AMAECHI`S THIRST FOR INNOCENT BLOOD-STOKING FLAMES OF VIOLENCE IN THE NIGER DELTA.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State lost a significant amount of public respect and goodwill in June 2013 with his display of immaturity at a dinner with President Jonathan hosting two visiting Heads of State. The Governor arrived late, after Mr President was seated, and further attempted to breach more protocol by approaching his boss. He was dutifully checked by the security aide and asked politely to return to his seat. In diplomatic and Government settings, this breach of protocol is a faux pas.

This singular action by the Governor was a clear indication of a self induced hypnotic delusion of relevance in the history of governance in Nigeria. His further egotistical approach to issues contiRotimi-Amaechi3-300x182nued with his latest decamping to the opposition party after participating in obvious anti-party activities, and his sham outing at their inauguration event  in Porth Harcourt. which he considered successful in terms of turnout. His decamping came after his daily shenanigans bordering on infantile tantrums and false alarms over his security, to claims of being denied access to Government House. In the meantime, his security aide and supporters like Chidi Lloyd played out brutish gangster-type violence on Nigerians while he kept playing the role of victim in his well orchestrated reaction to the rule of law asking questions.

Today, the latest episode of the Governor is his recent reproach of a traditional ruler over the laters fatherly and respected opinion on the Presidency`s approach to finding peaceful solutions to a forced lingering dispute between two states, over right of ownership of oil wells.

The story goes like this. Shell Petroleum (SPDC) operated an Oil Well(Soku) in Rivers State and it was named after a community where their operational base was situated, not named after the immediate host community. This seems to be normal practice with SPDC, and indeed the popular Oloibiri oil well is not situated in Oloibiri but in Otuabagi village in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State.. The room for Governor Amaechi`s mischievousness comes from the creation of Bayelsa State. In creating the new state and mapping out boundaries, Soku Oil Well is located in Bayelsa State, not Rivers State. This fact is irrefutable and backed with legal documents. So why is Governor Amaechi laying claims to Soku Oil Well?

The name Soku belongs to a community in Rivers State some ten kilometers as the crow flies away from the Oil Well. It is at Soku that the operational base of the Oil Well is located. The immidiate communities of  Oluasiri, Etukekiri, Ijawkiri, Fredkiri, Adokonikiri etc are all in Nembe LGA of Bayelsa State and are captured under electoral ward 13 consituency of Nembe LGA  of Bayelsa State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). There are legal documents and submissions from committes of well respected and qualified Nigerians cutting across Geopolitical zones, ethnicity, religion, and tribe showing and stating clearly that Soku Oil Well belongs to Bayelsa State.

For the avoidance of doubt, this issue has been properly addressed and findings documented by the Obasanjo administration in 2004 when Governor Amaechi was Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly and President Jonathan was Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State. Surely, the Governor is aware of the truth and the true position of the Soku Oil Well. So it is clear and unambigous that Soku Oil Well belongs to Bayelsa State and is indeed on Bayelsa land. Now, what does Governor Amaechi hope to achieve with his deliberate blindness? What are his expectations from neighboring communities that have an unfortunate but not uncommon history of disagreements in the past, after his improper remarks about the traditional ruler?

It is obvious to most observers that Governor Amaechi is no longer in control of his actions. No sane member of a family throws stones at his home and expects to sleep peacefully in it. Having carried out his ill advised but personal decision to decamp, it seems he has promised more than he can deliver to his new bed mates in the opposition party. It is also obvious that he is being spurred on by people who have nothing to lose in the event of a breakdown of law and order in the erstwhile restive Niger Delta communities that are all linked with a fine thread of cultural affinity. It is expedient on the press therefore to take up this challenge and make it crystal clear to readers, listeners and genuine seekers of as much of the truth as possible that Governor Amaechi is a drowning man clutching at straws.

When people understand that communities in the Niger Delta have been enjoying relative peace and harmony since the brokered Amnesty peace deal, they may now appreciate the negative  aspect of outside influence  in the scheme of things in the region as it attempts to create tension, unease and violence once again. This plot hopefully has failed as it is simply dead on arrival.  Amaechi may continually provoke sentiments with his deceptive role of a harangued pussy cat that does nothing more than mew and purr at feeding time which is however far from the truth. He is stoking already dying embers of mistrust hate and deceit in the Niger Delta and in particular,  Bayelsa State, which has successfully overcome dire security situations and maintained a steady confidence from the populace for close to two years.

Amaechi is associating with disgruntled politicians who have everything to gain from chaos and blood letting of innocent people in the Niger Delta. As the Niger Delta is Nigeria`s soft underbelly in terms of the resources derived from the land, it is wise to put the entire region on alert. The shoddy arrangement that is the supposed ACN led administration of Governor Amaechi  is toying with madness on an unprecedented scale. The best example of this is what is playig out in Southern Sudan today where brothers are about taking up arms against each other, not for idealogical differences but simply because leaders are not sincere enough to avert violence.

This is certainly what Governor Amaechi represents; destruction. Amaechi has no right, title or legal claim to Soku Oil Well and he is spoiling for violence simply because he has likely promised his new party, “Oil money” which unfortunately is not his to give out. Kindly take time to read the below document and make up your own mind as Amaechi is hellbent on creating chaos and anarchy ,all because of his perceived greed and lust for political relevance.

Ejiro Eghagha, writer , social commentator.

HARD FACTS ABOUT THE ATTRIBUTION OF OLUASIRI (SOKU) OIL WELLS/FIELD TO BAYELSA STATE
 
Following repeated and deliberate propaganda by the Governor of Rivers State against the Federal Government, the Government and good people of Bayelsa State, aimed at distorting historic and legal facts and designed to incite the people of Rivers State against their brothers, it has become necessary for us to again reiterate some salient facts about the unfortunate boundary dispute between the people of Nembe and Kalabari clans both of the Ijaw Nation, which dispute started in the 1920s.
Ordinarily, further response to the recent media statements by the Governor of Rivers State on the Oluasiri (Soku) oil wells/Oil Field would not have been necessary since the Bayelsa State Government has made clear its position on the issues in previous media publications including the Nation Newspaper of Monday 5th November 2012.  But in this season of absurd politicking and orchestration of LIES as the TRUTH, the Bayelsa State Government deems it fit to once again reiterate the valid points of the matter for due education and understanding of our Ijaw people in particular and the Nigerian public in general.
The said statement of the Rivers State Governor on the issue was obviously intended to create crisis amongst the peace-loving Ijaw people in Rivers and Bayelsa States and indeed attract undue public sympathy without regard to the security implications and the integrity of national institutions.
Contrary to what the Rivers State Governor is doing by way of promoting hatred and inciting violence, the Bayelsa State Governor on his part has been pursuing the need for peaceful resolution using existing constitutional channels.
 
