Major Tension In Rivers State, As Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi Suffers Brutal Attack

The Rivers State Government, has blasted the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, daring him to be courageous enough to admit his penchant for dictatorship, and accept responsibility for the crisis that has engulfed the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the State.

It also appealed to Amaechi to leave Governor Nyesom Wike out of the crisis bedeviling the APC in the State.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, made the appeal in reaction to some uncomplimentary remarks made by the Minister against Governor Wike.

While addressing his party supporters at Rumueme Civic Centre, in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Amaechi had said: “Wike is panicking, sponsoring APC members to cause confusion, he must go in 2019.”

However, Okah in a swift reaction, described Amaechi as a confused man, who is yet to learn that dictatorship has no place in a democracy.

“Amaechi is the problem of APC in Rivers State. He is the one who dictates when members can aspire to hold any office; He is the one who has treated party members like they are his slaves, and the consequence is that the party is factionalised into three camps”, Okah said, noting that, Wike has no hand in the split that has befallen the APC in Rivers State.

Continuing, the Commissioner added: “The present crisis rocking the APC originated from the Minister’s insistence that a serving Senator has no right to aspire to be Governor of Rivers State, and the unilatetal appointment of the Minister’s Lagos Business partner, as the preferred Governorship candidate, without regard to the right of other APC members to contest party primaries.”

‘Buhari has not said people should not steal’ — Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, admitted on Wednesday that corruption was still an issue in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Speaking on the administration’s fight against corruption, Amaechi said, “Buhari has not said people should not steal.

“But when you steal, there is a consequence for stealing. I don’t want to say it has stopped completely but it has reduced”.

The transport minister said this in Abuja during an interactive session with the media on the ministry’s achievements.

He said the Buhari administration has achieved a lot on security, road, fight against corruption, agriculture and transportation, adding that Buhari was tackling herdsmen-related killings.

Amaechi said Nigerians will enjoy 24 hours of power supply if President Buhari is reelected.

“There is an improvement in power. We have moved from 3000 megawatts to 7000 but we are distributing 5000 because some of the infrastructure are not in good state but we are slowly fixing them.

“The expectation is that it should be 24 hours power supply but there will still be a gap but if you give us a second term, that gap will be closed.

“In terms of corruption; this economy was a rent economy. Public money was spent anyhow and it was an economy that was not worked hard for. That is why you see politicians today very rich and one year after leaving government, they are poor.

“They are like that because they don’t know how to manage the money. When Buhari came, he said we could not continue to spend anyhow. Buhari has not said people should not steal.

“But when you steal, there is a consequence for stealing. I don’t want to say it has stopped completely but it has reduced. So if you say Buhari has not done anything on corruption, you are being most unfair.”

He said 2015 budget had only six percent allocated to capital expenditure but the current administration is doing 20 percent.

 

Amaechi said that in the next two to three years, government will allocate up to 30 percent for capital expenditure, if the recurrent expenditure is reduced and wastage is fixed.

“It is also unfair if Nigerians think the ministry of works is not working. The road to Bonny was abandoned after Obasanjo left government, the road was below N39 billion but it is now N120 billion that the federal government wants to do it.

“So, Buhari government is dealing with corruption, building roads, the worst roads in Nigeria used to be between Uyo and Calabar but it has been awarded.

“The road to Enugu too that people are complaining about: contractors are working on the roads already. The work may be slow but they are working. Also the Ilorin-Jebba road has been awarded.

Amaechi also reacted to the Chinese scholarships scandal for the first time.

He and other officials in the government had been accused of diverting rail transport engineering scholarships offered by a Chinese construction firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The scholarship involved the sponsorship of over 40 Nigerian undergraduate students in Chinese universities to study railway engineering which the company said was part of its CSR.

Speaking on the scandal, he said, “the answer to this thing is simple, CCECC has granted us scholarship, how they got their candidates, ask them. I’ve seen the first batch in China. Instead of asking how we chose the candidates, they should ask us about the policy”.

“The policy is that when they come they build roads. Rivers state government house is still being maintained by Julius Berger, is that good? It’s something that any Nigerian should be able to maintain.

“To maintain that place, Julius Berger comes every day and they are paid every month. The month you don’t pay them, you won’t see them.

“If you allow the railway people go without them providing scholarship, when they finish and they go, when the train breaks down you will see that the workers would be sweating but we are very sure that at the end of the day before the Chinese leaves they must have trained our men to take over this thing and that is what is critical not how we chose the candidates,” he said.

