Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan; Enough Of These Your Madness

By Fejiro Oliver

Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we are tired of hearing promises that we know they will never keep. Ray Davies

If Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State is attributing the peace he has been enjoying in the media to his criminal cronies in the Delta State

Nigerian Union of Journalists, led by once noble but now corrupt Norbert Chiazor, then the governor must be living in a fool’s paradise. That he has not been lambasted in the media is not the handwork of the intelligence of the Commissioner for Health, Chike Ogeah, but it’s because those in the mainstream media have decided to let him be and not give the impression that Delta State is a corrupt state, after all Governor Ibori had done. His good public rating is not the work of the PR journalists in the Nigerian newspapers, but deliberate silence. That premium times, Elombah.com and others have not beamed their searchlight on him does not mean his corrupt records are not available to them.

Just when I was about reading mails from my sources, rushes of mails came into my phone all having the same purpose; appeals that Uduaghan has set Kokori on fire, as he has deployed soldiers to the town because of Kelvin, the most wanted kingpin in the Niger Delta, who gave the Federal Government a 60 days ultimatum. Most of the mails accused me of playing the fiddle while Rome burns, reporting and writing on national issues and other states, while my own state rots away with an irresponsible government that don’t care.

Kelvin is a creature of the society, not Kokori and while I do not make a case for him; whether he’s an activist as he claim or an armed robber as the government claim, the undeniable truth is that the society gets what they deserves and if Kelvin is a product of the Delta State government, Uduaghan should accept the blame. I find it laughable that Uduaghan will castigate the mothers who came out to dance for Kelvin, when he made his historic appearance and declaration, stating that he is disappointed that they are celebrating an armed robber instead of celebrating their children graduating from the universities.

This governor Uduaghan is unarguably the worst performing governor in the South South, and yet he could send troops to Kokori to harass innocent fathers, while they arrest husbands and stop the poor women from going to farms. What manner of governance is it? He said he has not declared a curfew, yet he ordered sit at home from a particular time. Can someone tell Uduaghan that Kokori is not a war zone? At the risk of sounding ‘tribalistic’, I ask this woeful performing governor how many troop of soldiers did he send to Koko, his local government in June this year when a serious crisis broke out, with houses destroyed and people killed? Absolutely none, and yet that was a war zone. Kelvin has been captured, not even in Kokori but in Port Harcourt, thus Uduaghan should stop this barbaric and uncivilized military invasion of Kokori, release all innocent arrested men and women and appeal to them.

There is no worse armed robber than Uduaghan in present day, Delta State. Here is a man who has turned the entire pen he touches in government house to defrauding the state. This is a governor who approved a whooping 1.2 billion Naira to the Delta State House of Assembly for a jamboree legislative training in California and yet could lampoon the Kokori women for dancing for their son Kelvin. Who wouldn’t dance when they see a liberator, which Kelvin represents to them?

Is it not this Uduaghan who budgeted a whooping sum of N14 billion for streetlights in Delta State, with the contract for the diesel to his wife at the sum of N200 million monthly? The budget of government house in Delta State is more than that of four ministries and yet this governor wants us to believe that he is clean.

The Daughter, Orode Okpu-Uduaghan wedding in 2011 was sponsored by the state government and authoritative sources in government told me that many of the political figures fell over themselves to give gifts of cars to the daughter all in the bid to get contract from the state governor. Today, Orode who grew up in Sido Street, Warri now has a multi million Naira mansion in Victoria Garden City, courtesy of her father who gave contract to her friend handling the Oleri Industrial Park. I truly do not know the basis for future awards nominating Orode for activism award. What activism and in which state? Has she played more activist role that Chinedu Ekeke or Japheth Omojuwa. It is time we begin to ask the source of wealth on people whom awards are conferred on. It’s not about owning a pink pearl foundation to treat cancer, but source of the money. That a lady who just finished barely three years ago from the University of Windsor in Canada could own such house, when people in Kokori have no suitable home of theirs calls for the stoning of the governor.

