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OPINION

Uduaghan: 64 garlands for an indefatigable achiever

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By Julius Akpovire-Enyeh

 

When great men celebrate, even the stars bow in solemn hallow. As the immediate past governor of Delta State and the All Progressives Congress candidate for Delta South Senatorial District, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan celebrates his 64th birthday today (October 22, 2018), the periscope is focused on a man who has given his all to create peace, tranquility and progress for his people and the Niger-Delta region as a whole.

Gradually, the former governor is stepping into the septuagenarian club, healthy, hearty, resolute and focused. As he ages, it is never a dull moment for a man who has spent the greater part of his life to render selfless service to humanity.

Describing Uduaghan as a child of circumstances with a great destiny is like stating the obvious. It is often said that some were born great, while others attained or achieved greatness. For Uduaghan, it is a combination of being born great and working hard to attain greatness.

At 64, Dr. Uduaghan has packed in that relatively old age, a record of achievements that is the envy of his peers. Born on October 22, 1954 in Abigborodo – Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, his parents Chief Edmund D. Uduaghan and Mrs. Cecilia Uduaghan, may not have imagined the great heights their then little child was destined for. But as the legendary Professor Chinua Achebe would say, a chick that will grow to be a cock is known the day it was hatched.

That wise saying became manifest in the boy, Emmanuel, when he enrolled in Baptist Primary School, Mosogar in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, between the years 1961 and 1966 marking the commencement of his intellectual quest that saw him pass through the famous Federal Government College, Warri, between 1968 and 1974 and the prestigious University of Benin (UNIBEN) where he studied medicine and graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) degree and a Diploma in Anesthesia.

Uduaghan began work in 1983 at the Delta Steel Company, as a medical officer. From 1989 to 1994, he worked in a number of hospitals including Westend Hospital, Warri; Benoni Hospitals, Benin City and Shell Hospital, Ogunu, where he was a Consultant Anaesthesiologist. In 1994 he set up a private medical practice. He has held positions in the Nigerian Medical Association in Warri, Bendel State and Delta State. He was also active in the Junior Chamber International (Jaycees) leadership development organization. A founding member and Chairman of the All Nigeria Congress Association for the Warri South Local Government Area in Delta State, a founder and executive member of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM), and a foundation member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A former Commissioner for Health, a former Secretary to the Delta State government and a two-term governor of the ‘Big heart state’. For those familiar with activities in Delta State, you will agree with me that one thing that is synonymous with the name, Uduaghan is development. As commissioner for health, Dr. Uduaghan improved the pay of medical staff and upgraded infrastructure.

For eight years that he was at the helm of affairs of Delta State, the state experienced massive development in all the sectors. His achievements are endless. He succeeded in turning the fortunes of the state around with the available resources. Dr. Uduaghan’s developmental strides speak volumes. Most of his legacies are still being enjoyed in the state presently.

Uduaghan distinguished himself in all the sectors he served. He is arguably one of the most successful politicians the Niger Delta have produced in recent times. His influence and popularity were not earned through a walk in the park, rather by the dint of his determination to make his people happy. His story is a very loaded one, his development efforts also extended to the Niger Delta region even though he was the governor of a state. He was deeply involved in negotiations with Niger Delta agitators and militants alike which let to peace in the region. Of course, where there is peace, there is development.

If one counts every infrastructure dotted all over the state, a greater percentage of them would definitely bear his finger of approval.

Even his ardent critics concede to him that his sojourn in office garnered stellar propensities that have till date remained a yardstick for measuring performance in that resource – rich state.

Uduaghan, a man of peace and a man of the people is married to another achiever and distinguished professional, Her Excellency, Mrs. Roli Uduaghan. Their marriage is blessed with two children.

As this enigma celebrates his birthday today, I join other teeming Deltans and Nigerians to wish him a happy birthday and pray that God grant him more strength to carry on’. Amen.

Happy birthday sir!

 

*Julius Akpovire-Enyeh is a Delta born journalist.

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OPINION

Why Buhari must not sign the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018, By George Obi

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It is a sad irony that the legislature, perhaps the most critical institution of democracy, will initiate laws that majority of the people they represent would consider as capable of putting them in a situation where they may be unable to exercise their franchise to vote and elect leaders of their choice in 2019.

This is the scenario that now stairs all in the face in view of the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 passed by the National Assembly and now awaiting the final assent of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But there was a widely anticipated turn of event that may yet save the situation if all go well. Last Monday, three political parties approached the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking an order of the court to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from assenting to the Bill. The parties are: Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, (APDA), Allied Peoples Movement, (APM) and Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy, (MRDD).