“I think the CCECC complied with the law, they did not break any law.”

Rivers 2019: I will unseat Governor Wike, Tonye Cole boasts

An All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Rivers, Mr Tonye Cole, said he would unseat the present government in the state in 2019.

Cole, who is aspiring to succeed Gov. Nyesom Wike, if given the ticket of his party, said that he would tackle economic and security challenges which the present administration had failed to do.

He told newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, after submitting his nomination form for the party’s primaries that he would attract foreign direct investment into the state.

According to him, Rivers has the capacity to attract investors if conducive business environment is created.

Cole, therefore, said that he would use his experience and connection in business world to actualize the dream of improving on the economic status of the state, if given the opportunity.

He also said that wealth distribution at the grassroots was a major objective of his aspiration, adding that he would ensure that rural people were lifted out of poverty.

“Wealth distribution among the grass root people is extremely vital.

“I want to make sure that everybody in Rivers at the grassroots, who have been down, who has been impoverished, who does not have peace and security, are taken care of.

“From an industry perspective, I have been operating at the global level; I travel a lot, I have worked with a lot of people and people know me for doing business with passion.

“We believe that we can attract investment and secure investment in Rivers.

“Rule of law will be protected and they would be able to generate employment for the people of the state,’’ he said.

On security, Cole said that he would engage with the people for them to understand the negative impact of insecurity and crime on the lives and their communities.

According to him, the long term outcome of insecurity is that poverty continues to increase.

“Security is a relationship thing as well; it has to deal with people because people who perpetrate crime and bring insecurity are human beings like you and me.

“One of the things that we are going to do is to engage with them wholly to make them understand what the outcome is as it affects them, not just their families but as it affects their communities.’

EFCC Receives Court Order, Set To Invade Rivers State Government House, Make Massive Arrests, Over Suspicious N117 Billion

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has reportedly secured a court warrant to arrest four Officials of the Rivers State Government, over an alleged N117 billion suspicious transaction.

The anti-graft Agency, is investigating the transaction of the said sum, which was supposedly withdrawn over the counter, in the last three years.

The EFCC had invited and quizzed Peter Amangbo, the Managing Director of Zenith Bank, over the alleged transaction.

The anti-graft Agency, is also seeking to quiz four Officials of the State, who were central to the withdrawals.

However, Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State Governor, had saidthat the investigation is “politically motivated”.

He stated that until the EFCC approaches the Court of Appeal, to set aside the 2007 judgment barring the Commission from investigating the State, his officials would not honour its summons.

Nonetheless, the EFCC, according to The Nation Newspaper, has obtained a court warrant to arrest the Officials, and may declare them wanted, if the move to arrest them fails.

The suspects were alleged to have gone underground, following the decision of the State Government to not hand them over to the EFCC.

“The EFCC is also now empowered by the law to watch-list these State officials, which will makes it possible to pick them up in any part of the country and abroad”, the report quoted sources as saying.

“So, we are now on the trail of the affected Officials. But, if they remain underground, we may declare them wanted.”

“None of the Officials has immunity from arrest, investigation, and prosecution.”

“The reference to a 2007 court order by the Rivers State Government, is just a desperate attempt to cling at any straw.

“We have records to show that when Governor Nyesom Wike was Chief of Staff at the same Government House, he was invited, interrogated, and detained by the EFCC, on June 10, 2008.

“As a law-abiding Agency, the EFCC will continue to do its work without fear or favour. We will get to the root of the illegal withdrawal of N117 billion in cash, and without official records.”

2019: The battle for Rivers State guber seat hots up, as incumbent governor Wike declares intention to re-contest

The battle for Rivers State 2019 Governorship race gets messier as the incumbent Governor of the State and Peoples Democratic Party-PDP strongman, has declared his intention to re-contest for the 2019 Governorship election.

An online media  has uncovered plots by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to be picked as a Vice Presidential running-mate to any of the successful aspirant for the Presidential PDP primary nomination.

In the situation where Rivers State Governor Wike emerges as a Vice Presidential candidate he would be leaving a vacuum at his home front which will present “doctrine of necessity” by relinquishing his position to former Minister Of Sports and a Kalabari seasoned Politician Dr. Tammy Danagogo as a Governorship candidate while the Ogoni ethnic nationality will be given the Deputy Governorship ticket for the first time in the 51-years history of the State.

