 

In the latest baseless criticism, Iliyasu Gadu referred to Mr. Keyamo as ‘embattled’. Haba! Who could be more embattled than his paymaster who has been running from pillar to post to clear himself of barrage of corruption charges, ineptitude during his tenure and fraudulent projects he embarked upon?

 

The Honourable Minister has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership and strategic acumen, earning him accolades and admiration from members of the public. Any attempt to discredit him, particularly by a former Minister whose reputation is already tarnished, is not only baseless but also a desperate bid to deflect from his own failures.

 

“Alarmist” Gadu’s spurious claims, particularly regarding the ICAO score, are unfounded. The recent 71% ICAO score is a reflection of systemic issues inherited from previous administration, and not as a result of Mr. Keyamo’s stewardship of just nine months. It was Mr. Keyamo’s brilliance and managerial expertise that steered the nation through the ICAO audit process, mitigating what could have been worse situation. Mr. Keyamo has since set up a Ministerial team, headed by himself and to be meeting monthly, to prepare for the next audit, something never done before in the sector. In fact, in Gadu’s confused state, on the one hand, he blames Mr. Keyamo for the ICAO’s score which happened under Keyamo’s watch (he feels Mr. Keyamo could have done more to remedy the situation), yet in the same breath, he criticises Mr. Keyamo for ‘interference’ in regulatory matters. Haba! He needs to clear his head properly and further consult his paymaster as to whether they should criticise Mr. Keyamo for safety issues or tell Mr. Keyamo to totally keep off safety issues.

 

Furthermore, on the issue of the Abuja second runway and the land dispute with the Jiwa Community, the facts speak for themselves. The head of the Jiwa Community himself, HRH Dr. IDRIS MUSA (MFR) (Sarkin jiwa), at different public fora openly acknowledged the sterling role Mr. Keyamo played the moment he assumed office in resolving the major part of the issues, allowing the contractors to immediately move to site. He was ably assisted by his counter-part in the FCT Ministry. This information is readily available and corroborated by numerous sources, contrary to the misleading narratives propagated by “Alarmist” Gadu and his cohorts. And at no point did he claim to have resolved, singlehanded, the issue. It is purely an Inter-Ministerial synergy between the FCT and the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development. So what’s the basis of the fact-check agenda for? Envy or vendetta?

 

Regarding the payment of backlog of funds owed to foreign airlines, the Honourable Minister’s diplomatic engagements were pivotal in resolving an issue that had threatened to paralyze the nation’s aviation sector, inflicting untold hardship and financial stress on the travelling public. His efforts, both domestically and internationally, underscore his commitment to the sector’s growth and stability. It was clear that he worked closely with the CBN to highlight the importance of prioritising his sector and the CBN heeded his passionate plea and responded. So, the question is: if the CBN itself has not disputed his claims, who are these faceless fellows disputing his claim?

 

The claim that the Air Peace Lagos- Gatwick route was secured during the last administration is equally laughable. The CEO of AIR PEACE himself, Allen Onyeama, went round media houses, reeling out the various efforts of Mr. Keyamo to make this happen, including several trips to the UK and the pressure he put on the UK authorities. That is hearing from the proverbial horse’s mouth. As reported by Daily Independent Newspapers on January 27, 2024, Mr. Keyamo led a delegation to the United Kingdom to tidy up the final conversations of the Airpeace London Gatwick operations. Here’s the link, https://independent.ng/fg-reinstates-commitment-towards-supporting-nigerian-airlines-growth/. It is, therefore, foolhardy of anyone to suggest that the Minister needs another meeting with his UK counterpart after the inaugural flight. Of what relevance will that be?

 

In summary, the baseless attacks orchestrated by Iliyasu Gadu and his cohorts are a feeble attempt to malign Honourable Minister Keyamo. It is clearly the voice of Esau and the hand of Jacob. Such efforts will not deter the Minister from his mission to enhance the aviation sector and deliver on his mandate. The public is encouraged to see through these unfounded allegations and recognize the significant strides being made under Minister Keyamo’s leadership.

 

We advise Iliyasu and his gang of “influencers” that Mr. Keyamo is an old war-horse in various battles for many decades now and they are very much welcome to this one.

 

 

Tunde Moshood

SA Media and Communications to the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development

Continue Reading

Cover Of The Week

Trending