They are seeking a declaration of the court that assenting the bill would truncate the 2019 general election. Their Counsel, Dapo Otitoju, told reporters that they had two questions for the court to determine.

“Whether the president can proceed to assent the Electoral Act amendment bill 2018, forwarded to him by the National Assembly to be used to conduct the 2019 general election when there is no adequate time for the manifestion of the proposed act. And

“Whether assenting to the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018, now will not truncate the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) from ensuring proper conduct of the 2019 general election.”

These are no doubt valid questions that all concerned Nigerians, and members of the international community must ask. It is a shame that our legislators do not appear to put their country first in their deliberations, otherwise commonsense would have dictated otherwise. Legislators, especially their leadership, are fond of initiating laws that cater to their interests and not the interest of the country.

A national daily recently reported in its front-page lead story that the NASS is currently working on bills that would lead to the establishment of at least 12 new tertiary educational institutions in the country, so soon after 11 new federal universities were established.

Yet, NASS has not initiated any bill that would make our tertiary education more qualitative and prevent lecturers from going on strike.

The most contentious new amendment to our electoral laws which NASS wants to foist on the 2019 is the insistence on electronic voting and transmission of results for the next general election that is scheduled to happen in February 2019. As desirable as this provision in the amendment is, the timing is unsuitable and portends grave danger to the 2019 election if signed into law.

The bill provides for electronic transmission of results from polling unit to collation centres. In a country where illiteracy level if said to be over 60 percent of the population, how do you properly educate the electorate so that they are not dis-enfranchised in the election that is just two months away?

How can an electorate to savvy in ICT assimilate the act of electoral voting and transmission in less than two months to the general elections? Is this not a recipe for confusion? A proper voters education and demonstration of electronic voting system is required to be done in all 36 states of the federation, the FCT and the 774 local government areas before such a bill can be introduced to the electoral process This is a strong reason why the President must withhold assent until after the 2019 election.

What is a major source of concern also is the absence of clarity in the Bill as to the commencement period of its application and operation. The sensitivity of the Bill is such that it cannot accommodate any ambiguity in view of its capacity to generate chaos at a time when elections are already at hand and the process for its conduct almost completed.

The INEC, political parties and other stakeholders in the electoral process have been working with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended. The existing act had been used by political parties to conduct primaries into political elective offices for 2019. Amending the act that had been used for primary elections in preparation for the 2019 general elections would engender confusion in the electoral process. Assenting the Bill at this time may effectively truncate the electoral process which has already began.

I am not sure those who are challenging the Bill in court are against its provisions. I think they are only concerned that assenting the Bill two months to election would disrupt the electoral process and reduce the credibility of the February elections. Why can we not wait until after the next election to sign the Bill into law? Or are some people planning to use the anticipated confusion to manipulate the election?

It is also necessary to factor in and be mindful of the African Union Protocol which strongly disapproves any amendment or introduction of new electoral laws three months to the election, as in this case. Nigeria as a key international player must be seen to have respect for international protocols and convention. We cannot be seen to be operating in breach of international protocols and convention as a nation.

Events since the Nass first passed the Bill to the presidency showed it was a hurriedly packaged law with a pre-determined objective. The Bill was returned for correction twice, and the law makers never faulted the grounds for rejection. It was an admission of it tardiness and a lack of deep, patriotic thoughtfulness that went into it package.

President Buhari had again refused to assent the Bill immediately and the NASS are threatening to veto it. A senator even tweeted asking Buhari to ignore “Cardreaderphobics” and sign the Bill-a term he used to describe those asking that electronic voting be deferred. It’s an indication of how self-consumed our lawmakers have become that one of them could suggest to the President to ignore patriotic Nigerians asking that the electorate not be dis-enfranchised.

But no one should be surprised that the leadership of NASS is behind the push for the signing of the Bill. Both Bukola Saraki, President of the senate, and Yakubu Dogara, Speaker are now members of the opposition PDP following their recent defection from the ruling APC. Saraki is also the Director of Campaign of the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar. Anyone familiar with politics in Nigeria know that the Bill has been factored into the plan of the opposition party.

They certainly have their reasons for pushing for it. But if their reason is not to cause confusion and benefit from it, then its hard to see any other reason. Only two weeks ago, Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the PDP, at an event where Saraki, Atiku and others were present, called for the sack of INEC Chairman, Mahmud Yakubu and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris two months to the next general election!

Obi wrote from Abuja

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OPINION

Between natural justice and the purchase of Justice through the back door: Is Senator Attai Aidoko a deviant alongside his gullible gollowers?