Now, the HARD FACTS about Oluasiri (Soku) Oil Wells/ Field
 
1. With the creation of Bayelsa State in 1996, the Interstate boundary demarcation issues between Bayelsa and Rivers states resurfaced inevitably with both parties making claims and counter claims to appropriate agencies.
The Federal Government at the time also became so inundated with claims from other states with similar boundary issues. The Federal Government in October 2000 set up a Special Presidential Committee on Disputed Oil Wells headed by Maj. Gen. A. B. Mamman, mni (rtd) to verify the claims and counterclaims of disputed oil wells and oil fields in all the affected states.
The composition of the said committee had representatives of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Nigerian Navy (NN), National Boundary Commission (NBC), Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation (OSGOF), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other notable public figures drawn from all works of life.
The committee members include key personalities such as Chief Ejiofor Onyia (RMAFC), Chief Olotu Frank Akpoebi (RMAFC), Chief Bayo Akinnola (RMAFC), Alhaji Bello Kware(RMAFC), Alhaji Yakubu  Shehu(RMAFC), Barr. Ikechukwu Obiorah (RMAFC), Hon. Chief (Dr.) Peter Amadi Nwankwo(RMAFC), Hon. Alhaji Abu Gidado(RMAFC), Hon. Chief Abu King Shuluwa(RMAFC), Hon. Mohammed Lamin(RMAFC), Hon. Barr. Emeka Wogu(RMAFC), Surveyor F.A Kassim, (the then Surveyor General of the Federation), Surveyor J.O. Okafor (OSGOF).Capt. S.A. Akinbanmi (NN), Lt. Comdr. T. Dick (NN), Comdr. M.I. Olatunji(NN), Lt. Cdr. L.N. Ugwu(NN), Mr. O.J. Odogwu (DPR), Mr. I. Frank-Briggs(DPR), Surveyor M.O. Arowolo (OSGOF), Surveyor I.A. Adewola (OSGOF), Surveyor A.F. Ayeni(OSGOF), Dr. M.B. Ahmad (NBC) and Surveyor A. Umar (NBC).
2.        It is not in doubt that Soku is a village in Rivers State.  The dispute between the Kalabaris’ and Nembes’ primarily has to do with the traditional/native boundaries of both clans who are now in different states. The case of the Oluasiiri people of Nembe LGA is that the Oil wells/Oil Field which make up the facility named after Soku are in their ancestral territory. The Kalabaris of Rivers State hold a contrary view.
The issue therefore is not whether Soku Community is a Community in Bayelsa State. Without  doubt, Soku is a Community in Rivers State but it is the location of the oil wells produced and recorded under that name, is what makes it the bone of contention prior to the final determination by RMAFC.
The name “Soku oil wells/oil field’ was arbitrarily given by Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd (SPDC) since Soku village was their nearest operational base at the time. This is not peculiar to Soku oil field. For example, the Idu oil wells/oil field is named after a town in Ekpeye land in Ahoada East LGA of Rivers State while the oil field is actually located in Biseni land of Bayelsa State.  Prior to the creation of Bayelsa State in 1996, the above issue did not create a problem of derivation as both clans were in old Rivers State except that even then there were series of cases, panels and conflicts.
The arbitrary or misleading nomenclature of oil wells and facilities by Oil Companies also occurs within the same local government or state. For example the first oil well in Nigeria (Oloibiri) is actually located in Otuabagi village while the wells is named after Oloibiri town all in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State, which was Shell’s operational base at the time. So many of such examples abound in the Niger Delta area because these names were given arbitrarily without consultation with the locals. It is clear that the name given to an oil field does not confer ownership nor depict actual location.
So it is ridiculous for anyone to say that Soku Town has now been annexed to become part of Bayelsa State as the Rivers State Governor mischievously claims on a consistent basis.
The crux of the issue here is whether the said oil wells which bear the name given by Shell are within Bayelsa or Rivers states according to the administrative map of Nigeria and other delimitation instruments for purposes of derivation. It is instructive to note that not only are the survey coordinates of the affected areas lie within the geographical area of Bayelsa state, it is also in INEC Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) delineated electoral constituency as electoral ward 13 in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
3. The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in its report on the Familiarization/Verification visit to oil producing states, volume 1, Main Report, August 2006 in Chapter 3, page 30 also acknowledged the arbitrary naming of oil facilities when it stated as follows:
“The Bayelsa/Imo/Abia State Governments complained that the naming of oil fields was often done arbitrarily without any regard to the culture and particular environment of the people where the wells or fields are located. This has given rise to wrong attribution by relevant agencies”.
 
