Yola Airport To Commence International Flights This Year (2014) – Oduah
FROM LEFT: MANAGING DIRECTOR, FEDERAL AIRPORTS AUTHORITY OF NIGERIA (FAAN), MR GEORGE URESI; MINISTER OF AVIATION, PRINCESS STELLA ODUAH AND COMMISSIONER FOR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BUREAU, CAPT. MUHTAR USMAN, DURING INSPECTION OF THE ONGOING RE-MODELLING OF PORT-HARCOURT INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL IN PORT HARCOURT ON SATURDAY (1/2/14).
Barring any unforeseen circumstance, the Yola International Airport, Adamawa State, will commence international flight operations this year, Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, assured yesterday
She stated that all necessary modalities to ensure the flights commence as projected, have been finalized.
The minister also directed the airport authorities to begin judicious utilization of the newly built terminal before its inauguration.
She spoke yesterday during an official inspection tour to Yola.
A visibly elated Ms. Oduah expressed satisfaction with the quality of work executed, saying that the airport can now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its contemporaries anywhere in the world.
According to her: “The official commissioning of the airport project is just a matter of time; for us to officially commission the Airport, we just need to do a little touch as the work has been completed save for some little things that need to be done.
“The terminal as it is now is comparable to any terminal anywhere in the world.
“We are proud of what we were able to accomplished, here, we thank God for the strength to be able to do that”, the minister stated.
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY COMRADE PREYE DRESSMAN, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA ON THE OCCASSION OF CNPD’s MEDIA BRIEFING
DATE: SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2014
HOLDEN AT ROCKVIEW HOTEL: WUSE II, ABUJA
GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS,
It gives me great pleasure to have you grace this occassion and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the time you have taken out of your undoubtedly busy schedules to attend.
CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT or CNPD is a non-governmental organization which was registered a year ago by Nigerians of like minds who were inspired by common love for our country and who share a vision of an era of meaningful and sustained development as we are begining to enjoy in Nigeria today.
The formation of CNPD is essentially in response to the overwhelming desire of millions of Nigerian citizens for an effective platform of communication amongst themselves and also with government at all levels. CNPD’s mission is essentially to promote peace, good citizenship and responsible leadership which we believe are the crucial ingredients needed to lubricate our nation’s wheel of progress. With keen commitment to this mission, our vision is to establish a network of citizens who are committed to the shared values of peace, justice, mutual respect, cross-cultural understanding and national coorperation.
Since the CNPD was registered, we have been involved in several activities aimed at promoting the need for peace in Nigeria without which our collective desire for change and progress will continue to elude us in the face of global advancements in governance and development in general.
Our resolve to be an active part of a new Nigeria in the making has remained unshaken and we are determined to promote both the interests of the people and that of any administration that recognizes the fact that the interests of the people comes first.
In the past year, we have followed keenly the activities of the President Jonathan’s Administration as it assiduously works to realize the Transformation Agenda and we have had cause to contribute to the administration’s efforts by vocally registering our voices on some of its notable programmes and policies. This we have been able to express on the platform of various information media as well as through correspondence with the concerned authorities.
Our activities were taken a step further when on May 29, 2013, President Jonathan presented to the nation his administration’s Mid-Term Report which serves as a catalogue of his administration’s achievements between 2011 and 2013 and enjoys the reputation of being the first of its kind in Nigeria. It also provides an insight into the administration’s future plans as well as modalities for achieving desired goals.
Though the Mid-Term Report initiative was widely applauded by the generality of Nigerians as being consistent with President Jonathan’s promise to adhere by the sacred tenets of transparency and accountability in governance, some of our countrymen in the name of politics sought to discredit Mr. President’s claims as embedded in the report.
Rather than toe the path of constructive criticism that is in itself a key element of democracy, some critics who in our opinion do not wish Nigeria well, engaged themselves in campaigns of calumny, tribal prejudice and mischief.
In light of this unwholesome development, the CNPD decided to embark on a verification excercise of the contents of the Mid-Term Report bearing in mind that President Jonathan himself encouraged Nigerians to assess the performance of his administration within the realms of reallity.
After several months of painstaking research and tours to various project sites nationwide, we are happy to report to Nigerians that our findings, which are based on comparative analysis and evidence of what is visibly on ground, reveal the fact that President Jonathan’s claims as contained in the Mid Term Report are consistent with his electoral promises and the activities of his administration.
The visible achievements of his administration cut across crucial sectors such as; Roads, Security, Agriculture, Water, Education, Power, Transport, Health, Aviation, Oil and Gas, Women and Social Development just to name a few.