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By Ojoachele Akor Felix8

Natural justice is akin to social justice and equality of all as opposed to purchase of justice through the back door on the altar of falsehood and, marooned justice for sale that is inimical to law and orderliness of any society. It breeds potential and avoidable deviants situation such as ours today. Aidoko is as deviant as his followers on every page if we are to google their respective absurdities

Gullibility is a precursor of self imposed predicament that is laden with the endangerment of after thoughts.
It’s very important we marry this abnormal behavioral and psychological improprieties to explain the present situation in Kogi East today.

Law came as a result of
poor control of societal ills which was against the existential cooperation,a threat to communal living.It is therefore focused on fostering social reengineering and social justice hence the increase in social engagement and cooperation in our today’s world.

Albeit, the prospect of law and order today is negligible considering the commercialisation of justice in some of the hallow temple of justice globally.
The highest bidder today carries the day as ordinary people are now stranded on the altar of illegality arising from amoral blanket of injustice and several black market and kangaroo judgements.

It’s for this reason that
all the sit down look senators e.g Kogi East senator Attai Aidoko,would boast of winning an elections through illegal sharing of money for suspected gullible folks to vote for him in the forthcoming Senatorial elections especially,party leaders in Kogi East.

Who’s deceiving who?How can a man participate in an elections without undergoing through the due process of primary elections?

In the case of Aidoko,there was no primary elections and for him to have colluded with Inec officials to impose himself on the people of Kogi East actually give credence to the cash and carry electoral process cum the PDP political braggadocio,rascality and unpopular show of arrogance.It is the height of gross irresponsibility and insensitivity to the sensibility of our people.

Deceiving people around just to return to the red chamber?

How could some of this party leaders so reduced themselves so much so that an Aidoko, would tell them that he couldn’t get them some packages because of security related issues and that they should keep waiting for such till God knows when?When will security issues be settled in the country?
He is donating 2 bags of maize to each ward in Ibaji? You and your supporters are joker’s and shameless political jobbers!

We also have some scary
reports from Ibaji, Olamaboro,Ankpa Omala and Dekina on some of this futile attempt but, truth will prevail over falsehood.
You collected money as individual to sell us all to a blind legislator for money?
Are we also blind like him?You can enjoy your money but have no power to exchange our Senatorial seat in this regard.

For taking money from Aidoko,you are also one of those destroying our land and posterity will judge you all.
The stage is set and we want to see what you will present to our people as campaign appeal/ agenda!

We are watching.
The law will soon catch up with some of these shameless old politicians who are only concerned about their pockets and not the interest of our land and her people.

Our schools are bad and they are not asking Aidoko?
Our roads are terrible and nobody is asking?
No hospital?
Total collapse of infrastructural facilities and amenities even where they are available the story is not different!

Your people are living in darkness and you are happy taking car from Aidoko?
Which road are you going to ply/ride on?
For those in Ibaji local government areas I weep for you!

Some of these leaders have nothing to show,no scorecard and today they want us to believe them?
You are a disgrace to humanity!
Your parents have no clothes to wear and you are busy creating scene outside that you are a big man?
You are obiolo politician whose life span will soon expire!
Ibete redefined in ignorance!

Money was,is and will be while we are here and after our departure from here.
Live a legacy of a good leader.Good name is better than riches whose foundation is questionable!

Aidoko chene inacha Igala!
Uwe onugo gbaigedee otudu ikpani?
Ribeida!!!!!!

 

Ojoachele Akor Felix, writes from Lagos.