4. Incidentally, Soku village in Rivers State is about 10 km, as the crow flies, from the flow station while the Oluasiri / Soku oil wells/ field is completely surrounded by various Oluasiri communities such as Etukekiri, Ijawkiri, Fredkiri, Adokonikiri etc all in Nembe LGA of Bayelsa State.
5. The Special Presidential Committee on verification of disputed oil wells in volume one of its report on disputed oil wells of December 2000 (Pages; 25/26) after a painstaking field verification process and hearing from both states stated and recommended as follows:
‘‘4;5.6 Soku Oil Field
The team relied on the legal notice captioned The Eastern Region Local Government Law, 1955 E.R. NO 26 of 1955. Instrument Establishing the Nembe District Council” tendered by Bayelsa State on Pages 40-41 of its submission. It should be noted that while the Kalabaris of Rivers State call the area Soku, the Nembe people of Bayelsa State call it Oluasiri which is one of the councils mentioned in paragraph 5 of the above mentioned instrument.
In the light of the above, it is recommended that the production from Soku Oil Field be attributed to Bayelsa State.’’
Please see a copy of the said letter herein.
The said letter was dated 12th July, 2004 when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State while  Governor Amaechi at that time was the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, a position the latter occupied for eight uninterrupted  years. Governor Ameachi ought to know this fact by virtue of his position then and now.
Unfortunately, in his rabid attempt to run down the President and every National or state institution, undermine our democracy, and subvert our cherished African values of respect for elders and institutions of authority, create crises in the country as well as incite violence, he prefers to peddle this terrible falsehood as an agent of blackmail and desecration of the Nation’s hard-earned democracy and our cherished ties of fraternity as a people.
6. Following the above letter, which conclusively decided that the above oil wells be attributed to Bayelsa State, the Rivers State Government instituted a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja in 2005 seeking to set aside the determination by RMAFC.  During the pendency of the suit, all parties agreed to open an ESCROW account into which sums accruing to the disputed oil wells were paid. Following Bayelsa State Government’s legal objection to the said suit, the Rivers State Government realizing the futility of its case applied to withdraw whereupon the said suit was withdrawn and struck out at their instance.
Thus the ESCROW account arrangement put in place during the pendency of the case also lapsed. In that same year, Bayelsa State Government applied for the release of the funds based on the determination of RMAFC in its favour.
From July 2004, the Revenue Commission officially attributed the Oluasiri (Soku) Oil well to Bayelsa State and the amount of N7,292,218,892 was subsequently released from the ESCROW account to Bayelsa State on 19th March 2007 during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Again at this time and on this date, President Jonathan was not President or Vice President of the Country and Governor Ameachi was still Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
7.        Concerning the refund to Bayelsa in 2012 which amounted to N17, 405, 702, 164.34, Bayelsa State Government in 2011 during the administration of President Yar’Adua, made a claim for reconciliation on Nimbe South oilfield in Bayelsa State  and RMAFC verified it and found it to be true and approved the sum of  about N17b  as refund.
b.         Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government made a similar claim on Nda and Okwori oil wells from Bayelsa, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Delta states. Again, RMAFC and other federal agencies verified these claims and found them to be true and authorized a refund from the above mentioned states to Rivers State of about N17.5b.  Both claims were settled in 2012.
Upon reconciliation, Bayelsa State got a net refund of about N15.3b after making its refund  of  N2, 071, 164, 678.46 to Rivers State through FAAC deductions. Rivers State got a cumulative refund of about N17.5b from all the aforementioned states.
d.        It is worthy to note that these monies were not paid out of any ESCROW account but through FAAC deductions. So where is the source of the endless claims by the Rivers State Governor that President Goodluck Jonathan released money from the ESCROW account to Bayelsa when the account did not exist? The above reconciliations and refunds to Bayelsa, Rivers and other states were done consensually
8a. Upon withdrawal of the case at the Federal High Court based on the objection filed by the Bayelsa State Government, this time the Rivers State Government instituted a fresh suit at the Supreme Court of Nigeria , Vide Suit Number SC 106/ 2009, Attorney General of Rivers State vs Attorney General of Bayelsa/ Attorney General of the Federation. On the 10th of July 2012, the Supreme Court unanimously struck out the suit on the grounds that the national institution set up by law for the purpose of boundary demarcation be allowed to carry out its work of properly establishing the clear boundaries between the two states in order to ascertain who owns what.  The Supreme Court further opined that the National Boundary Commission should conclude the on-going interstate boundary delineation exercise between Rivers and Bayelsa States to its finality before any justiciable claims could arise.
In other words, the Rivers State Governments court action was hasty and premature.
b. In compliance with the Supreme Court judgment, the National Boundary Commission and its related agencies alongside Rivers and Bayelsa States in January 2013 continued the boundary delineation exercise until the Rivers State government officially withdrew from the exercise in writing on the 30th of January 2013
9.    The Governor of Bayelsa State who was Attorney General of the state in 2006 when Governor Ameachi was Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, had at a recent peace meeting brokered by former President Obasanjo and all PDP governors in attendance explained the issues and circumstances concerning the disputed oil wells and the fact that there was no operational ESCROW account at the time of the last reconciliations and payments in 2012.
That Governor Ameachi still went ahead spreading falsehood in spite of the explanations and clarifications by the Bayelsa state Government and even though there are available channels for peaceful resolution of the issues shows clearly that Governor Ameachi is being mischievous and his motive is to politicize and destroy all democratic institutions of Government in the country; be it the Presidency, judiciary, Legislature, the political system, traditional institutions, national security apparatus, RMAFC, National Boundary Commission, Office of the Surveyor General of he Federation,  etc. We can also see this same attitude playing out in all institutions in his state.
The Government of Bayelsa State assures our brothers, friends and the Good people of Rivers State that our thoughts and prayers are with them at this trying moment in the life of our parent state, where a good number of our citizens still reside and call home.
10.    We therefore urge all Nigerians particularly the good people of Rivers State to discountenance the frivolous and baseless allegations contained in the press interview by the Rivers State Governor as they are calculated to mislead the entire country and instigate crises amongst the Ijaw brothers in Kalabari and Nembe communities.
The government of Bayelsa State therefore urges the Rivers State Governor and his appointees to refrain from making inciting and inflammatory remarks capable of triggering inter-communal crises among our people with the intention to achieve cheap political gains by the Rivers State Governor.
The Government of Bayelsa State has been aware for a long time of plans and efforts made  by the Governor and officials of Rivers State Government to create chaos  and brigandage in Bayelsa State. In our usual maturity and focus as a government, the people and security forces have been able to put this trend under close watch and control.
Officials of Bayelsa State Government and senior Bayelsa State citizens  residing in Rivers State have been targeted in the recent past and information at our disposal indicate that more of such attacks would take place. Those who have been victims include, Engr. Olice Kemenanabo, Special Adviser on Energy to the Bayelsa State Governor and Chairman of the state plastic company, Engr. Gabriel  Warde, Youth Development Committee Executive (Nembe) Chief Irigha Edward Brigidi and even an attempted kidnap of the Attorney General of Bayelsa State and Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Francis Egele etc. Intelligence indicates that perpetrators of recent kidnap cases in Bayelsa are located within Rivers State.The objective of the above incidences is to paint a sense of insecurity in Bayelsa State
Now that the Governor of Rivers State has formally joined the opposition party (which he is entitled to) he is free to support the opposition in Bayelsa State as he has since been doing but this must be done within the ambits of the law as the security machinery in Bayelsa will not hesitate to ensure that violations of the law in the state are dealt with accordingly. On our part we shall continue to stick to our well known policy of not encouraging or funding subversive activities in any state especially our neighbouring states irrespective of political differences.
As a responsible government, we would continue to do our best to provide security for our people and Nigeria in general. We would continue to support ongoing efforts at curbing criminality and brigandage along the waterways especially in border communities like Oluasiri/Soku areas.
We call on our fellow Ijaw brothers and sisters and indeed traditional rulers to refrain from being used by Governor Rotimi Amaechi as tools to cause disunity between the people of Rivers and Bayelsa States who have lived together as brothers and would always continue to co-exist and bond which will outlive anyone’s political interest or career.
We must all remind ourselves that we are one people. Our peaceful co-existence should be paramount and nothing should be done to hamper it.
LONG LIVE BAYELSA STATE GOVERNMENT
 
LONG LIVE THE IJAW NATION
 
LONG THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
 
SIGNED
 
DANIEL IWORISO MARKSON.
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE BAYELSA STATE GOVERNMENT.

AMAECHI SAGA – WHEN A GOVERNOR TELLS LIES

HARD FACTS ABOUT THE ATTRIBUTION OF OLUASIRI (SOKU) OIL WELLS/FIELD TO BAYELSA STATE
 
Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Chief Press Secretary to Bayelsa State Governor

Daniel Iworiso-Markson,
Chief Press Secretary to Bayelsa State Governor

Following repeated and deliberate propaganda by the Governor of Rivers State against the Federal Government, the Government and good people of Bayelsa State, aimed at distorting historic and legal facts and designed to incite the people of Rivers State against their brothers, it has become necessary for us to again reiterate some salient facts about the unfortunate boundary dispute between the people of Nembe and Kalabari clans both of the Ijaw Nation, which dispute started in the 1920s.

Ordinarily, further response to the recent media statements by the Governor of Rivers State on the Oluasiri (Soku) oil wells/Oil Field would not have been necessary since the Bayelsa State Government has made clear its position on the issues in previous media publications including the Nation Newspaper of Monday 5th November 2012.  But in this season of absurd politicking and orchestration of LIES as the TRUTH, the Bayelsa State Government deems it fit to once again reiterate the valid points of the matter for due education and understanding of our Ijaw people in particular and the Nigerian public in general.
The said statement of the Rivers State Governor on the issue was obviously intended to create crisis amongst the peace-loving Ijaw people in Rivers and Bayelsa States and indeed attract undue public sympathy without regard to the security implications and the integrity of national institutions.
 Contrary to what the Rivers State Governor is doing by way of promoting hatred and inciting violence, the Bayelsa State Governor on his part has been pursuing the need for peaceful resolution using existing constitutional channels.
 