If the above scenario plays out, the last epic electoral battle will be between two Kalabari sons all from Abonnema in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. With this master-stroke, Governor Wike would have used one stone to kill two birds, first, he would have brought life back into PDP by picking a fellow ‘riverine’ candidate that has strong political pedigree to march All Progressive Congress-APC Governorship aspirant such as Tonye Cole who also holds the same academic qualification, geographical local consideration as both have Doctorate degrees in their various field of endeavour.

Tonye Cole holds Doctorate Ph.D in Architecture from a Brazilian University while Tammy Danagogo also holds Doctorate Ph.D degree in Law from the Prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka Enugu Campus, Enugu State.

However, Dr. Tammy Danagogo has political experience having been elected Council Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. He was also appointed as Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs during ex-Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi before he was appointed as Sports Minister under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Real reasons Governor Wike will accept the Vice President ticket nomination as a running-mate in PDP is based on the fact that he would like to outsmart his kinsman and political foe, the Minister For Transportation Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who single-handedly chased away a sitting President through the ballot box in 2015 with the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as a Presidential Candidate.

If as a sitting Governor, Nyesom Wike was able to stabilize PDP and contributed immensely in the Supreme Court battle against Borno State former Governor and Multi-Billionaire Senator Ali-Modu Sherrif against Kaduna State former Governor and Senator, Senator Ahmed Markafi, since the Governor Wike’s tenacity of holding his own political war-chest to himself leading to the election of his kinsman Prince Uche Secondus National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party-PDP is a testament to his strong-will power of exercising control and political power influence throughout the 36 States of the  Federation plus Federal Capital Territory-FCT Abuja.

Therefore, it then means, with his nomination as a Vice Presidential running-mate, he would be able to hold the country together while giving adequate support to his Principal, a situation he played very well as a junior Minister of Education and later substantive Minister of Education during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration from 2012 to 2015.

2019: Tinubu, Amaechi didn’t impose Tonye Cole on Rivers APC

Contrary to claim in some quarters, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has stated that the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, did not impose the Chief Executive of Sahara Energy, Pastor Tonye Cole, as governorship candidate of Rivers APC.

He stated this on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, while describing last Thursday’s endorsement of Cole in Lagos by stakeholders of Rivers APC as a step in the right direction, in order to easily take over from Governor Nyesom Wike next year.

Eze urged some displeased members of APC in Rivers to give peace a chance and embrace the popular choice of the Abonnema-Kalabari-born Cole, in order to move the state forward.

Wike, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), while responding to Cole’s adoption, described him as Amaechi’s business partner, with the intention of looting Rivers treasury, while alleging that Asiwaju Tinubu recommended and imposed Cole to enhance his (Tinubu’s) business activities in Rivers state.

Eze asked Rivers governor to desist from attemping to bring the character and persons of Asiwaju Tinubu and Amaechi, a former Rivers governor, into disrepute.

He said: “The reaction by Wike is unacceptable to the leadership of APC in Rivers State, as it presents the leaders of the party in the state as incapable of selecting and electing our candidates on our own terms.

“Wike’s reaction on the coming of Cole shows that he is already frightened. I will not be shocked if he considers resigning before the 2019 election, to avoid the embarrassment of awful defeat that awaits him, if he summons courage to contest.

“Politics truly is a serious business to be left in the hands of a person like Wike. It comes to me a great relief for Pastor Tonye Cole to accept to offer himself to rescue Rivers State from its present pitiable state, under the hold of some misfits that do not understand what governance is all about.

“It is time to put our best to work. I am convinced that with Tonye Cole’s global connections, he will attract investments and woo his friends in the private sector to Rivers State for the creation of Rivers State of our dream. So, let us leave sentiments aside and support him for a better Rivers of opportunities.”

Eze also hailed the vision of Amaechi, the leader of APC in Rivers and Southsouth zone, as well as all other leaders of the party for agreeing on the brilliant choice of Cole.

He noted that the choice of Cole was the answer to the perceived injustice done to the riverine part of the Rivers, which had not had a shot at governing the state since 1999, but being dominated by their upland brothers.

The APC chieftain also lauded the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, an oil magnate, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Prince Tonye Princewill, Davies Sokonte, Dr. Dawari George and others eminently qualified to govern Rivers, for coming together to achieve the unity of purpose and agreeing to support Cole’s candidacy.