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OPINION

House indictment of NEMA, VP: Why politics is involved, By Amarachi Iwuala

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An emergency is any unplanned event that can cause deaths or significant injuries to the public such as Floods, earthquakes, civil disturbances, terrorism, war and so on. In view of the frequency of these events in our planet and the widespread nature of their effect, emergency management has developed into a professional discipline. People who work in the emergency agencies of developed countries, from bottom up, are seasoned professionals who knows and appreciate the demand of disaster management.
Reading through the House of Representatives Committee’s report on the investigation of NEMA, I was left to wonder whether the legislators are Nigerians or aliens and whether they truly believe in the indictments they so generously handed out to the NEMA Director General, Mustapha Maihaja and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
First let us examine the terms of reference of the committee and the findings and weigh them against the evidence and principles of disaster management.  The committee said it had the following issues to probe:
(i) The release of N5,865,671,389.26 and N3,153,000,000.00 as emergency intervention of Food Security to support the population affected by insurgency in the North-East in June 2017 and other releases for the North-East intervention;
(ii) The 6,779 metric tons of rice donated by Chinese government to the internally displaced persons in the North-East;
(iii) Payment of about N800 Million Demurrage on the donated Rice by the Chinese government;
(iiii) Over 10 Billion Naira being statutory 20% Ecological Funds released between January 2017 to February 2018 to NEMA;
(v) The Federal Government of Nigeria Flood Intervention in the sum of N1,600,000,000.00 to 16 States in July 2017; and
(vi) The over N1.6 Billion released to NEMA for Evacuation of Nigerians stranded in Libya in 2017.
The committee gave its findings on each one of these but the one that has been hyped more is the alleged refusal of NEMA to distribute the 6,779 metric tons of rice donated by the Chinese Government, and the issue of payment of N800 million demurrage, which the members said was unnecessary if the rice had been cleared as and when due. The committee found:
– That more than one year after the goods were donated, there is no evidence that the 6 States of the North East, who are the beneficiaries have received the items.
– The Federal Government paid about N800 Million as demurrage to APM terminal and Maersk Line for the consignment due to delay arising from inability and negligence on part of NEMA, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Budget and National Planning to secure the items as at when due.
I’m aware that NEMA has debunked the allegation that it did not distribute the rice to the affected states. But let us for the sake of argument accept that NEMA had not distributed the rice as at the time the committee was doing its investigations, does it then mean that the rice had been sold by NEMA, or that it never meant to distribute them? The committee itself did not say NEMA or any other government agency had sold the rice. It only said it saw no evidence from all the invoices presented to it, because I presume, none of the invoices indicated Chinese rice!
Now it’s important to know that there are four stages in emergency management-mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Any emergency agency has to be painstaking at each of the four stages to achieve success. The committee did not tell us in its report at what stage the rice was delivered at the Nigeria port. But let us again assume that since it was just a gift to Nigeria, it was delivered not as an immediate response to a disaster. This assumption is reasonable since the rice was meant for states ravaged by insurgency.
That could mean that distributing the rice to the states mentioned was not such an emergency that required the consignment to be swiftly cleared and distributed to save lives. This could be the case if you consider the fact that there were others who made generous donations of rice and other foodstuffs to those states including our own Aliko Dangote.
So, the issue is not that NEMA allowed citizens to die by failing to supply them necessary foodstuffs. The quarrel of the committee is that the rice shipped from China was not distributed to those they were meant for. Again, on this score one can say that efficient disaster management is a planned series of activities, not some adhoc crisis management as the committee will have us believe. If NEMA already had an appropriate response of its own in place before the China rice was delivered, it makes sense that it doesn’t have to immediately distribute them. If NEMA is a serious agency, one expects it to have its own response plan in place and not wait for donors, except where there are no other alternatives.
The committee did not claim that the refusal to distribute the Chinese led to deaths or serious issues of starvation in the affected states, thus confirming NEMA’s claim that it did indeed distribute rice to those states. Moreover, since it was not an emergency, there was nothing wrong in NEMA keeping the Chinese rice in a wherehouse while planning for further deliveries.
While the alleged payment of N800million demurrage was regrettable, the House committee should not have made it look as if NEMA delayed clearing of the rice so it could pay demurrage. Not only does it not make sense, but it shows a deliberate refusal of the legislators to acknowledge issues with our Ports’ administration. Moreover, as the committee also acknowledged in its report, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Nigeria and the Chinese shows that the clearing of the rice was supposed to be a multi-agency task and not that of NEMA alone. Yet the committee recommended the sack of NEMA DG because of this? And why has the Speaker of the House of Reps Yakubu Dogara picked on NEMA alone with such venom? So much was Dogara in a hurry to indict the DG that his media aide issued a press statement about the discovery of the Chinese rice in NEMA wherehouse, accompanying it with photographs. Shortly after, his media aide issued another statement alleging that NEMA was moving the rice from its wherehouse to an undisclosed location. In the three years he has been speaker, this is the first time Dogara has shown strong interest in any House report. Does it have anything to do with 2019?
The briskness and alacrity with which some PDP stalwarts, including its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar have lashed on to the so-called indictment gave it away as a game plan focused on 2019. In a statement released by his campaign organization, Atiku sought to parry allegations that he attempted to smuggle campaign cash into the country by alleging that it was a ploy by the APC “to distract attention from the recent indictment of Vice-President Osinbajo by the House of Representatives for grand corruption…,” referring of course to the committee report.
Disaster management is not a tea party as any serious legislator would know. In a country as big as Nigeria the challenges are even more. That is why NEMA recently declared a resolve to engage state governments through intensive advocacy and sensitization on the need for states to key into disaster risk management as a multi-stakeholder activity. Instead of calling for anybody’s sack for some expected laxity in government, the lawmakers should have thought of enactments that could improve disaster management in the country.
Ms. Iwuala contributed this piece from Owerri
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