The reforms of the Jonathan Administration have ultimately restructured the entire workings of the polity for greater effectiveness and productivity. For want of space and time it would be virtually impossible to begin to itemize and elaborate further on these far reaching developments that have been arrived at in barely two years.
Without doubt, President Goodluck Jonathan has raised the bar in the area of good governance and has to his credit the fact that he has been able to exhibit rare political will and courage in his drive to transform Nigeria for the better.
The Jonathan Administration has performed far better than any other since the inception of our independence; particularly in view of its sterling achievements in just one thousand days. The administration symbolizes a watershed in the annals of Nigeria’s political history and we pray that future administrations will not only emulate its actions but also strive to build on the foundations it has laid to the glory of the fatherland and the betterment of all Nigerians.
January 25th, 2014 marked President Jonathan’s one-thousandth day in office. For us, it is not only a day to celebrate a visionary leader, a patriot at heart and a nationalist whose loyalty to country is without question; it is also a day to reminisce on our journey so far and appreciate the fact that a glimmer of hope beckons to us in the horizon despite daunting challenges.
In view of the far reaching achievements recorded under the Jonathan Administration in so short a time, we wish to declare here at this venue, this 26th day of January 2014, our unflinching support for President Goodluck Jonathan and in unequivocal terms call on him to declare his candidacy for a second term come 2015.
Our stand is not based on sentiments; rather it is based on the realities on ground. We strongly believe that the need for continuity is paramount in our quest for sustainable development, especially as we are trying to build a new nation virtually from the scratch. We must urgently consolidate on the gains of the Transformation Agenda as they unfold and this can only be effectively achieved with its architect firmly in control.
Since critics and the self styled opposition have been unrelenting in their criticism of the Jonathan administration’s every move without proffering any meaningful alternatives, it portends that our steady march to progress is in danger as they will if given the opportunity overturn every meaningful programme and policy put in place by President Jonathan. The issue here is not just that such a move will result into untold waste of funds, it will also set us back to the dark days of stagnancy.
The unhealthy political rivalry that has been displayed by these critics and the opposition have largely served no purpose other than to periodically overheat the polity to alarming heights. Every action or inaction of this administration has been misconstrued and misinterpreted to suit the exigencies of the times, but we dare ask if any of those who are quick to criticize can do better than President Goodluck Jonathan?
We must not forget that President Jonathan inherited a colossal burden of liabilities which he has borne with humility and is addressing with tact. Corruption existed long before this administration. So did militancy in the South-South and so did the wanton killings in the north. President Jonathan has performed far above average. His life story has shown that victory in battle does not necessarily go to the strong, nor does victory in a race go to the fastest, just as wisdom and age have nothing in common; instead, God in his infinite wisdom decides a man’s fate as he pleases. Without fear of contradiction, we declare yet again that in President Jonathan, we find the very epitome of exemplary leadership.
We appeal to all stakeholders in the Nigerian project especially our politicians to stop their incessant and unnecessary battle of wits, which serves no genuine purpose. They must realize that the Nigerian electorate are more enlightened than ever before and are truly fed up with their endless antics of manipulation and deceit which revolve around their selfish ambitions.
Some of our leaders, past and present should also heed to our advice and play the role of the elder statesmen they are supposed to be. They had their God given chance to direct the affairs of this country and yet could not heal all Nigeria’s ills in one, even two terms in office. President Jonathan should be given a chance to contribute his bit for in the long run, only history will vindicate.
CITIZENS NETWORK will in the days ahead be at the vanguard for calls and activities geared towards ensuring that President Jonathan runs again. Any party or individual who has contrary reasons as to why President Jonathan should not contest for the office of President come 2015 should step forward and engage us in an open debate. As for the CNPD, we will adhere strictly to objectivity and facts in the course of our agitations.
While on the subject, we call on members of the Peoples Democratic Party to sheath their swords. Given that the party exists as a big family, we advise that those nursing inordinate ambitions at the expense of the party’s unity to have a rethink and put their weight behind the only candidate worth voting for in these trying times. We commend the smooth transition of leadership in the wake of recent resignation of the former party chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and advise that the PDP urgently put its act together and rally round in support of the new Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu.
There is also need to look the way of the National Assembly where some members of the House of Representatives seem more engulfed in matters of nomenclature and positioning that only serve the purpose of massaging their already over bloated egos.
We wish to remind them that there are crucial issues to be dwelt that touch on the lives of the entirety of Nigerians such as the 2014 Budget proposal which is yet to be signed into law.
Going by the directives of leaders of a political party that its members in the House of Reps. frustrate the passage into law of the budget proposal as captured by the media recently, we wish to fervently remind our representatives that their first loyalty is to the Nigerian people who voted them in to protect their interests.They must not allow themselves to be used as willing tools in a meaningless political battle will compromise the interests of the people.