Now, the HARD FACTS about Oluasiri (Soku) Oil Wells/ Field
 
1. With the creation of Bayelsa State in 1996, the Interstate boundary demarcation issues between Bayelsa and Rivers states resurfaced inevitably with both parties making claims and counter claims to appropriate agencies.
The Federal Government at the time also became so inundated with claims from other states with similar boundary issues. The Federal Government in October 2000 set up a Special Presidential Committee on Disputed Oil Wells headed by Maj. Gen. A. B. Mamman, mni (rtd) to verify the claims and counterclaims of disputed oil wells and oil fields in all the affected states.
The composition of the said committee had representatives of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Nigerian Navy (NN), National Boundary Commission (NBC), Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation (OSGOF), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other notable public figures drawn from all works of life.
The committee members include key personalities such as Chief Ejiofor Onyia (RMAFC), Chief Olotu Frank Akpoebi (RMAFC), Chief Bayo Akinnola (RMAFC), Alhaji Bello Kware(RMAFC), Alhaji Yakubu  Shehu(RMAFC), Barr. Ikechukwu Obiorah (RMAFC), Hon. Chief (Dr.) Peter Amadi Nwankwo(RMAFC), Hon. Alhaji Abu Gidado(RMAFC), Hon. Chief Abu King Shuluwa(RMAFC), Hon. Mohammed Lamin(RMAFC), Hon. Barr. Emeka Wogu(RMAFC), Surveyor F.A Kassim, (the then Surveyor General of the Federation), Surveyor J.O. Okafor (OSGOF).Capt. S.A. Akinbanmi (NN), Lt. Comdr. T. Dick (NN), Comdr. M.I. Olatunji(NN), Lt. Cdr. L.N. Ugwu(NN), Mr. O.J. Odogwu (DPR), Mr. I. Frank-Briggs(DPR), Surveyor M.O. Arowolo (OSGOF), Surveyor I.A. Adewola (OSGOF), Surveyor A.F. Ayeni(OSGOF), Dr. M.B. Ahmad (NBC) and Surveyor A. Umar (NBC).
2.        It is not in doubt that Soku is a village in Rivers State.  The dispute between the Kalabaris’ and Nembes’ primarily has to do with the traditional/native boundaries of both clans who are now in different states. The case of the Oluasiiri people of Nembe LGA is that the Oil wells/Oil Field which make up the facility named after Soku are in their ancestral territory. The Kalabaris of Rivers State hold a contrary view.
The issue therefore is not whether Soku Community is a Community in Bayelsa State. Without  doubt, Soku is a Community in Rivers State but it is the location of the oil wells produced and recorded under that name, is what makes it the bone of contention prior to the final determination by RMAFC.
 The name “Soku oil wells/oil field’ was arbitrarily given by Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd (SPDC) since Soku village was their nearest operational base at the time. This is not peculiar to Soku oil field. For example, the Idu oil wells/oil field is named after a town in Ekpeye land in Ahoada East LGA of Rivers State while the oil field is actually located in Biseni land of Bayelsa State.  Prior to the creation of Bayelsa State in 1996, the above issue did not create a problem of derivation as both clans were in old Rivers State except that even then there were series of cases, panels and conflicts.
 The arbitrary or misleading nomenclature of oil wells and facilities by Oil Companies also occurs within the same local government or state. For example the first oil well in Nigeria (Oloibiri) is actually located in Otuabagi village while the wells is named after Oloibiri town all in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State, which was Shell’s operational base at the time. So many of such examples abound in the Niger Delta area because these names were given arbitrarily without consultation with the locals. It is clear that the name given to an oil field does not confer ownership nor depict actual location.
 So it is ridiculous for anyone to say that Soku Town has now been annexed to become part of Bayelsa State as the Rivers State Governor mischievously claims on a consistent basis.
 The crux of the issue here is whether the said oil wells which bear the name given by Shell are within Bayelsa or Rivers states according to the administrative map of Nigeria and other delimitation instruments for purposes of derivation. It is instructive to note that not only are the survey coordinates of the affected areas lie within the geographical area of Bayelsa state, it is also in INEC Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) delineated electoral constituency as electoral ward 13 in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
 3. The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in its report on the Familiarization/Verification visit to oil producing states, volume 1, Main Report, August 2006 in Chapter 3, page 30 also acknowledged the arbitrary naming of oil facilities when it stated as follows:
“The Bayelsa/Imo/Abia State Governments complained that the naming of oil fields was often done arbitrarily without any regard to the culture and particular environment of the people where the wells or fields are located. This has given rise to wrong attribution by relevant agencies”.
 4. Incidentally, Soku village in Rivers State is about 10 km, as the crow flies, from the flow station while the Oluasiri / Soku oil wells/ field is completely surrounded by various Oluasiri communities such as Etukekiri, Ijawkiri, Fredkiri, Adokonikiri etc all in Nembe LGA of Bayelsa State.
 5. The Special Presidential Committee on verification of disputed oil wells in volume one of its report on disputed oil wells of December 2000 (Pages; 25/26) after a painstaking field verification process and hearing from both states stated and recommended as follows:
‘‘4;5.6 Soku Oil Field
The team relied on the legal notice captioned The Eastern Region Local Government Law, 1955 E.R. NO 26 of 1955. Instrument Establishing the Nembe District Council” tendered by Bayelsa State on Pages 40-41 of its submission. It should be noted that while the Kalabaris of Rivers State call the area Soku, the Nembe people of Bayelsa State call it Oluasiri which is one of the councils mentioned in paragraph 5 of the above mentioned instrument.
In the light of the above, it is recommended that the production from Soku Oil Field be attributed to Bayelsa State.’’
Please see a copy of the said letter herein.
The said letter was dated 12th July, 2004 when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State while  Governor Amaechi at that time was the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, a position the latter occupied for eight uninterrupted  years. Governor Ameachi ought to know this fact by virtue of his position then and now.
 Unfortunately, in his rabid attempt to run down the President and every National or state institution, undermine our democracy, and subvert our cherished African values of respect for elders and institutions of authority, create crises in the country as well as incite violence, he prefers to peddle this terrible falsehood as an agent of blackmail and desecration of the Nation’s hard-earned democracy and our cherished ties of fraternity as a people.
 6. Following the above letter, which conclusively decided that the above oil wells be attributed to Bayelsa State, the Rivers State Government instituted a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja in 2005 seeking to set aside the determination by RMAFC.  During the pendency of the suit, all parties agreed to open an ESCROW account into which sums accruing to the disputed oil wells were paid. Following Bayelsa State Government’s legal objection to the said suit, the Rivers State Government realizing the futility of its case applied to withdraw whereupon the said suit was withdrawn and struck out at their instance.
 Thus the ESCROW account arrangement put in place during the pendency of the case also lapsed. In that same year, Bayelsa State Government applied for the release of the funds based on the determination of RMAFC in its favour.
From July 2004, the Revenue Commission officially attributed the Oluasiri (Soku) Oil well to Bayelsa State and the amount of N7,292,218,892 was subsequently released from the ESCROW account to Bayelsa State on 19th March 2007 during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
 Again at this time and on this date, President Jonathan was not President or Vice President of the Country and Governor Ameachi was still Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
7.        Concerning the refund to Bayelsa in 2012 which amounted to N17, 405, 702, 164.34, Bayelsa State Government in 2011 during the administration of President Yar’Adua, made a claim for reconciliation on Nimbe South oilfield in Bayelsa State  and RMAFC verified it and found it to be true and approved the sum of  about N17b  as refund.
 b.         Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government made a similar claim on Nda and Okwori oil wells from Bayelsa, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Delta states. Again, RMAFC and other federal agencies verified these claims and found them to be true and authorized a refund from the above mentioned states to Rivers State of about N17.5b.  Both claims were settled in 2012.
 Upon reconciliation, Bayelsa State got a net refund of about N15.3b after making its refund  of  N2, 071, 164, 678.46 to Rivers State through FAAC deductions. Rivers State got a cumulative refund of about N17.5b from all the aforementioned states.
 d.       It is worthy to note that these monies were not paid out of any ESCROW account but through FAAC deductions. So where is the source of the endless claims by the Rivers State Governor that President Goodluck Jonathan released money from the ESCROW account to Bayelsa when the account did not exist? The above reconciliations and refunds to Bayelsa, Rivers and other states were done consensually
 8a. Upon withdrawal of the case at the Federal High Court based on the objection filed by the Bayelsa State Government, this time the Rivers State Government instituted a fresh suit at the Supreme Court of Nigeria , Vide Suit Number SC 106/ 2009, Attorney General of Rivers State vs Attorney General of Bayelsa/ Attorney General of the Federation. On the 10th of July 2012, the Supreme Court unanimously struck out the suit on the grounds that the national institution set up by law for the purpose of boundary demarcation be allowed to carry out its work of properly establishing the clear boundaries between the two states in order to ascertain who owns what.  The Supreme Court further opined that the National Boundary Commission should conclude the on-going interstate boundary delineation exercise between Rivers and Bayelsa States to its finality before any justiciable claims could arise.
In other words, the Rivers State Governments court action was hasty and premature.
b. In compliance with the Supreme Court judgment, the National Boundary Commission and its related agencies alongside Rivers and Bayelsa States in January 2013 continued the boundary delineation exercise until the Rivers State government officially withdrew from the exercise in writing on the 30th of January 2013
9.    The Governor of Bayelsa State who was Attorney General of the state in 2006 when Governor Ameachi was Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, had at a recent peace meeting brokered by former President Obasanjo and all PDP governors in attendance explained the issues and circumstances concerning the disputed oil wells and the fact that there was no operational ESCROW account at the time of the last reconciliations and payments in 2012.
That Governor Ameachi still went ahead spreading falsehood in spite of the explanations and clarifications by the Bayelsa state Government and even though there are available channels for peaceful resolution of the issues shows clearly that Governor Ameachi is being mischievous and his motive is to politicize and destroy all democratic institutions of Government in the country; be it the Presidency, judiciary, Legislature, the political system, traditional institutions, national security apparatus, RMAFC, National Boundary Commission, Office of the Surveyor General of he Federation,  etc. We can also see this same attitude playing out in all institutions in his state.
 The Government of Bayelsa State assures our brothers, friends and the Good people of Rivers State that our thoughts and prayers are with them at this trying moment in the life of our parent state, where a good number of our citizens still reside and call home.
 10.    We therefore urge all Nigerians particularly the good people of Rivers State to discountenance the frivolous and baseless allegations contained in the press interview by the Rivers State Governor as they are calculated to mislead the entire country and instigate crises amongst the Ijaw brothers in Kalabari and Nembe communities.
The government of Bayelsa State therefore urges the Rivers State Governor and his appointees to refrain from making inciting and inflammatory remarks capable of triggering inter-communal crises among our people with the intention to achieve cheap political gains by the Rivers State Governor.
The Government of Bayelsa State has been aware for a long time of plans and efforts made  by the Governor and officials of Rivers State Government to create chaos  and brigandage in Bayelsa State. In our usual maturity and focus as a government, the people and security forces have been able to put this trend under close watch and control.
 Officials of Bayelsa State Government and senior Bayelsa State citizens  residing in Rivers State have been targeted in the recent past and information at our disposal indicate that more of such attacks would take place. Those who have been victims include, Engr. Olice Kemenanabo, Special Adviser on Energy to the Bayelsa State Governor and Chairman of the state plastic company, Engr. Gabriel  Warde, Youth Development Committee Executive (Nembe) Chief Irigha Edward Brigidi and even an attempted kidnap of the Attorney General of Bayelsa State and Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Francis Egele etc. Intelligence indicates that perpetrators of recent kidnap cases in Bayelsa are located within Rivers State.The objective of the above incidences is to paint a sense of insecurity in Bayelsa State
 Now that the Governor of Rivers State has formally joined the opposition party (which he is entitled to) he is free to support the opposition in Bayelsa State as he has since been doing but this must be done within the ambits of the law as the security machinery in Bayelsa will not hesitate to ensure that violations of the law in the state are dealt with accordingly. On our part we shall continue to stick to our well known policy of not encouraging or funding subversive activities in any state especially our neighbouring states irrespective of political differences.
 As a responsible government, we would continue to do our best to provide security for our people and Nigeria in general. We would continue to support ongoing efforts at curbing criminality and brigandage along the waterways especially in border communities like Oluasiri/Soku areas.
 We call on our fellow Ijaw brothers and sisters and indeed traditional rulers to refrain from being used by Governor Rotimi Amaechi as tools to cause disunity between the people of Rivers and Bayelsa States who have lived together as brothers and would always continue to co-exist and bond which will outlive anyone’s political interest or career.
 We must all remind ourselves that we are one people. Our peaceful co-existence should be paramount and nothing should be done to hamper it.
LONG LIVE BAYELSA STATE GOVERNMENT
 LONG LIVE THE IJAW NATION
 LONG THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
 SIGNED
 DANIEL IWORISO MARKSON.
 CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE BAYELSA STATE GOVERNMENT.