The Warri Park handled by Sarner PFM has been the conduit pipe for siphoning the state money by the governor, while no work has been carried out in the place. I challenge the governor to take real newsmen there, not reporters from the traditional Nigerian Newspapers, but from premium times, Elombah.com, paradigm shift, Sahara Reporters, Desert Herald, News Rescue, Urhobotimes and Global Concord to prove me wrong that work has begin there.

Here was a man who drove a rickety car, as a doctor coming to see his wife in Sido, back in those days, and cursing corrupt leaders, now blazing the trail in the seats of world most corrupt leaders. What manner of governor do we have, that have made Delta State government a family affairs. His wife’s brother, Amaju Pinnick, who is the Delta State football association chairman I’m reliably informed embezzled N6 billion meant for the renovation of the Warri Township Stadium during the last U-17 tournament, while his cousin supplies all the cars to government house.

Why is Delta cursed with political thieves as governors when her neighbors are governing well? Since the advent of this administration, Uduaghan has not done anything tangible that has equaled one month federal allocation. All the infrastructures in Delta are works of former governor James Ibori; what then has he be using the resources for.

This is one governor who has packed corrupt persons as his commissioners, with the exception of the transport commissioner, Ben Igbakpa, who has turned the transport sector around. The commissioner of Environments, Frank Omare is noted for his failed delivery services; a man who has gotten over N160 million, but the environment in Delta State is as dirty as ever, with most canals still blocked. Here is a man who used the media in the state to showcase works he never did and abandoned them.

What manner of governor will approve N330 million for Journalists in the states to undergo training in Reuters, if not to gag the mouth of the press? To even tag it ‘investigative journalism’ is an insult to Deltans as a whole. What manner of investigative journalism has the NUJ corrupt Chairman, Chiazor, who works with the state owned Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) Warri, carried out in his entire life? Why should a governor sponsor private media ‘journalists’ on such venture from our collective coffers, when it will cost less than a N100 million to bring any Reuters resource persons to come and train them here in Nigeria.

This fraud by the NUJ in the state in collaboration with the governor deserves to get the State NUJ council chairman impeached and Uduaghan jailed. With N330 million, the two state broadcast houses can be made to broadcast wider and the state newspaper, the pointer made better than it is; yet only few bands of criminals who are PR writers, masquerading as journalists lavish the common wealth.

The IPP project for which over N16 billion has been spent is still on the drawing paper, as the Delta State house of Assembly speaker, Victor Ochei, whom the contract was awarded to has diverted the funds into his personal pocket, in connivance with the looting governor of Delta State, while the project site in Oghara is overgrown with weeds. This is not just right and though it’s already late in his tenure, he can still stop this madness of looting and stealing the treasury blind.

That Kelvin was caught because he gave an ultimatum shows how weak the security system in the state is. A state where kidnappers reign as lords and armed robbers have field days is enough challenge to Uduaghan, not suffering innocent citizens whose sons took to the streets and guns, in protection of their oil. How many of the Kokori citizens have the kind of wealth that Uduaghan kinsman, Ayiri Emami possess, even though they have more oil than Koko?

Governor Uduaghan should task himself to mending his ways and doing all his best to make life better for the average Deltans, avoid the selling of civil service forms for job, and create meaningful jobs for the people, not the micro scheme that will not stand the test of time. Whatever reason he has for milking Delta State coffers of her billions is not just right, and while he may get away with it in two years time, he should remember that Ibori had more guts and political clout than he thinks he has. A mere whistle from the next governor will see me personally snapping him picture in jail and posting the picture for the world to see. Such poetic elegy on him will be an award winner any day. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, we are with the pen and the ink is past the middle in this poetic elegy; and this we say, spare your children the agony that they had a father who was an ex convict. His time for repentance starts now.