He noted that Cole stepping down from Sahara Group as the chief executive officer, to enable him to participate actively in the Rivers state’s governorship race, was a positive step towards sacking Wike next year.

Eze said: “It is gladdening to note that Cole’s candidature has been accepted by most key stakeholders of the APC in Rivers State, which will surely enable him to clinch the party’s governorship ticket during the primary election. This is a good sign, which demonstrates total departure from the normal practice in which politicians aspire for offices without any defined vision on what to do with governance, when they eventually get power.

“With the resolve of APC to field a riverine candidate of Ijaw extraction, particularly from the great tribe of Kalabari Kingdom, the injustice of upland governing Rivers State for twenty years to the determent of the riverine area would have been addressed.

“The choice of the party to settle for a candidate like Architect Cole, whose intimidating credentials are something that will aid the party in its efforts and mission to change the fortunes of Rivers State positively, is commendable. The internationally-acclaimed billionaire and son of a former Managing Director of Daily Times Newspaper and former Ambassador of Nigeria to Brazil, Pa Patrick Dele Cole, will actually send shivers down the spine of Wike and his allies.”

The APC chieftain also described Cole as God fearing, highly cerebral and uniquely unassuming, while expressing optimism that he would lead Rivers State into a new era of prosperity, when the youths would be empowered to work hard and earn a living, rather than carrying guns.

RIVERS: Amaechi’s preferred choice versus the godfather’s anointed candidate

As the race for the 2019 elections heat up, politicians are plotting and perfecting strategies to outwit their opponents, both within and without.

This includes forming alliances, embracing foes and friends with similar interests, and for the godfathers, it’s time to push their agenda, and ensure that loyalists and instigators alike fall in line and queue behind the chosen one.

 

In Rivers State, the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who is also the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state is already testing the waters with an aspirant it is hoped will emerge the candidate of the party to wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Recently, reports emerged that the APC caucus in the state led by Amaechi had met in Lagos and adopted Tonye Dele-Cole, an oil magnate to fly the party’s flag in 2019.

This came as a shock as many had expected that either the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, or Senator Magnus Abe, who had been in the battle for the party’s ticket would get the godfather’s nod.

Both men, and other bigwigs of the party from the state, including Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs; the NIMASA DG, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, Chief Sam Jaja and Senator Andrew Uchendu (Rivers East) were said to have attended the meeting where the decision was taken.

But no sooner had the news hit the airwaves, than Amaechi’s publicists went to town to change the narrative. According to them, the minister has a right to support whoever he chooses, but has not made a choice for the party, as this will be done by the members of the APC In the state.

However, analysts contend that his somewhat face saving tactic falls flat on its face, given the reactions that have even came from leaders and loyalists of the party in the state.

They argue that Amaechi is merely playing down the fact that a choice may have been reached on who represents the party in 2019, in efforts to dispel the impression that Cole is the making of a few individuals, and not via a democratic process.

Many say such has always been the bane of Nigerian politics, where a godfather makes the choice, and such is foisted on the people via a democratic process, which ends up as a formality, to fulfill all obligations.

Amaechi’s denial of what transpired at the meeting, and his argument of a choice candidate versus an anointed one really comes short of the truth, more so, given that his own loyalist have already publicly announced that they have fallen in line with his decision.

 

For instance, the NIMASA boss, Dakuku, after the meeting said “Our leader, Rt. Hon. Amaechi,” whose leadership they all subscribed to, made a decision on who members of the party in Rivers State should back for the office of governor of Rivers State in 2019, with the lot falling on Cole.

He further stated: “I made a commitment to the group earlier to stand by whatever decision the leader makes in the overall interest of the party and Rivers State. I reiterated my position yesterday (Thursday) in the leadership meeting. I thus stand by the decision on Tonye Cole.

….“The decision by the leader has been met with mixed reactions, which is expected. My appeal is that we allow the greater interest of APC and Rivers State to prevail.”

Another party chieftain, and one time governorship aspirant, Prince Tonye Princewill, also went to town to confirm that there was a caucus meeting at which Amaechi three his weight behind Coke, and invariable compelled other chieftains of the party to fall in line behind the chosen one, as it were.

Princewill In a statement, said “Being one of the few privileged to be in the room when the decision was taken…, my mind plus my thoughts on the decision were pretty clear, right from the moment it was made”.

He argued, that the riverine area of the state has never produced the governor since the return of democracy in 1999, hence Amaechi’s decision Cole, who is from Abonnema-Kalabari, headquarters of Akuku-Toru (rivernine) Local Government Area, was a welcome development.