 

From Cancun to Nembe via Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and Tourism

Welcome to Bayelsa

Welcome to Bayelsa

There is a city in Southeastern Mexico  located on the Caribbean Sea. In 1970, there were less than a thousand people living on this beautiful Peninsula. There had been disease outbreaks, issues of sea piracy, and a fair share of drug trade in the area in the past and like every other place faced with such negative situations, populations dropped and the place was more or less bare.

However, the Mexican Government saw the future of Tourism quite early and in a bid to attract foreign investors to the naturally beautiful Islands and Peninsula, financed the first nine hotels in the area. That city is Cancun, and today it is arguably one of the top ten destinations for visitors worldwide. Tourism in Cancun is not just a business, it is a lifestyle that sustains over 12,000 hotel rooms and attracts  more visitors than The Bahamas, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

Cancun 1970

Cancun 1970

Major challenges facing development in Cancun included its distance to Mexico city,  which was over 1,000 miles away, lack of trained manpower to sustain development of Tourism and a dearth of modern transportation including a  functional highway to open up the area. This aside, Cancun rose out of nothing and is something spectacular today. Cancun and Dubai have one thing in common. Nobody believed anything good could come out of both.

Cancun 2013

Cancun 2013

Back home here, on the Islands of Bayelsa State, there are major issues of connecting roads for easy access to tourist sites. as well as security concerns that are thankfully being tackled head-on  by Governor Dickson`s administration with glaring results in over just a year in office. Then again if you have not been to any of the Islands, you may not understand why waterway transportation needs to be seen as a viable option to road transportation.

After visiting three Local Government Areas in Bayelsa State, Brass, Nembe and Ogbia as part of Governor Dickson`s  Thank You Tour,  it is evident that the Dickson Administration has keyed in to a salient fact about Tourism development.  Yes, we all need infrastructure and signposts of modernity, but before all of that, we need education. We need enlightened people to take over managing our long term investments.  In this regard, Bayelsa State has laid down the building block properly. There is no doubting the effort of the Government to boost the education sector.

Yenagoa, Bayelsa 2013

Yenagoa, Bayelsa 2013

This, is a major and futuristic plus with international scholarships, infrastructure development in schools  and partnerships with foreign institutions to train Bayelsan`s,  and expose the few who will benefit from educational exchange schemes and programs  to the possibilities of development  seen around the world.

Also, if this administration takes tourism seriously as it has shown early promise already,  heavy investments in Hotels and Resorts on a couple of Islands will be inevitable. In as much as the State capital is booming with construction works of all sorts, the future of business and commerce in Bayelsa cannot be excluded from the Islands.

Okpoama beach, Brass

@ Okpoama beach, Brass

Beautiful Bayelsa is one part of the Niger Delta that holds so much promise for the future. If only we the people can be brought up to speed with the implications of peace and security. Government cannot do it all alone, we the people have to embrace peace and develop security. We have to manage our communities better.