These little things matter…

Fejiro Oliver, a Journalist can be reached on secretsreporters@gmail.com and +2348026797588 (sms only please). Engage him on twitter @fejirooliver86 and Facebook; fejirooliver86. Like our Facebook page- secretsreporters

Anti-terrorism law among targets of Addis Ababa protest

Reporters Without Borders

A major street protest took place in Addis Ababa on 29 September in response to a call from Unity for Democracy and Justice, an opposition political party headed by the previous president, Dr. Negasso Gidada.

The demonstrators protested against the arbitrary detention of journalists, human rights activists and dissidents, which is made possible by the 2009 anti-terrorist law.

Independent estimates put the number of demonstrators at between 12,000 and 15,000 while government sources said they were a few hundred.

The urgent need to amend this repressive law was of one of the recommendations that Reporters Without Borders included in its submission on Ethiopia to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 19th Universal Periodic Review session to be held between April and May next year.

“The anti-terrorism law is one of the most serious obstacles to the promotion and protection of freedom of information in Ethiopia,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Ever since its adoption, the government has used it as a legal tool to clamp down on dissidents and create a cloud of fear that limits the ambition and activity of the media.

“Without taking any position on the politics of the demonstrators, we urge the government to respond to the widespread demand by concerned citizens and activists for immediate and participatory reform of the anti-terrorism law. We also call on the government to respect the freedom of expression of all news and information providers, regardless of their political views.”

According to the organizers, the demonstration’s aim was not only to condemn the law but also to demand the release of opposition members and journalists who have been jailed under it. They include activist Eskinder Nega, detained since 15 September 2011 for alleged “links with terrorist organizations and conspiracy to harm national security”.

Journalists Reyot Alemu, winner of the 2013 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano press freedom prize, and Woubeshet Taye, the deputy editor of the Amharic-language weekly Awramba Times, have been detained under this law since June 2011.

Reyot Alemu has been reportedly subjected to mistreatment including solitary confinement, minimal access to medical care and restricted visits from family and friends. They are serving jail terms of five and 14 years respectively, on charges of “conspiring with a terrorist organization and taking part in planning terror attacks”.

Two Swedish journalists working for the Kontinent news agency, reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson, were arrested on 1 July 2011 after illegally entering Ethiopia’s southeastern Ogaden region from Somalia with members of the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) with the aim of investigating human rights violations in the region. Sentenced to 11 years in prison on a charge of “terrorist activities”, they were released after 450 days in detention thanks to pressure from the international community.

In an interview for Reporters Without Borders, Schibbye said: “The mere fact that these protests are taking place is a positive sign in Ethiopia. This shows the growing implication of the youth, namely through social networks, and their refusal to live in a society where journalists and dissidents can be jailed arbitrarily.”

Ethiopia is ranked 137th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

Nigerian varsities fail to make world best 400

Chief Olu Falae

A former Secretary to the Federal Government, Chief Olu Falae, has said he lost a political successor in his son, Deji, who died in the ill-fated Associated Airline on Thursday.

Deji, who was the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Ondo State, led the state government’s delegation to accompany the corpse of  former Ondo State governor, Chief Olusegun Agagu from Lagos to Akure, for the a state burial.

Falae, who was still grieving over the loss, told the visiting Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, that he had reached the peak of his political sojourn.

“I was looking forward to seeing Deji take over from me, because I have reached the peak of my being in politics. I will miss him so much,” he said.

He, however, noted that he would submit to God since he could not question God over the death of his son.

Tambuwal had visited the home of the chieftain to commiserate with him and his family over the Thursday plane crash.

Tambuwal said Deji was his friend and had sent useful text messages to him on how to move the country forward, four days before the unfortunate incident.

He prayed that God would grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

Some traditional rulers in Ondo State also paid a condolence visit to the politician in his Akure home in respect of the sad incident.

Falae, while receiving them, said his son had earned his place in the present Government of Ondo State.

According to him, in spite of his political stature, he never influenced Deji’s appointment as a commissioner.

He noted that his son had been a friend of Governor Mimiko and his appointment had nothing to do with his person.