Giving more insights to what went on behind closed doors, Princewill said “I was a witness to at least two caucus meetings chaired by HE Amaechi on the issue and several one on one meetings that spanned many months. Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs and Dr. Dakuku Peterside had put up a good case for their consideration, Engr. Bekinbo Dagogo Jack had also made himself available and to be honest, either of them could have done us proud if given the chance. But alas they weren’t. Amaechi’s preference, our preference rested on the shoulders of Tonye Cole”.

He also said, “Amaechi leads, We follow…. So Tonye Cole is my choice and I urge us all to support him”, and he thanked ‘the leader’, “the Hon Minister for giving Tonye Cole this opportunity to govern this great state, Princewill

To those who know how the game of politics is played in Nigeria, they conclude that Cole is a done deal for RIvers APC, and that whatever rhetorics Amaechi is now trying to play with is only in line with the script, and modus operandi of political gameplay.

As long as the leader has made up his mind, others will simply fall in, and democracy takes a backseat, until it is time to formalize the decision. According to them, it is those who do not succumb to threat, persuasion or compensation that would find themselves leaving the party, to seek other platforms.

This they say, is what mostly leads to defections and that Nigerians should expect to see some of such in RIvers State as the elections draw nearer, as those who had been eyeing the governorship seat, and hoping to get the APC ticket may leave to other parties, to achieve their dreams.

But whatever be the case, all things being equal, it is most certain, Cole will be flying the APC governorship flag, after it’s primaries, because the ‘godfather’ has spoken.

2019: Amaechi, Dakuku Peterside endorse Oil mogul, Tonye as APC guber candidate in Rivers State

Ahead of the 2019 Governorship elections, Minister of the Transport Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is said to have endorsed Mr. Tonye Dele Cole, Founder of the Sahara Energy Resources Limited, oil and Gas businessman as his preferred candidate to fly the flag of the All Progressives Congress, APC,  in Rivers.

Although Amaechi, who is the leader of the party has not made his choice official, however, his very close ally and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, who was the Governorship in 2015 and his Deputy Governorship candidate, Honorable Asita O. Asita have both pledge their support pledged their  support in the choice of Arc. Tony Dele Cole as the All Progressives Congress, APC, gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 election.

 

Peterside, who made his support official in a statement he personally signed on today, Friday, August 31, made available to our Correspondent, called on APC faithful to rally support behind Mr. Cole, whom he called “my friend and brother in Christ”, for the sake of APC and the ordinary people of Rivers State.

 

In a statement he signed in person, which he captioned “Unity to Triumph”, Peterside,  recalled his earlier commitment to stand by whatever decision Amaechi would make in the overall interest of the party and Rivers state. “I reiterated my position yesterday in the leadership meeting. I thus stand by the decision on TDC (Tonye Dele Cole)”, Peterside said.

 

The NIMASA DG, a frontline contender until the Thursday announcement by Amaechi, said that APC and its members in Rivers Stat had toiled to build the party, which involved loss of lives. “We have toiled from 2013 to date (a period of five years ) and have made sacrifices and lost lives in course of enthroning the kind of government we want in Rivers State; a government that will guarantee peace , unity and prosperity. In course of the struggle we bonded as one, indivisible family under God.”

Peterside, who noted that Amaechi’s decision on Cole had met “mixed reactions” which he said was expected, however, noted that the greater good of APC and Rivers State should be paramount.

“To those who believe in the vision I shared in the past 5 years, the leadership I gave at various times and the path of loyalty to the cause I have chosen over time, I urge you all to stand by the Leader, the party and the ordinary people of rivers state in support of TDC . I personally pledge my loyalty to the Leader (who is to me family) and the decision he has made. I enjoin all my supporters to queue behind our leader CRA (Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi) and ensure total victory for our party.”

However, APC in Rivers State through its Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, said the party is unaware of such endorsement by Amaechi to pick somebody neutral to the political bickering that has led to two parallel secretariats of the party in the state.  as it has not been made official.

Mr. Finebone said that party’s constitution does not give room for adoption as Governorship  Aspirants would have to contest in the forthcoming Governorship primaries.

“The process for choosing candidates, whether Presidential, Governorship and State Assembly as ratified by National Working Committee, NWC, does not recognize adoption. If people are speculating who the leader (Amaechi) would support, he has always made it clear that he would support somebody but whoever he would support has not been made known “.