Governor Dickson is faced with an enormous task of delivering first class facilities as a platform for attracting real investors. It is surmountable. It is do-able. It is very possible. However, it will take some investing in educating the people about a future based on peace and security, and making us understand and appreciate how Local Government Areas can have over a hundred standard hotels operating at good capacity and thus provide employment and commercial boom for the Islands.

Bayelsa State Government seems to be on track with the suggestion by the Governor that a Stadium is proposed for BrasS LGA. That Stadium will require support services of hotels and restaurants in the long run. Another Island will need hotels and restaurants to support Africa`s largest Aqua Tunnel if built for example, or the biggest hotel in the Niger Delta area with accompanying entertainment options. We only have to dream big and put our minds to achieving big feats.

DSC_4703

Beautiful Bayelsa

I dare say a visionary leader can not do without intellectual and experienced support from his team. This thankfully is not lacking presently in Bayelsa State. There is every reason to believe in the future of the state therefore.  It will be enlightening to see the potentials of other  LGA`s  in the state and I look forward to the next phase of the Thank You Tour with eager expectations.

I look forward to beautiful Bayelsa, The Glory of All Lands.

Ejiro Eghagha. Writer, Social commentator

A Killer In Your Fridge ~ Sweet Poison…A MUST READ

Interesting observation..

Democracy, Terrorism and the Secret State: From Gladio to the War on Terror

By Adeyinka Makinde
“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, unknown people far fromany political game. The reason was quite simple – to force the people to turn to thestate for greater security.” –
Vincenzo VinciguerraThe nature, necessity and scope of the miscellany of powers exercised by the stateover the nation is in one sense arguably as contentious in the contemporarycircumstances of the Western world as it was in the distant pre-democratic medievalpast.In his work
Della Ragion di Stato
 (The Reason of State), which was completed in1589, the Italian thinker Giovanni Botero argued against the underpinningphilosophical amorality espoused by Niccolo Machiavelli in
 (The Prince), apolitical treatise centred on the ways and methods of the manipulation of the leversof the power by a ruler in an organised state.The thrust of Machiavelli’s seminal piece was that virtually any action taken by aruler to preserve and promote the stability and the prosperity of his domain wasinherently justifiable. Thus, the employment of violence, murder, deception andcruelty toward achieving these ends were not ignoble in so far as the ends justifiedthe means.With its implications of a required recourse to illegality and a subtext offering morethan a whiff of authoritarianism, this is not a conceptualisation of the
modus operandi
by which modern Western democratic states are supposed to operate both in termsof their domestic and foreign policy-strategies.Yet, while the modern state, guided as it is by an ethos encapsulating the rule of lawand the respect for human rights, exercises powers which are checked and balancedby a mandated adherence to constitutionality, there are troubling questions andunresolved problems which have been raised by the workings of the intelligenceagencies of the executive branch of government.Those who work in the domestic and foreign branches of the security services aretasked with detecting threats under a necessary veil of secrecy. But questionsabound as to the boundaries of their activities and about how truly accountable theyare. Astoundingly, the laws under of the United Kingdom did not even formallyacknowledge the existence of MI5, the domestic security service, until near theclosing of the 20
th
 century.The case of Harman and Hewitt versus the United Kingdom in 1991, which wasbrought under the European Convention of Human Rights, held that the failure of theUnited Kingdom to provide a statutory basis for the existence of this body which hadpowers of surveillance and file-keeping ran counter to the rights protecting privacy,and, by extension, was an abrogation of the rule of law. As a consequence of the ruling in the case, the United Kingdom passed a statutorycharter for MI5 under the Security Service Act of 1989, and later took a similar stepfor its counterpart with a foreign remit, the Secret Intelligence Service, via theIntelligence Services Act of 1994.Quite extraordinarily, the United Kingdom’s intelligence services continue to maintainthe fiction that they ‘don’t do dirty’, in other words, that they do not subvert foreigngovernments and plan assassinations.This goes all the way back to the denials about the so-called Lockhart Plot, ascheme by MI-1C; MI6’s precursor, which was led by Robert Bruce Lockhart.Lockhart’s plan is believed to have had as its aim the assassination of Lenin and theoverthrow of the newly installed Bolshevik government in Russia.Such eventualities, it was hoped, would enable a succeeding government to tear upthe Brest-Litovsk Treaty and have Russia re-join the war being waged being againstGermany.The assertion some years ago by a top MI6 official that it did not organiseassassinations correctly provoked howls of derision as well as a sense of utterincredulity. “What do they exist for?” went the typical response.This was somewhat recanted by Sir Richard Dearlove, a former head who admittedthat agents had the power to use “lethal force”. Agents are allowed under the Intelligence Services Act to conduct illegal activitiessuch as breaking and entering and planting listening devices in the interests of
national security, and while there is no specific proviso giving MI6 agents a ‘licenseto kill’, section 7 of the Act, not only offers protection to agents who have bugged andbribed, but also where they have become enmeshed in enterprises involving murder,kidnap and torture, where such actions have been authorised in writing by agovernment minister.Still, it must be reminded that while renegade British agents have alleged that planshad existed in the recent past to assassinate former heads of governments such asSerbia’s Slobodan Milosevic and Libya’s Muarmar Gadaffi, the official policy ofcourse remains to neither confirm nor deny any allegations related to its activities.Despite the recent legislative reforms in Britain, the perception of an extremelypowerful and at times sinister working secret state persists there as it does in theUnited States and other Western nations.Congressional investigations in the United States after the fall of President RichardNixon in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal explored and uncovered schemesby intelligence agencies, notably by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and theFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which involved the deliberate subversion offoreign governments and targeted assassinations regarding the former, and inregard to the latter, widespread infringements on individual liberties through spyingand harassment, as well as targeting groups and associations for infiltration anddisruption. A disturbing allegation often made and documented about many agencies of thesecret state and their subterranean machinations, is a tendency to corruption andeven the perpetuation of criminal cultures which have involved the forming of unholyalliances with gangsters, political extremists and corrupt regimes.For instance, the CIA was discovered to have conspired with elements within the American Mafia to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro in the 1960s, and in the 1980s,in defiance of the law set by Congress, it disbursed funds to the Nicaraguan Contraswho agents knew where also financed from drugs sources.In the 1960s and 1970s, Aginter Press, the front for Yves Guérin-Sérac’s fascistguerrilla training camp, which was designed to undermine the chances of Westernliberal democracies from falling under the sway of the Left, was partly financed bythe CIA.Most of these endeavours were carried out with the backing and direction of figuresin democratically elected governments. While politicians maintain the veneer ofbeing subject to a guiding framework of moral propriety and the operation of the ruleof law, in the shadows and behind the curtains, they urge, they manage and facilitatethe commission by immoral methods what they construe to be ultimately in theinterests of their nations. And a critical question: to what extent does the historical record unmaskgovernments as the agents of ‘synthetic’ terror? In the ‘Game of Nations’, the use ofsecret services and military ‘black operations’ to manufacture incidents to justify wars

SEPTEMBER 21st IS INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE!

“On this International Day of Peace, let us pledge to teach our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect.  Let us invest in the schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that embraces diversity.  Let us fight for peace and defend it with all our might.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Dear Citizen,

The overriding reason for establishing our organization was,, and is to build bridges of unity forE Education for Peace peace and development to be achieved in Nigeria. Our gratitude thus goes out to all of you who participate with online submissions, comments and private messages of support.

In recognition of the need for peace in the world, the International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/37 of the United Nations General Assembly and the first Peace Day was observed in September 1982.

19 Years later in 2001, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 55/282, which established 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.