The traditional rulers, led by Olukare of Ikare-Akoko, Obama Akadari Momoh, encouraged Falae to have faith in God.

Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, told our correspondent that the late commissioner had to go to Lagos follow the corpse down to Akure following the request by Agagu’s family that a senior member of the state government should accompany the corpse.

Meanwhile, SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Segun Mimiko, officially broke the news of Deji’s death to his father on Thursday.

Mimiko, who broke down in tears upon entering Falae’s house, was consoled by sympathisers.

Until his untimely death, Deji was the  Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Mimiko’s cabinet.

Nigeria: Nobody can stop Jonathan – Gov Orji

By KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Abuja

Umuahia, Abia State capital, last week, played host to the 9th biennial conference of the Nigerian Army Finance Corps. The conference presented Sunday Vanguard an opportunity to rub minds with Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji on the crisis rocking his party, the PDP, the challenge posed by kidnapping to security in his state, among other issues. He was blunt on President Goodluck Jonathan controversial bid to run for second term in 2015.

You are known to be a strong supporter of your party. What is happening in the PDP?  And how do you think the crisis in the party at the national level can be resolved?

There is no state in Nigeria right now that is more PDP than Abia State. In the House of Assembly, we have 24 members, and all of them are PDP members. In the Senate, our three senators are PDP members. In the Federal House of Representatives, we have eight representatives, all of them are PDP members. Mr. Governor is PDP. So, which state is more PDP than Abia? And there is nothing like old PDP and new PDP, we have one PDP, PDP has come to stay in Abia. We must make sure we remain one family.

What do you think is responsible for the crisis in the PDP?

PDP is made up of human beings with different ideas. So, we have to accommodate each other. The party is the only true Nigerian or national party. That is why everybody wants to belong to it. It has the capacity to take in everybody and this we shall do after resolving the current family issues confronting us. This is not the first time. And we have always overcome and emerged stronger. Because of the size, vibrancy, ability to deliver and successes, the party is seen as a goldmine and everybody wants to belong which is okay. The umbrella will eventually cover everybody.

*Gov Theodore Orji

*Gov Theodore Orji

On the contentious issue of presidency in 2015, what is your take? Should the President go for second term?

Is he not entitled to second term? Going by our  Constitution, he has only done one term. I (Governor Theodore Orji) am not hiding my own. I am supporting him and I will continue supporting him. He has the right to go for second term and he must go for it.

After your tenure as governor, what is next? Some people say you might head to the Senate in 2015 as governors ending their second term oftentimes do.

I have a lot that I want to achieve in the remaining two years. I am building a befitting Secretariat for the state; Governor’s Lodge and an International Conference Centre.

WHAT motivated you to host the Army Finance Corps to biennial conference considering the former state of insecurity in Abia occasioned by kidnapping and robbery?

We are in a better position now security wise. It was hell in this part of the country. Kidnapping was rampant, people were afraid for their lives, properties were not safe. We were able to resolve the challenge. People are back to their businesses, we are doing our projects, we are progressing and the state is moving economically. That is why I am happy that the army chose Abia to host the conference because they know how the state was before.

So, what they have come here to do is to celebrate with us the victory that we achieved in fighting armed robbery because if the place isn’t safe, they will not come. So, their coming is a testimony that Abia is safe and that any person who wants to come here to invest can relax. That Abia is free is the essence of this conference but the general statement as far as we are concerned is to tell the whole world that Abia is now one of the safest states you can think of in terms of investments and businesses.

What was the formula you adopted to make the state safe and free from kidnapping and other crimes?

People continue to ask me this question but you know security issues are not issues you discuss on radio or television because, if I bare my secret, these hooligans will know because most of them are literate and intelligent. You bare your secret, they use it against you and come back. If people come to consult me, I will tell them, but first, you have to be determined to fight crime. Second, you have to bring out all the resources because fighting crime is capital intensive.

What was the role of Operation Jubilee in achieving this and the synergy with the people?

