Obi, Anambra flood victims mark Ojukwu’s 79th birthday
BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA- THE late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu literary resurrected in Anambra State Sunday following his 79th birthday that was posthumously celebrated in the state at the instance of Governor Peter Obi. Ojukwu died last year in a London hospital, after battling with attack of stroke.
Obi had at the weekend, appealed to all the churches in Anambra to pray for the repose of the soul of the defunct Biafran warlord, which was caried out in most of the churches Sunday.
As part of Ojukwu’s birthday celebration, the governor, accompanied by his aides, visited flood displaced persons in their camps at Umueje, Umueri, Agulueri and Onitsha. The visit would also continue today to cover the 23 camps in the state.
Thes events in honour of Ojukwu, who was the leader of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, were characterized by prayers by the clergy, cutting of cakes and cash donation at the camps to enable the displaced persons meet their daily needs.
According to Obi, the idea to celebrate the birthdays at the camps was in line with the life of the late Ikemba Nnewi who, the governor said, would have been reminding him to take care of the people affected by the flood everyday were he to be still alive.
“Ojukwu was passionate about Ndigbo that if he were alive, he would be reminding me daily on the need to take care of the people affected by the flood,” Obi said.
Obi took opportunity of the visits to remind the displaced that Anambra State government would continue to care for them in their time of grief, assuring that the government, adding that the state government has begun needs assessment that would guide it on various areas of assistance to them, especially in the areas of rehabilitation and aid to enable them get back to their various trades.
In his remarks, a chieftain of APGA and former minister of health, Dr. Tim Menakaya commended the governor for remembering the late Eze Igbo, adding that though Ojukwu had already etched himself in people’s memories, nothing done in his memory would be enough.
Source: Vanguard, 4th November 2012.
OKWUTE RESUSCITATE ONUICHA MINERAL WATER [LIMCA] INDUSTRY
Anambra State government has initiated measures to resuscitate the collapsed Nigeria Mineral Water Industries, Onitsha. Governor Obi accompanied by some top Government officials, led a team of foreign investors from South Africa on inspection tour of the facility.
Governor Obi said the efforts were in line with present drive by his administration to attract investors from all parts of the world to widen employment opportunities and build the economy.
He lamented that such high profile industries have been wasting away over the years while the county was facing serious challenge of unemployment and expressed sadness over the degree of dilapidation and vandalisation of the facilities. According to the Governor, when revitalized, the company has the capacity to employ between two to three hundred workers.
Governor Obi disclosed that for the team from South-Africa, one of those he met in his last trip to the country, a week ago to be in the country within a week shows their seriousness.
Speaking at the event, the Senior Special assistant to Gov. Obi on investment attributed the renewed interest of many South-African firms in Anambra to a successful take-off of SABmiller brewery at Onitsha. “The part played by the Government of Anambra State led by Mr. Peter Obi towards the realisation of SABmiller dream was a testimony to most of them that Anambra State Government indeed understood what investment is, he said.”
GOVERNOR PETER OBI REACHED OUT TO REVIVE SCHOOLS
By Mazi Odera
“Scars left are difficult to heal.”
By: FRANCIS TAWIAH
BUS FOR FR TANSI MEMORIAL SECONDARY SCHOOL, AGULUERI
Yesterday during the presentation by Governor Peter Obi , of a brand new 18-seater bus, ten computer sets complete with accessories and the sum of 4 Million Naira to St. Christopher Seminary, Ekwulobia for their various projects - laboratory, sports and transformer. Archbishop Christian Efobi said that he would keep talking about Gov. Peter Obi because he was a Governor all men of goodwill should love for restoring credibility to governance and for being a man of his words.
BUS FOR ST. CHRISOPHER ANGLICAN SEMINARY, EKWULOBIA
Receiving the donation, the Archbishop, Province on the Niger, Most Reverend Christian, while thanking the Governor for the gesture, assured that the Church will continue to uphold the partnership with the State government, as well as support his administration with prayers. Most Reverend Efobi assured that they will live up to expectations.
Similarly, Obi also donated buses and ten computer sets each to Mercy secondary school, Umuoji and Blessed Michael Iwene Tansi memorial Secondary School, Agulueri as well as gave the cheque of 10 Million Naira to Father Joseph Secondary School, Agulueri.