We, members and executives of Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria have taken this gesture a step further by celebrating peace overtures and supporting discussions aimed at promoting peace and development in Nigeria on a daily basis, more so with the recent upsurge of violence in certain parts of our dear country.

We enjoin you to look forward to our celebration of peace next month as we keep you updated on our planned activities.

Thank you for giving development a chance in Nigeria as we celebrate International Day of Peace.

POLITICAL PARTIES AS PLATFORMS FOR POLITICAL (IN-) STABILITY (PART 1)

16 September 2013

By Olu Adekunle Snr. – Public Affairs Commentator

It is my humble submission that leading a multi-ethnic society while remaining committed Map-of-Nigeria[1]

to democratic principles, is a task that is only achievable by a generous dose of divine favor. Otherwise, it is at best an uphill task that seldom meets with success.

My assertion is based mainly on the premise that the incorporation of several ethnic groups into a single political entity means bringing together the basic problem of conflict, which stems as a result of man’s varied wants, perceptions, opinions and insatiable nature.  Group loyalties often supercede the established concept of a common identity thereby undermining the collective interests of a multi-ethnic society or nation.

Nigeria as a nation where political, ethnic and religious interests are guarded jealously is such a society where governance under a democratic setting is often tasked to the limit. Our history is replete with instances where sentiments have been whipped up in the direction of these three groupings, with the ultimate aim of exerting influence on the outcome of whatever may be the issue of the day.

Like every other society upon the face of the earth, Nigeria too has passed through phases of change in the quest to fulfill our collective needs. Some argue that these changes have not been for the benefit of the common man, while others believe that only those in the corridors of power have gained; but what the heck, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. The truth of the matter as has been evident before us is that the masses have almost always been preoccupied with the struggle for daily survival and could not be bothered by much else. At least that was the case before 1999.

In her 53 years of independence, Nigeria has been ruled by both civilians and the military with the latter intervening mostly on the purported basis of misrule by the former. The period of military rule ( spanning a greater part of the 53 years) is best remembered as an era where widespread corruption and conscious effort to undermine due process, the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and efficiency in government were the order of the day.

With the death of General Sanni Abacha former Nigerian Head Of State, Nigerians rightly rejected the military and opted instead for a return to democratic rule where the people would be free to decide for themselves who would govern and represent them at all levels of government. This agitation became a reality on May 29, 1999.
It was the expectation that democracy would increase the role of the ordinary people in the system and ultimately provide them the much touted ‘dividends of democracy’.

Fourteen years after in 2013, this is undoubtedly Nigeria’s longest romance with democratic rule. Whether it has met with expectations is a matter for future discourse. However, at this juncture and in view of the drama playing out at the higher levels of the polity, one is compelled to call to question the ambitions of our leaders and the role of political parties which in one way or another affect the political stability.
It is my thinking that the task of leaders is to help societies. They are expected to provide direction of effort towards achieving society’s goals. Leaders are also expected to bring out the best in all of us. As history has clearly shown,
a society without talented and committed leaders will retrogress or at best remain stagnant. This is most true of Nigeria where many of our civilian as well as military leaders, are selfishly caught up in the pursuit of personal goals at the expense of the national interest.

The scarcity of selfless, non-corrupt and committed leaders has contributed to the sociopolitical and economic predicaments facing Nigeria today. Although we cannot expect to have an endless succession of great and extraordinary leaders, recent events have shown that most of those in leadership positions across the country today are yet to fully understand what leadership and representation are all about. They seem bent on extinguishing the light of democracy shinning in Nigeria. They seem incapable of settling the political and economic crises that periodically confront us.

The recent crisis engulfing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party is a good example of the lack of virtue on the part of most of our so-called leaders. Though the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has in many people’s opinions performed creditably, it seems an irony of sorts to find that his greatest critics and detractors are found within the party fold.  Several Governors led by former Vice President Atiku recently disconnected themselves from the main PDP and went ahead to create what is now known as the New PDP.

Though only flimsy and generally unclear reasons were given for such an extreme move on the part of Atiku and his group, altercations between both factions only succeeded in heating the polity to alarming proportions. Nigerians now more politically enlightened than ever were initially shocked by the development. They however quickly adjusted and in what I call an unbiased assessment of the situation, concluded that Atiku and his fellow travelers were a disgruntled lot whose grievance stemmed from perceived obstacles in the way of their selfish pursuits.

In order to prevent the country from being torn apart by attendant sentiments, many stakeholders in the Nigerian project including past leaders and the leadership of various democratic institutions have waded into the matter. Three weeks on, the conflict is yet to be resolved. The Atiku group have however issued conditions for a truce which are at best laughable and indicative of the fact that men of means in this country can hold the entire country to ransom at their leisure. It also calls to question the place of the politician and the party in sustaining political stability or otherwise in Nigeria.
Political parties are by all standards one of the most outstanding and distinguishing elements of modern government and are reputed as the drivers of democracy. In other words, democracy is unthinkable in the absence of viable political parties. They are also expected to participate in the political socialization of electorates, contribute to the accumulation of political power, facilitate recruitment of political leadership, and serve as a unifying force in a divided polity.

After a review of current trends in party activities especially the  PDP and Atiku debacle, I believe that some politicians and political  parties have become  more of a liability than an asset in the country’s quest for political stability.

TO BE CONTINUED.

Atoni Azi on PDP matters arising

“President Good-luck Jonathan should ignore all these frustrated,expired political antelopes who call themselves new PDP and concentrate on his existing transformation exercise which is going on in the nation. Nigerian’s recognise PDP as the largest party in country and not new PDP. It is a shame the people who have failed the country in their various responsibility in moving the nation forward are now coming back to obstruct the dividends of democracy Nigerians are experiencing. These people have failed the nation at large and Nigerians recognise their antics based on their antecedents in destabilising the nation.

Come 2015, the citizens of the country will decide on who to become their President and not these elements of corruption who have failed in their respective states in delivering proper dividends of democracy to their people. They can not convince the masses as they have disappointed them due to their dubious character. They can not convince even the smallest person in their community to come out and vote not to talk of telling them who to vote for. Some have even been suspended from PDP at their ward level. Imagine if PDP in the ward level that is the smallest level of the party can suspend them, then what impact can they render to the national level of the party other than causing  confusion.

They have just one vote and I believe, with the developmental strides of President Good-luck Jonathan, Nigerians will not hesitate to give him a certificate of return through the ballot box. PDP is one umbrella and the leadership of the party should act according to what is enshrined in the party constitution in addressing membership misconduct. No member of PDP is above the constitution of the party. i have one question for the PDP…..a child that has been suspended from school,what is he still going  to do there, when appointments of prefects is on going?”

Atoni Azi, Political and Social Commentator

VICTOR BURUBO PST ON PEACE IN RIVERS STATE

Peace!