Of-course, if we didn’t synergize, we couldn’t have achieved anything. Operation Jubilee came and it was very successful. It was successful because the state government cooperated with the security agencies. Don’t forget the security agents are human-beings, the police, and the soldiers are human-beings and they need logistic support.

They need equipment and we can’t leave it to the federal government alone because this is what concerns both the federal and the states but, primarily, the state is our responsibility. So what we did was to partner with the military. Do you know how many vehicles we have given to the military since they came here? So many, because they have to move into the hinterland and fish out these people. If incentive is not there, they will not be bold to confront the criminals. You can’t send a soldier to fight a kidnapper when he has nothing to fight the kidnapper with. So you have to arm him.

How do you sustain the tempo?

Of-course we are doing that. The same magic that we used is what we are using to sustain it because if you don’t sustain it, the criminals will regroup and come back and you go back to square one. So, we are sustaining it. We are also using traditional rulers, churches and town unions to tell the people about the evil of kidnapping because those who are doing it are our boys who are here.

They did not come from outside; they know the terrain here or they are encouraged to do it by people who are here. So, if by advocacy we can change the mindset of these boys, they will not be involved. And then we are also doing a lot of youth empowerment programs to make sure that those who are doing something, maybe some of them have families, some of them have responsibilities and they have to cater for their responsibilities and when the legitimate need of catering for their responsibilities are not there, they go through every means of getting money and that is kidnapping, getting quick money.

What we have done within this period is marvelous. We have given employment to 4,500 youths. Even if you don’t have a job, at the end of the month, we give you that money so that you use it to cater for yourself. We have given out 234 vehicles to the youths so that they can be self- employed. Another area is farming; we have a farm where we are partnering with a foreign country.

The project gave employment to 500 people. We have other farms in the three senatorial zones. That of the South employed 200 families. Another one employed 100 and the other employed 100. Now we have another estate which was lying fallow which we now brought investors to reactivate. We partnered with them and they employed 1,000 youths.

We also have skill acquisition centres. I made it compulsory for all chairmen of local governments to build a skill acquisition centre. I gave them N60 million each to  do it. There is one also that is being done by the office of the First Lady. After six months, the trainees graduate and you give them some money to establish their businesses: Hair dressing, computer repairs, shoe making, dress making, etc.

We have seen roads, we have seen infrastructure. How did you do it especially with the allocation you are getting?

Abia is not a very rich state, so we cut our coat according to our cloth. The money is not there. If we can employ 1,500 people and we pay up to N500, 000, I will be happy. If I have the resources, I will not buy only 234 vehicles, I will buy more than that. I will buy 1,000 to 2,000 vehicles and give to people. So what we are doing is that, we have to secure our resources because security is key; then infrastructure; our roads, we have to repair them because it is only somebody who is alive that can use the roads. If you are in hospital, sick, you won’t think of all these things. So, first and foremost is to make sure that life and properties are secured. When your life is secure and you are healthy, all other things will follow, you can fend for yourself.

Via Vanguard

Nigeria: 512 escape another plane crash

Barely 36 hours after a plane crashed in Lagos, killing 13 persons, tragedy was averted, on Friday night, in Sokoto, after an aircraft with 494 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and 18 crew members on board, lost two tyres while landing.

The technical crew of Kabo Air plane saved the day as it confronted the emergency and taxied to a halt.
The flight, which originated from Kano, was said to be at the Abubakar Sadiq III International Airport, Sokoto, to pick some high profile passengers before heading to Saudi Arabia.

The incident happened just as a Benin-City bound aircraft could not land and had to return to Abuja.

The plane reportedly stayed in the air for two hours for the 30-minute Abuja-Benin flight and then returned to Abuja.

Heavy rains in Benin-City were blamed for the inability of the pilot to land the plane at the Edo State capital.

The Sokoto incident was said to have thrown the plane passengers, airport workers and security agents into panic.
One source said the tyres were hit by a sharp object on the runway as the plane touched down.