COMPUTER FOR FR TANSI MEMORIAL SECONDARY SCHOOL, AGULUERI
He said that the idea of giving money directly to institutions for projects was working as everybody could see the result. He gave example with 25 buildings the Govt is executing in missionary hospitals.
GOV PETER OBI PRESENTS BUS AND COMPUTER TO MERCY SECONDARY SCHOOL, UMUOJI
Speaking at Tansi secondary school, the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Valarian Okeke said that gov. Obi was God's precious gift to Anambra State. He said he was the only Governor since the end of the war in 1970 that had made genuine and serious efforts to build the human infrastructure. He commended him for what he called his "foresight, courage and exhibition of Christian virtues."
OKWUTE ,FLANKED BY PROF OKUNNA PRESENTS CHEQUE FOR THE REBUILDING OF A BLOCK AT FR JOSEPH SCHOOL, AGULUERI
In his remarks, Gov. Obi, who was on his way to Abuja for a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan with his Kogi State counterpart over disputed oil wells, assured that his administration will continue to fulfill promises made to the people as part of measures to restore confidence in governance. Governor Obi explained that proper equipping and empowerment of schools will enable students to explore their full potential and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills and become productive citizens. He restated that all schools returned to the mission will continue to receive financial support for the ongoing rebuilding process.
Nigerian police raid kidnapping ring in Onitsha
Written by Admin
24 October 2012
(Reuters) Nigerian police said on Wednesday they had raided the hideout of a major kidnapping ring in the southeast, rescuing a hostage, killing three kidnappers in a shootout and arresting three others. Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world for kidnapping for ransom, a major criminal enterprise worth millions of dollars a year in
Africa's second biggest economy.
Police chief for southeastern Anambra state Bala Nasarawa said police raided the kidnappers' hideout in the city of Ihiala on Tuesday, but they came under fire. They killed three in return fire and seized three others from the building, also freeing their Nigerian hostage, a man named Jonathan Onyekwulu, he said.
"They have been responsible for most kidnappings in the state and environs," he said, adding that the gang's leader was arrested a few months ago and had helped police track them down.
"Our operatives are working assiduously to track down fleeing wounded members of the syndicate," after the shootout, Nasarawa said, giving no details of how many had fled.
They had recovered a rocket launcher, four rockets, 18 AK-47 assault rifle magazines and several rifles, he added.
Anambra state is among the parts of Nigeria worst affected by kidnapping, which include the oil-rich southeast and areas in and around the commercial hub of Lagos in the southwest.
State governor Peter Obi launched a crackdown on kidnapping gangs last month, giving national police authority to seal off or destroy the property of suspected gang members.
Foreigners are sometimes targets of abductions, especially oil workers, although this has sharply decreased since a 2009 amnesty with militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta.
Pirates off the coast of Nigeria seized six Russians and an Estonian during an attack on their ship on Monday October 17.
Local newspapers carry a story about a new kidnapping almost every day, usually of professionals or relatives of politicians. The nation reported on Wednesday that the mother of legislator Abiodun Balogun had been kidnapped in southwestern Ogun state.
Police say kidnappings often increase towards Christmas, when gang members need more money for festivities and gifts.
Anambra worst hit by flood –Presidential team
The Federal Government has sent a team to Anambra State to assess the extent of damage caused by flood was declared the state as the worst hit among the 14 states affected.
Speaking through Minister of Environment, Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafa, while touring affected local government areas in the state, the team, which also has Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, Minister of State for Works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA,) and the Minister of Environment as members, said that Anambra was situated at the lowest point of the River Niger and therefore greatly affected by the flood.
The team commended state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi for his efforts to assist the victims. The Minister of Aviation, whose house alongside that of a former Minister, Prince John Emeka; former Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Prince Chinedu Emeka; Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly,
Hon. Princess Chinwe Nwebili; Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Oselloka Obaze, among others were submerged by the flood, said that the situation was clearly beyond human comprehension. She thanked Governor Obi for his relentless efforts to offer assistance and support to the affected communities and assured that the Federal Government would come to the state’s aid.
The minister said that while in other communities, houses and farmlands were destroyed, multi-billion naira industries, including the three industries President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned on August 30, when he visited the state, are currently under water.
Conducting the team round the flooded areas, some of which they visited in a helicopter, Governor Obi said that four local government areas of Anambra West, Ayamelum, Anambra East and Ogbaru were completely submerged in water. He said that four others, Awka North, Ihiala, Onitsha North and Onitsha South suffered various degrees of destruction.