Amaechi had always  made it clear before those who do not agree with him have rights to express it obviously during the primaries.

 

Asita O. Asita in his reaction has described the choice of Tonye Dele Cole, a Kalabari, Riverine and big player in Oil and Gas industry falls into the desire of APC to shift power to  the Riverine part of the state. From 1999 to date, that is : Dr Peter Odili, Celestine Omehia, Chibuike Amaechi and Nyesom Wike who will complete 20 years for the Upland.

However, Senator Magnus Abe, who represents Rivers South East, Senatorial district from Ogoniland who had declared his ambition for the position has argued that since the state was created 57years ago, no Ogoni has been Governor, Deputy Governor, Speaker of the State Assembly or the Chief Judge of the state.

Abe and his supporters created a parallel APC secretariat by Waterlines Junction on Port-Harcourt/Aba Expressway about a kilometer away from the other Secretariat.

Below is Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside’s full statement.

Dear Compatriots,

 

Yesterday our leader, Rt. Hon C R Amaechi, whom we all subscribe to his leadership made a decision of whom we should back for the office of the Governor of Rivers State in 2019. The lot fell on my friend and brother in Christ, Tonye Dele Cole.

 

  1. I made a commitment to the group earlier to stand by whatever decision the leader makes in the overall interest of the party and rivers state. I reiterated my position yesterday in the leadership meeting. I thus stand by the decision on TDC.

 

  1. We have toiled from 2013 to date (a period of five years) and have made sacrifices and lost lives in course of enthroning the kind of government we want in Rivers State; a government that will guarantee peace , unity and prosperity. In course of the struggle we bonded as one indivisible family under God.

 

  1. The decision by the Leader has been meet with mixed reactions, which is expected. My appeal is that we allow the greater interest of APC and Rivers State to prevail.

  1. To those who believe in the vision I shared in the past 5 years, the leadership I gave at various times and the path of loyalty to the cause I have chosen over time, I urge you all to stand by the Leader, the party and the ordinary people of Rivers state in support of TDC. I personally pledge my loyalty to the Leader (who is to me family) and the decision he has made. I enjoin all my supporters to queue behind our leader CRA and ensure total victory for our party.

 

  1. I pray for unity among the members of APC and VICTORY in the 2019 election.

Dakuku Peterside PhD.

Buhari, Akpabio, Amaechi, APC Governors, Others, Set To Jet Out Of Nigeria

Four Senators including former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, who recently defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, will on Friday accompany President Muhammadu Buhari on a trip to China.

Nine Ministers and four State Governors all elected on the platform of the APC are also among top Government officials that will be on the President’s entourage.

According to a statement on Thursday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President would depart Abuja for China to participate in the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, FOCAC, scheduled to hold from September 3 to 4 in Beijing.

Shehu disclosed that Buhari’s first engagement in Beijing would be an interactive session with the Nigerian Community in China at the Nigerian Embassy.

Before the formal opening of the FOCAC Summit, he disclosed that the President in his capacity as current Chair of ECOWAS, would deliver remarks at the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African leaders, business representatives and African entrepreneurs.

He added that the Nigerian President is scheduled to join President Jinping and other African leaders for the opening and roundtable sessions of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit with the theme “Towards an even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future.”

The Presidential Spokesman said: “After the FOCAC Summit, President Buhari will hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang to discuss infrastructure financing for strategic projects in Nigeria and the upgrading of Nigeria-China relations “from strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership.”

“The President will also use the occasion of his audience with the Chinese leadership to assess the progress made so far in Chinese interventions in Nigeria’s key priority infrastructure projects, particularly on-going projects in the railway and power sectors.

“It is noteworthy that since the last FOCAC VI Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa in December 2015 – the first attended by the Nigerian leader – and his successful State visit to China in April 2016, the current administration has pushed forward practical cooperation with China in the areas of infrastructure construction, trade, investments, finance, power, agriculture, education cooperation, among others.”

Also on the President’s entourage are Governors Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, Akinwunmi Ambode, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and Rochas Anayo Okorocha of Bauchi, Lagos, Jigawa and Imo States respectively.

Other Senators on the entourage are Abdullahi Adamu, George Akume and Aliyu Wamakko representing Nasarawa, Benue, Akwa Ibom and Sokoto States respectively.

Also accompanying the President are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

Others are the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar; and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru.