To our fellow citizens we appeal for calm and total support for the forthcoming National Dialogue, which will serve as a platform for building consensus, dialogue and reconciliation and ultimately strengthening our unity.
In conclusion, we wish to call on all civil society groups and organizations, interest groups and all well meaning Nigerians to join us in appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his candidacy for the office of president come 2015.
Mr. President, a gold fish has no hiding place…the time has come!
We thank you all for your time and ask that as you leave here, you do so with a message of peace to all Nigerians.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Long live the Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria
Long live the Nigerian press.
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Chief Bisi Akande
A fresh faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue state now known as ‘new APC’ emerged yesterday with the current Chairman of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in the state, Baba Agan claiming its leadership.
The leadership crisis bedeviling the party worsened at the weekend as prominent party members were said to have staged a walk-out on the harmonisation meeting called to pave way for an interim leadership of the party in the state.
Daily Trust gathered that meeting which held Sunday evening at Royal Choice hotel, Makurdi by both faction of the APC in the state appointed the Senate Minority Leader, George Akume as chairman, harmonisation committee of the party.
But, Akume was said to have altered the position and named one of his loyalists, Barr. Targema Takema to chair the 15-man yet to be named interim executive members expected to harmonise the merging opposition parties in the state.
The development was said to have provoked a counter reaction from some among the 39 leaders of the party in attendance who felt belittled by the choice of Takema because he had never held any position either in the state or at the national level throughout his participation in party politics.
Reacting on a telephone interview, one of the aggrieved persons, Alhaji Abubakar Maishanu Usman (Young Alhaji) told our correspondent that he had to walk out of the meeting because Senator Akume’s imposition of his ‘boy’ was a complete disregard to the party’s constitution.
But Agan who announced his new faction today in Makurdi blamed the development on the inability of Senate minority leader, George Akume to adhere to party constitution without imposing unpopular candidates on members.
“What you see happening in the Benue state chapter of the APC today is a direct fallout of an era of impunity and disconnect between leading members of the party and the Senate Minority Leader,” he said.
Agan said he has 20, 000 followers that do not recognise Akume as leader of the party in the state and as such would not be subject to him.
Akume’s media assistant, Mrs. Becky Orpine told journalists that Agan does not know what he is talking about and that he was never a member of the APC as claimed.
“Is he a member of the APC? There is no crisis in Benue state APC and nobody is looking towards that direction because we are a united family,” she said.
THE long awaited Ajaokuta, Kogi State/Aladja, Delta State standard gauge rail line has been completed and ready for passengers use as it becomes the first standard gauge rail line in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
The Minister of Information, Mr.Labaran Maku, said the rail line, which was originally designed for the steel industry, has now been integrated into the National Railway Integrated Development Plan.
Mr. Maku, who was in Warri at the weekend in continuation of the Good Government Tour of Delta State, led members of his team, state government fuctionaries and journalists on a test run of the world class rail line.
The test run was undertaken at Agbarho, Ughelli North Area axis of the rail line.
“This line is ready for use. It was originally designed for our steel industry. It has now been integrated into the National Railway Integrated Development Plan. So you can see that this work has been completed by this administration.”
“We now have a standard rail gauge, the first in Nigeria and also in West Africa. The only other standard gauge rail that is being developed now is between Abuja and Kaduna,” Maku said.
He said that the Federal Government has also awarded a standard gauge rail line from Lagos to Ibadan which is being handled by a Chinese company, adding that the intention of President Goodluck Jonathan is to inter-link the standard gauge line with the one a consulting firm is designing between Lagos, Ibadan, Oshogbo, up to Abuja.
“It will inter-link with this and also goes with the one heading to Kaduna and eventually Kano. The other standard gauge line is the one that will branch-off from Lagos line to Benin linking up with this one (Ajaokuta/Aladja line) crossing the South-South and going right to Calabar. There is also a tip-off from Benin which will go all the way to Onitsha and South-East,” he said.
The Minister therefore, charged the Nigerian Railway Corporation to quickly utilize the golden opportunity by giving Nigerians a standard gauge couch which will move between the South-South and North Central.
Benin-Ore-Sagamu dual carriageway;
Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway;
Kaduna-Maiduguri dual carriageway;
The Second Niger Bridge for which a sum of five billion naira has been set aside.
These roads cover a distance of 1,664 kilometres and are at various stages of completion. Most of these projects are due for completion and commissioning in this year..
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 continued 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
16 September 2013
By Olu Adekunle Snr. – Public Affairs Commentator
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.