The Kabo plane was immediately ground at the airport by regulatory agencies pending investigation and determination of what caused the tyre blowout.

Meanwhile, the management of Kabo Air, yesterday, dismissed the claim that “its aircraft made an emergency landing in Kano”, adding that “what happened was that our aircraft lost its two rear tyres while landing in Sokoto”.

The Corporate Affair Manager , Kabo Air, Aminu Hamza, who described as “laughable an online report that depicts an air mishap, said: “How can an aircraft that was airborne lose its tyres?” According to him, it was a ridiculous and mischievous news peddled by unpatriotic elements to paint the aviation industry blac.

Narrating the incident, Hamza said, “About 494 passengers were on board during the incident, and it was a tripartite journey that took off from Kano en-route Sokoto to Jeddah. We are happy to announce that none of them was injured”.

The Corporate Affairs Manager disclosed that “ we have since sent a rescue aircraft from our fleet to convey the passengers to their destination, adding that “ from reports at our disposal, everything is going on as planned”.

Shedding more light on the landing mishap, the Director of Flight Operations of Kabo Air, Mr. Joseph Machimu, noted that “the aircraft just returned from maintenance in Malaysia”. According to him, the aircraft air worthiness is not in question.

Machimu explained: “We were not surprised by the noise the landing mishap generated because those who are close to the industry know clearly that tyre burst at the point of landing is a normal incident.” The Director stated that “ the pilot who was fully conscious of the mishap took full control , taxied it and parked the aircraft to pave the way for evacuation”.

Reacting to the incident, yesterday, Mr. Joe Obi, Special Adviser to the Minister of Aviation, stated that the plane only had a stop over at the airport to pick additional passengers. However, he  admitted that the aircraft landed with deflated tyres and damaged parts of the instruments landing system (ILS) at the runway.

Obi’s statement reads: “On October 4, 2013, a Boeing 747-3 aircraft with Reg 5N-JRM, operated by Kabo Airlines arrived safely with all passengers and crew on board, following a landing incident at the Sokoto airport at 2100 GMT.

” The aircraft, which departed from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, was enroute Saudi Arabia when it had a stop-over at the Sokoto airport for passenger pick-up. Preliminary reports indicate that the control tower gave the pilot clearance to land on Runway 08 but the captain opted to use Runway 26, for reasons yet to be ascertained. The 512 souls on board, made of 494 passengers and 18 crew members, landed safely. The aircraft, however, damaged some Instruments Landing System (ILS) and came to a stop with deflated tyres. The FAAN emergency response apparatus acted swiftly to secure all souls on board and the aircraft.

“The airline has since made arrangements for another aircraft to pick the passengers to complete their journey to Saudi Arabia.”

Bad weather

Meanwhile, the Abuja-Benin flight that could not land caused anxious moments.

After about 30-minutes into the flight and the plane unable to land, passengers were said to have been held in frightful suspense.

The pilot, it was learnt, explained to the passengers that he was unable to land the plane due to heavy rainfall in Benin which caused poor visibility as well as waterlogged and slippery runway.

The scenario allegedly caused uneasy calm and panic in the aircraft which hovered in the Benin airspace for about 45 minutes, as people silently and openly prayed to God and sang spiritual songs.

The fright that gripped the passengers in the plane was not helped by the fact that the newspapers most of them had were awash with reports and pictures of the plane crash involving the corpse of the late former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Agagu, the previous day.

An attempt to land the plane at nearby Esubi Airstrip, Warri proved abortive too, following which the pilot allegedly informed the passengers that he could not lose more aviation fuel trying to land the plane, and then opted to fly back to Abuja, a decision the passengers applauded.

On return, Abuja was said to have had rainstorm too but with a well-lit runway that was not waterlogged. The plane landed successfully to the relief of the passengers.

A good number of the passengers were said to have opted for a refund which the airline obliged, while others resolved to still travel with the flight rescheduled for 9: 30am yesterday.

Via Vanguard