Odili: Former Governor of Rivers State Finds New Love at 70

For Peter Otunuya Odili, it is remarkable that the day he was born, August 15, was the same day the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was assumed into Heaven, body and soul. As an ardent Catholic, for whom that day is a holy day of obligation, just like a Sunday, the significance of the coincidental event is not lost on him as it actually reinforces his faith which was given a shine at two Catholic schoaols- Sacred Heart School, Odoakpu, Onitsha and later at the famous Christ the King College, (CKC) Onitsha both in the present day Anambra State. It was at CKC that his leadership qualities manifested that early in life.

He was the Senior Prefect and College Captain of the school. In his own words, Odili said, “From cradle, through primary school, and admission into one of the best secondary schools of our time, I can say without any shred of doubt that the foundational impact of secondary school education is the fulcrum of anyone’s life later.

That’s what CKC did for me. I won’t be who I am if I did not pass through the walls of CKC.” It is in recognition of his religious piety that the Pope recognised and honoured him with the prestigious title of Knight Commander of the Order of St Sylvester which made him a member of the Front Row in the Order of Catholic Knights. For those who know, that was a rare and hugely sought after recognition by the Vatican.

Search of the proverbial fleece

Like most adventurous and ambitious young men of his age, he was about to move on to a tertiary institution in search of the proverbial fleece when the civil war broke out and temporarily truncated that ambition. He was, first, a refugee as the war progressed with its tendency to dislocate and disjoint life and living. That brought its difficulties and challenges which compelled him to submit to being recruited as a soldier.    Here, again, his brilliance shone through. As in CKC where leadership position was on merit, his performance in the army course during which he took top position, guaranteed for the young man assignment that put him in a place where characters are moulded and minds trained. The young Peter was deployed as an instructor in the school of infantry instead of being sent to the warfront.    The life of discipline that military training imbues smoothened the diamond in the rough that he was seen to be by his mentors and set him on an upward leadership trajectory that he sustained till date.

The war over, his academic zeal was reignited and he began schoolwork as an indigent medical student at the country’s foremost tertiary institution, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He later embarked on the holiday trade of travelling abroad to earn some money which immediately turned him into a campus big boy. On graduation from the Medical School of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, he pursued a post-graduate work in Tropical Medicine at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

Like one with the fabled Midas’ touch, Peter Odili  has proved  to be a quintessential family man who has tenaciously clung to his first love and charming campus ‘bus’, Mary Ukaego, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria with whom he has sired children and grandchildren. As a titled chief, it is an abomination to count the products of his fertile and productive loins. In appreciation for the role Mary had played and is still playing in his life, he is, till date, still paying her bride price to her people of Mbaise clan in Imo State. He said so himself.


Mary is his first love. I stand to be corrected. And Medicine follows in that order. He put into practice his training as a medical doctor and won his spurs in that field. Regardless, he is determined to leave a more enduring legacy for posterity.    He may have scaled down his practice, still he has found new love and is striving to give something back to that profession that made him what he is as well as to society for its benevolence. The establishment of PAMO University of Medical Sciences in Port Harcourt, the first privately owned university of Medical Sciences, not only in Nigeria but in West Africa as a whole, is part of a heartfelt desire in that direction. It is an institution designed strictly for the training of professionals in the field of medicine. It is a place he set up to mentor the younger generation who will raise the banner further aloft when he must have played his part and moved on. The University is starting with five faculties – Allied and Health Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical sciences. The university will strive to achieve global excellence in terms of teaching, research and community services. It is set to produce graduates in different fields of medicine who are not only competent in their profession but also entrepreneurial, ICT driven and that are worthy in character and learning. He has vowed to leave it as an enduring testimony to the humanity in appreciation for the benefits he derived from serving mankind and a worthy one at that.

It is not possible to discuss the nation’s democratic resurgence after years of military interregnum without reserving a place of honour for the man Peter Odili. For him, participation in politics was more of a call to service as he can be rightly said to be an accomplished man while functioning as a medical doctor in the state of his birth. He was elected and sworn in as the third Governor of Rivers State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on May 29, 1999. He served two terms which terminated on May 29, 2007. Years after, his developmental strides have remained a measuring rod for those who took over the mantle of leadership from him in that state that is, to all intents, Nigeria’s treasure trove.

Odili has packed much action into his life in 70 years to actually influence the course of history. My family, therefore, join his family in wishing him a resounding happy birthday and many more years of fruitful and enduring service to Nigeria in particular and mankind in general.