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OPINION

Uduaghan: 64 garlands for an indefatigable achiever

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Uduaghan plans for Delta South in the senate

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

Ganduje’s Supreme Court victory and collapse of Kwankwassiyya structure, By Muhammad Garba

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It was a jubilant jiffy for millions of Kano residents on Monday morning when the news of the avowal of the election of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje by the wise Justices of the Supreme Court sieved into the ancient commercial city. Though the victory was very much expected, the treacherous flimflam launched by the opposition few days to the Supreme Court judgment almost created tautness and fright in the minds of many residents.
The news of how Kano residents broke into desolate euphoria over the affirmation of Governor Ganduje’s re-election was everywhere. People were exultant and they did not hide their ecstasy. To them, Ganduje’s victory is a victory for the people. It is a foundation for the accomplishment of the vision to make Kano a Mega City. Indeed, it is a victory for the free education of the Kano children, obliteration of poverty, youth and women empowerment, infrastructural development and human development.
Right from the first stage of the legal scrimmage at the Kano state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Halima Shamaki, ardent observers of the tribunal proceedings were already envisaging the consequence of the case even within the court premises. At the close of its sitting which lasted for 174 days, the three-member tribunal, upheld the re-election of Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, declaring that his victory in the March 23 supplementary election was lawful and valid.
Analysts and even legal practitioners who affianced in discussions over the tribunal’s translucent proceedings already knew where the plumb would swing. This explained why the verdict of tribunal did not come to most people as a surprise. In the article I wrote instantaneously after the Tribunal verdict entitled, “Kano Guber Tribunal Verdict: A Case Of No Appeal,” I had also advised the PDP and its gubernatorial candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf to accept the verdict of the Tribunal in good faith because it was crystal clear that they have no case to appeal.
In fact, before I set out for Kaduna to witness the verdict, I was fully convinced that victory would come our way, having witnessed all the tribunal proceedings in Kano as well as the persnickety manner which the chairperson of the Tribunal and her team delivered justice.
However, the PDP did not heed to my advice and rushed to the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, where the court, at its sitting on Friday, November 22, affirmed the verdict of Kano state Governorship Election Tribunal and validated the re-election of Governor Ganduje.
While reviewing the case, the Court held that the PDP and its candidate could not produce direct evidence to substantiate and prove to the tribunal that they were not defeated in the March 23 supplementary election. The Appellate Court, therefore, dismissed the 24 grounds of appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate. Expectedly, in an undivided judgment, the chairman of the Appeal Panel, Justice Tijjani Abubakar, espoused the judgment of the tribunal, averring that Governor Ganduje was validly elected.
At the conclusion of the case, I had again advised the PDP and its gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf to resist the crackpot advice of approaching the Supreme Court, knowing full well that they have no case to present.
In a unanimous judgment delivered at the court, on Monday, January 20, the seven-man panel headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, dismissed the appeal by candidate of the PDP since the facts presented did not support the appeal, which was predicated on a single ground. The judgement, which was read by Justice Nwali Ngwuta also held that the petitioner failed to substantively prove and provide evidence that there was any irregularity in the election held on March 9 and the supplementary election on March 23, 2019.
Ominously, the Supreme Court verdict confirmed the total downfall of the Kwnakwasiyya structure in Kano politics. Less than 24 hours after the judgment, we have begun to receive emissaries from staunch members of the group who have declared their intention to openly deprecate their membership and join the Next Level government. Fortunately for them, Governor Ganduje has extended a hand of fellowship to them. They are welcome because the primary aim of his administration is to ensure development in the state and unfetter the people from poverty.
This is why we should begin to commend the altruism of Governor Ganduje who has vowed to run an all-inclusive government. The leadership of our great party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) has also promised to welcome anybody who decided to join the Next Level train. There are vacancies in the train of victory and we will be willing to welcome them to join hands with Governor Ganduje to rebuild Kano and give our dear state its seemly status of a Mega-City.
The Ganduje’s administration is built on the canons of democracy and rule of law. We view the opposition as no threats. We welcome constructive criticisms of those who decided to stay on the other side, but it is apposite to note that our resolve in the Next Level government is to take Kano to greater heights.
For the good people of Kano state, they should expect nothing less than good governance built on the principles of prudent management of tax payers’ money, transparency and open door policy. We are, indeed, set to put Kano on the front pew of the most economic vibrant cities in Africa.
The next four years of this administration will surely be characterized with the execution of people-oriented projects and implementation of human development policies. With the prayers and cooperation of the people, we will not fail. The electorate will have no cause to regret giving us their mandate.
Garba is the commissioner, Information, Kano state
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OPINION

