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Probing Rivers Ugly Past* By Simon Peter

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In examining the realm of governance and public resource management, one would agree that, accountability is a sacrosanct principle that serves as the bedrock of trust between the government and its citizens. However, in Rivers State, Nigeria, this fundamental principle appears to be under assault, as a plethora of allegations ranging from misconduct to malfeasance swirl around the former governor, Mr. Wike. The people of Rivers State have endured immense suffering under Wike’s leadership, and it is now incumbent upon Governor Sim Fubara to take swift and decisive action to investigate these egregious wrongdoings, hold perpetrators accountable, and deliver long-overdue justice to the victims. By doing so, Governor Fubara can begin to restore the trust that has been eroded and ensure that the principles of accountability and good governance are upheld in Rivers State.

 

 

 

The burning question on many minds is, “When will Governor Fubara probe Wike?”

The tenure of Mr. Wike as the governor of Rivers State was marked by a plethora of controversies and allegations of corruption, which have left an indelible stain on his legacy. One of the most egregious accusations leveled against him is the perpetration of inflated contracts, wherein contracts awarded during his tenure were allegedly grossly overpriced, resulting in a significant depletion of the state’s resources. If these allegations are substantiated, it would constitute a brazen betrayal of public trust, a flagrant violation of the principles of transparency and accountability, and a egregious abuse of power.

Moreover, Mr. Wike stands accused of leaving the state in a financially precarious situation, wherein the state’s debt profile skyrocketed under his leadership, plunging the state into a financial crisis. This has had a devastating impact on the state’s ability to fund critical infrastructure and social services, thereby exacerbating the suffering of the citizens of Rivers State and imperiling their welfare.

Among the multitude of allegations levied against Mr. Wike, the most heinous and egregious is the forceful expropriation of private property, a transgression that has left a trail of disillusionment and suffering in its wake. According to a report, the women of the Oginigba community in Rivers State, driven by desperation and a sense of injustice, staged a protest against the brazen seizure of their ancestral land, perpetrated by Mr. Wike through the instrumentality of the state government machinery. This egregious act, if proven, constitutes a flagrant violation of the rights of these women, a gross abuse of power, and a stark testament to Wike’s disdain for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of citizens. The forced takeover of private land, a blatant manifestation of Wike’s authoritarian proclivities, has left an indelible stain on his legacy, and its repercussions continue to reverberate, causing untold suffering and hardship for the affected individuals.

The evidence of Wike’s plundering of Rivers State’s wealth is manifest in his extensive portfolio of properties, including the Hypercity building in Ikoku, a multifaceted complex on Rumuomasi by old Aba road, which serves as a hub for esteemed brands like SHOPRITE, Cinema film House, Electronica, and others, as well as the Signature hotel in G.R.A, a former residence on William Jumbo street in Old GRA, Trans Amadi by BEWAC, AFP Plaza by Stadium, site for hospital by stadium road, and his current residence by Ada George. All these assets in Port Harcourt alone.

These few properties in Port Harcourt, traceable to Mr. Wike, are merely the tip of the iceberg. It is mind-boggling to contemplate the numerous properties scattered across various cities in Rivers State, not to mention the staggering hundreds of properties spread across different states in Nigeria, all allegedly linked to Mr. Wike’s name. The putrid stench of corruption wafting from his property acquisitions and takeovers demands a thorough investigation by the EFCC. Meanwhile, the people of Rivers State were languishing in excruciating poverty, while Wike was shamelessly amassing a vast empire of properties through illicit means, all at the expense of the state’s financial well-being.

In light of these grave allegations, it is absolutely essential that Governor Fubara takes swift and decisive action to investigate Mr. Wike’s tenure, ensuring a thorough and transparent probe that uncovers the truth behind the myriad accusations. The citizens of Rivers State have a rightful expectation to be informed about the veracity of these allegations, and to witness the delivery of justice and the recovery of misappropriated public resources, should these allegations be substantiated.

The consequences of Wike’s alleged malfeasance are nothing short of catastrophic, leaving the state mired in debt and stifling its development. The egregious inflation of contracts has resulted in a egregious depletion of the state’s resources, while the forceful takeover of private property has wreaked havoc on countless lives and livelihoods. Therefore, Governor Fubara must demonstrate unwavering resolve in reversing this damage, ensuring that those responsible are held accountable and brought to book, thereby restoring the trust and confidence of the citizens in the government.

Governor Fubara has a unique and auspicious opportunity to tangibly demonstrate his unwavering commitment to the principles of accountability, good governance, and the rule of law. By initiating a comprehensive and exhaustive investigation, he can ensure that Mr. Wike is held accountable for his alleged actions, thereby sending a powerful message that no individual is above the law. This probe, if conducted in a fair, transparent, and unbiased manner, will not only restore public trust and confidence in the government but also serve as a testament to Governor Fubara’s dedication to upholding the highest standards of governance. Furthermore, the investigation provides a chance to recover misappropriated funds and assets, which can then be reinvested in the development and progress of Rivers State.

However, it is crucial that this probe adheres to the highest standards of fairness, transparency, and due process, avoiding any semblance of a witch-hunt or political vendetta. Instead, it must be guided by an unwavering commitment to truth, justice, and the rule of law, thereby ensuring its credibility, legitimacy, and ultimate success.

The investigation into Wike’s alleged malfeasance is egregiously belated, and Governor Fubara’s prompt intervention is imperative to rectify this egregious oversight. The necessity for a thorough probe cannot be overstated, as it is indispensable for uncovering the truth, holding accountable those who have perpetrated wrongdoing, and restoring the public’s faith in the government. The people of Rivers State deserve a leadership that is transparent, accountable, and prioritizes their well-being and the development of the state, and Governor Fubara must demonstrate his commitment to these principles by initiating a comprehensive investigation into Wike’s tenure.

The gravity of the allegations against the former governor necessitates swift action, and the people of Rivers State demand nothing less than a thorough and transparent investigation that culminates in justice being served. By fulfilling this duty, Governor Fubara will not only be upholding the sacrosanct principle of accountability but also restoring the people’s trust in the government, thereby paving the way for a brighter future for Rivers State.

It is solely through the conduit of a meticulous and uncompromising investigation that the truth can be unearthed, justice can be administered, and the trajectory towards a future marked by prosperity and equity for the people of Rivers State can be firmly established. This imperative underscores the urgent need for a thorough probe into Mr. Wike’s tenure, rendering the present moment the most opportune and propitious time to initiate such an inquiry, thereby ensuring that the quest for accountability, truth, and justice is not perpetually relegated to the realm of the forgotten, but rather assumes its rightful position at the forefront of the state’s agenda.

Peter writing from Ikwere, Port Harcourt.

Politics

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

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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.

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

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*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.”

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

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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

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