Peace! (Photo credit: aldrin_muya)

RE: RIVERS SINKING INTO ANARCHY

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR AMAECHI

Your Excellency,

May God’s grace and good health be multiplied to you.
I was alarmed to no end to read the above caption in the TheNation (Monday, September 9, 2013). My dear Governor, for three whole weeks I had mulled over the idea of writing you an open letter on the current drift in the governance of our dear Rivers state under your watch. I was a bit wary about writing to you, lest I be accused of writing under the instigation of “Abuja Politicians” or “Oga and Madam at the top from Aso Rock.” I am now at liberty to express my views on the very issue you are quoted to have raised in the media.
Sir I wrote an open letter to you 4 years ago on the colossal verbal barrage you had unleashed on the irrepressible Okrika people and their highly cosmopolitan-Kalabari brothers. I am happy to say that at the moment, whatever recriminations or xenophobia you may harbour against them is no longer exhibited in that raw and vengeful manner we observed then. Thank you Sir. I also made it clear in that piece that in-spite of my misgivings I had to admire your pluck, adroitness and political savvy in the way you blind-sided the formidable Odili political machinery to set up a platform of your own, upon which you rode all the way to Brick House.
Permit me, Your Excellency to say bravo to you on the many road projects you have undertaken in the state. The new schools are icons in an apt aesthetic learning environment. I can assure you that decades after your tenure, no one can forget the fact that AMAECHI WAS HERE. Again my Governor, I say bravo!
I am compelled at this point, to bring to your notice, in case you have missed the glaring fact that Rivers State is, in your own words sinking into anarchy because of YOU. By your own words and actions, you have begun to tear down what you helped to build up.
This is how:
KNOWLEDGE OF TIMES AND SEASONS: The word of God tells us “to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl 3:11. KJV).Is this the time to be standing side by side with a few “Northern Governors” whose clear demand is that the presidency of Nigeria should be plucked from the South-South back to the core North? Is that what you (ChibuikeAmaechi) want at this time? Have you at this time become a “Northern Governor”? Even those who believed you were fighting for “justice” against the Presidency which was “witch hunting” you, merely because you won the NGF election, are beginning to wonder. Is this the time to identify with Atiku, Tambuwal, Nyako, Kwakwanso, Lamido, Aliyu and Wamakko? At this time and in this season of anomy President Goodluck Jonathan is discussing peace with “New PDP” and reaching out to resolve disputes. Are you also doing the same here in Rivers State? For you is this a time for peace or more war?
KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR PLACE AND HONOUR.As governor of Rivers state, you are our light, our father and leader. You are the symbol of our collective existence and the repository and exhibitor of our honour. I have in the last 6 years of your administration continued to wonder if you have acknowledge of your place in history and the honour due your high office. I know you do crave the image and reputation of a man who is “fearless” and ”frank”. Others may rather see you as lacking in reverence, ill-tempered and brash; hardly the virtues expected in a leader. Sadly Sir, you have failed to see the nobility of manner and edified elocution due your high office.
Truly assert that any governor of Rivers state should rank in dignity with any African leader at the least!
WHAT ABOUT ABE, PETERSIDE, LLOYD AND OTHERS? My dear Governor, do you realize how carelessly you have frittered away the political chances and careers of those who have stood by you? You have immunity, but do they? Will you not spare a thought for Senator Magnus Abe, Congressman Dakuku Peterside and other allies of yours who may be nursing political ambitions for 2015? How will your current endless battles in and outside the state affect their chances? You enjoyed 8 uninterrupted years as speaker of the RSHA under former Governor Odili. However within 6 years of your own tenure as Governor, first RSHA was embroiled in a contrived “AUSTRALIAN SEX SCANDAL”. Next the former Speaker Tonye Harry got the boot. Now Otelamaba Dan Amachree the new speaker has no house to preside over! Where Sir, is your staunch Ally Hon Chidi Lloyd? Your ADC, ASP Debewari Seimokumoh has since been declared a “deserter” from the police force. For him there will never be the completion of a glorious career and a commendable retirement. Your CSO, Tony Iwelu’s career is also aborted. From the former Rivers state PDP Exco led by Ake, to NGF, only God knows what else has suffered an inglorious desolation because of their association with you. Please look back and see the wasted careers you are leaving in your wake!
In case you have not realized it, I have to point out to you that you lasted longer in politics until you became governor because though Odili fought more and harder battles, He knew when to fight and when to make peace. He never risked the careers and future prospects of his men. That, my Dear Governor is the mark of a leader of men. These days you are ensconced in Abuja fighting to impeach President Jonathan or stop his perceived 2015 bid. It seems you have become an “Abuja politician” yourself. Your Excellency, your place is here with us your people. Return home and put your house in order. At least you will agree with me that the governmental institutions and political associates of your Northern-Governor-friends are intact.

RIVERS STATE IS DRIFTING. Rivers state has become rudderless and as you rightly pointed out anarchy has slipped into our land. It has nothing to do with President Jonathan, his wife, Wike, Obuah or Mbu. As you said years ago in one of your expansive moments, The buck stops of your table. You must, at this time, muster the moral fibre and courage to retrace your steps and make peace in your state (Rivers).Now is the time to reverse the current state of ennui. Again I wonder how you as a governor will work with the National Assembly as the new legislative arm of Rivers state government. Please resist the temptation to consider with glee that now you and Mr President work with the
Senate and House of Representatives as their chief executives. Just ponder how you can pass you fiscal demands through a National legislature not elected by Rivers people. How can you pay civil servant salaries more regularly and on time? Our dear state is paying a heavy price for this crisis. For example which investor foreign or local will come to a state which its own governor says is sinking into anarchy? Should the interest and cooperate survival of 7 million people be sacrificed for one man’s interest? RIVERS STATE SINKING INTO ANARCHY? Well there is only one man I know who swore an oath, with a Bible in his hands to fix it. You!
Thank You my dear Governor

I remain yours truly
VICTOR BURUBO, Pst.
Port Harcourt.

YET MORE FROM THE PDP CONVENTION

pdp logoLEST WE FORGET,IT WAS A POLITICAL COUP AT THAT PDP CONVENTION!

Because of August 31,2013,the political landscape shall never be the same again,not after the walk out by the Baraje faction of the PDP at the just concluded PDP Convention at Eagle Square.Take it or leave it against all expectations the unexpected happened with such clinical precision and in tandem with a well orchestrated plan which didn’t just start at the Eagle Square;so where was the intelligence apparatchik, which failed woefully to envision that this kind of development was in the offing? Did the PDP egg heads in Wadata also lack the ability to see that critical security in-depth analysis should have made out that the various developments,formation of PDM,the undercurrents of threats inside the party from Nyako’s Adamawa to Rivers, to Anambra, to those in Wadata Complex, all pointed out that all was not well, and that the party was going to Eagle Square with a liability baggage,where loyalty would be a major determinant of peaceful conduct of the event.

Be it as it may however,what makes interesting focus is the undeniable fact that the President was made a sitting duck,oblivious that there was a caving in of his political platform,a structure he must need to actualise his intentions in the presidential race for 2015. Not even the presidential intelligence muzzle could sniff out that Yar’adua Centre had been booked for an after Convention gathering of the party’s big wigs by whatever identity:snooping further will make for more intel that could alert the President that a counter move was in progress,which will need follow up and identification of the prevailing threat and potential to upset his expectations;to have prior intel makes it possible for him to re-strategise; cant we all see that after all the clear indications that prior to the day some members of the PDP had been traversing the length and breath of Nigeria on a purported journey of consultations,the President need not lack intelligence feelers, indicating that any slight misdemeanor or a semblance of it, will turn out badly,especially if any manipulation at the convention was suspected by these members!

It likely is an innocent conjecture but I still see the New PDP, Baraje’s faction as a well articulated group of the mainstream PDP,who had a plan and kept it close to their chest as a plan ‘B’,just in case;they clinically executed their plan as a political coup d’etat,a novelty,but to great effect,and an avoidable situation if those watching the President’s back and that of the biggest political party,did their intelligence gathering and speculative analysis more effectively than the usual every day snooping and sniffing!From all indications more political analysis and its marriage into the security and architecture has become very necessary in today’s political dispensation,if democracy indeed must be protected by the intelligence community as in other climes.

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