Amotekun can be threat to non yoruba? By Abba Dukawa

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami,  argued that security “is a matter that is within the exclusive operational competence of the Federal Government of Nigeria. He added that: “No other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature has the legal authority over defence.” The argument he made was that military and paramilitary outfits to defend Nigeria and its citizens are determined by the Constitution so “no State Government, whether singly or in a group has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organization or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent parts.
As we all knows the  primary responsibility of government, at any level, is the protection of lives and property of the citizen. In carrying out this function, the state employs different layers of measures to ensure effective and efficient policing. It is without doubt that in the past decade particularly, the current policing administration in our dear country had been stretched to its limits and it is obvious that the reality of our domestic security upheaval will demand of us to recalibrate our police systems.
In achieving this noble goal, the police, the armed forces, and also the court of law, have swung into action with a view to protect the rights and liberties of Nigerian citizens and its residents within the country. Individuals’ conducts and behaviours living together and within the Nigerian society have been regulated in order for them to conform to the laid down rules and regulations, even as those violating the laws are punished.
Many writers have different view on the issue that many States  governments states across the country   established  such organazations like  Kaduna State established a security outfit known as the “Kaduna State Vigilance Service” to assist security agencies to tackle criminality. The Sokoto State Government also established a local security outfit called “Yan Banga,” which operates in almost all the villages in the state to track criminals and hand them over to security agencies for prosecution. In Zamfara State,  had established ‘Yan Sakai’ Local Vigilantes. Kano State has established the Hisbah Corps,  in 2003.In Borno State, the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was created under the last administration called BOYES (Borno Youth Volunteers). They work in collaboration with the military to fight Boko Haram. Also working for the security of the state are local hunters and vigilante groups, which have been around even before insurgency. The other North East States have similar outfits. In Taraba State, the Taraba Marshalls is a local security outfit set up by the state government in 2018 to tackle insecurity and other violent crimes. Rivers State Government’s Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. Ebonyi State Government also has the Neighbourhood Watch Group with membership drawn from the 13 local government areas of the state to complement the efforts of security agencies to control crimes and other security challenges in the state.
Since the returns of civilian dispensation in the country, Nigeria has witnessed an increase in the activities of ethnic and regional militia, vigilantes, and other armed groups in the last few years. One of the better-known of these groups is the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC),  in the southwest  which campaigns to protect the interests of the Yoruba ethnic group and seeks autonomy for the Yoruba people. The OPC is a complex organization, which has taken on several different roles as it has adapted to the changing political and security environment in Nigeria.
Therefore federal government shall do something to avert serious insecurity which  Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed Operation Amotekun may cause as the case. Nigerians would not forgotten  OPC has been responsible for numerous human rights abuses and acts of violence, and its members have killed or injured hundreds of unarmed civilians In its  spheres of activity-ethnic militancy and vigilantism- and fighting crimes.
The most widespread killings by the OPC took place in the context of clashes between Yoruba, Hausa’s  and other ethnic groups, which reached a peak during 2000 and 2002 ; however, violence and human rights abuses continued in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Between these years Nigerians have witnessed how OPC  activities have ranged from political agitation for Yoruba autonomy and promotion of Yoruba culture to violent confrontation with members of other ethnic groups resided in the South Western states in the name of  vigilantism and crime-fighting.
How sure are we that Amotekun will not commits the same  of large-scale killings by the OPC in 2003 the  clashes between OPC  and other different ethnic groups especially Hausa living in south west   taking place, and how the southwest governors and the promoters of Amotekun will act toward avert ethnic tensions which may likely arise.  My concern on the formation of Amotekun is not personal but on safe of other different ethnic groups living in the south west. There is likely the members of Amotekun to commit large scale of human right abuse base on ethnicity differences. Finally chairman of the South West Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, has said there is no going back on the operation of the regional security agency, Amotekun, which they are prepared to pursue to its logical conclusion. Governor Akeredolu emphasised that the governors of the region were committed to improved security provisioning and are particularly keen to address the rising wave of banditry, kidnapping and farmers and herders’ clashes. The stage is therefore set for a major confrontation between the Federal Government and the South West States.
I blame previous administrations governed the country for not doing the needful in making sure that, the Nigerian federation is kept intact by ensuring that, law and order are maintained. It is one of the  important responsibility of the  federal government to  bring  peace and tranquillity in the nation but  Federal Government  for decades not acts to towards  challenging  many States governors in the federation that  have  setting up security agencies  all in the name of support securities agencies in their respective a States.
Dukawa can be reach at abbahydukawa@gmail.com

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OPINION

The implications of proposed U.S. visa restrictions on Nigeria

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Presidents Buhari and Trump

Should the United States slam a visa restriction on Nigeria as being currently speculated, its attendant consequences will undoubtedly be enormous. Already, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen are facing U.S. travel ban, an action U.S President Donald Trump explained, in 2017, as safeguarding America and its citizens from terrorism.

Aside Nigeria, the coming ban will have Eritrea, Tanzania, Belarus, Sudan, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan. According to foreign media reports, the travel ban will only apply to specific targets including government officials and to certain visa types.

In spite of this, such policy against Africa’s most populous country and, ironically, a strategic trading US partner clearly indicts the current administration. Before now, the US had expressed its displeasure with the administration’s poor human rights records and penchant to trample the Rule of Law. Definitely, this informed Nigeria’s designation by the US, recently, as a country promoting religious discrimination. It is noteworthy that the US statement announcing the depiction had cited the killing of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria’s (Shi’a) and continued incarceration of its leader, Ibraheem El Zakzaky, despite court bail.

Beside being bad optics for Nigeria internationally, the travel ban will equally have telling effects on the country’s precarious economy and flow of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, from the US. The aftermath of the proposed travel ban, certainly, will impose quite rigorous and exorbitant expenses on visa processing, such that it becomes frustrating to foreign and local investors. Since international trade largely requires that personal contacts be established at some point between trading partners or investors, hardship in securing non-immigrant visa will adversely affect trade negotiations and investment. Combined with the reality of Nigeria being a monolithic economy and consumption-driven, investment and accompanying job creation will take a reverse.

As statistics have shown , U.S and Nigeria are strategic trading partners. In 2018, US goods and services trade with Nigeria was estimated to be $11.3 billion, comprising export goods ($2.7 billion) and import goods ($5.6 billion).

Trade in services for 2018 totaled $3.0 billion, comprising services exports ($2.4 billion) and services imports ($531million).

On humanitarian aid, the US, like other development partners, has been involved in various developmental projects in Nigeria. These include the fight against HIV/AIDS, education, peace and security, health, and military assistance. In the same vein, the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, has splurged $308.9 million in assistance to Nigeria in the recent years, while US Military Security Assistance gulped $133million; Population, Refugees, and Migration, $39.72 million; Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, $31million; Education, $25million; Law Enforcement, $6.5million; Centre for Disease Control (immunization and Health Protection) $18.6million, e.t.c

Based on this analysis, US travel ban is clearly bad for Nigeria.

It is therefore imperative for the Nigerian government to take proactive measures by launching serious diplomatic interventions, while exploring ways of improving on its counter-terrorism efforts in line with demands of its developing partners.

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