Source: Sun, 6th October 2012.
Ogbaru, Anambra East, West LGAs flood persists
From DOM EKPUNOBI, Onitsha
To say the least, the devastation is so much. Most residents of various communities in Ogbaru, Anambra East and West Local Government Areas of Anambra State have remained homeless and in anguish. Those who still manage to stay in their houses keep awake all nights, waiting for the next havoc the flood will wreak.
Whether they are homes or with homes, sorrow, agony and pain are their lot. The situation is so bad that there is hardly any difference between the villages’ main rivers and flooded areas. The communities are submerged and the flood daily claims more land. As the flood surges daily, it goes on its trail with devastation to houses, farmland, and roads.
In fact, educational and economic activities of the communities have been grounded. In the communities making up the three local government areas, hunger and starvation have set in, as farmlands have either been washed away or taken over by flood. And with the road covered by flood, food items cannot be brought into the villages.
Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, had visited the Ogbaru Local Government Area, which has 15 autonomous communities as well as Okpoko. What he saw overwhelmed him. The communities are figuratively under water. Of all the communities in Ogbaru Local Government Area, Okpoko is the only place where residents still sleep with a measure of comfort and confidence.
The flood is yet to wreak devastating havoc. In Odekpe, Atani, Ogwu-Ikpele, Ochuche, Osamala, Akili-Ozizor, Akili- Ogidi Obeagwe and Ogwu-Aniocha, the story is that of agony and sorrow. In these communities, the story is no longer that flood has submerged houses. Now, the news is that the houses so submerged are caving in. When Saturday Sun visited Ogbaru Local Government Area, Hon. Victor Ogene, a member of House of Representatives representing Ogabaru Federal Constituency, was involved in the rescue mission.
He lamented the devastation of the flood. He revealed that he had contacted the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant agencies to come to the aid of the flood victims and the communities. Also, a former member of House of Representatives from the area, Hon. Okwudili Uzoka, expressed dismay over havoc wreaked by the flood. He advised the people whose houses were overtaken by the flood, not to rush back, even when the flood recedes, pointing out such affected buildings stand the risk of collapsing without proper repairs and reinforcement.
The situation in Anambra East and West Local Government areas is even worse. In communities in these council areas, there’s hardly any dry land, as flood has overrun the place. The worst hit in Anambra West is Mmiata Anam, where the flood level is above bungalows. In the community, canoe has become the only sources of moving around. Also, seriously affected are Umunze Anam, Umuoba Asegbu and Iyiora.
The former transition committee Chairman of Anambra West Local Government, Dr. Tony Obierike, told Saturday Sun that this year’s flood disaster was the worst ever witnessed. He said that apart from being chased out of their houses by the flood, affected people stand the high risk of epidemic. According to him, Anambra River was the only drinking water to most of the people.
Now that everywhere is flooded, the river may have been contaminated. He appealed to the state and federal governments to save the community from extinction. He also called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to hasten action in providing food and drinking water to save the people from starvation and epidemic. President General of Ogonikpele Community, Mr. Frank Akaka, who commended Hon. Ogene for rushing back to the constituency on hearing about the flooding, said the people have lost everything they ever owned.
President General of Mmiata Anam, Chief Emmanuel Agbata, expressed shock at the devastation caused by the flood and appealed for assistance from all and sundry. Also commenting on the flood disaster, the member representing the Anambra East, Hon. Obinna Emeneka, described the flood hazard as unprecedented. He said that all communities in the constituency were affected. According to him, the flood was beyond the Anambra State government to handle, while calling on the Federal Government to declare the area a disaster area.
Source: Sun, 6th October 2012.
Onitsha Monarch Celebrates Ofala Amidst Pomp
FROM ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA, ONITSha
AMIDST glamour and merriment, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, celebrated this year’s Ofala festival, which coincided with his 10 years on the throne, with hundreds of people from the state and across the country in attendance.
As early as the break of dawn, the people had started preparations for the event, with the palace of the Obi (Ime Obi), venue of the celebration, turned into a festive ground, with different cultural groups, Chiefs (Ndiches) and other celebrants, from the various quarters decked in their respective traditional attires heading for the palace.
Ofala Day is a special day and rare opportunity for the Igwe to interact with the people in the public, as well as pray for and blessed them.
This happens after his emergence from a state of spiritual retreat and seclusion. Little wonder the people did not to miss the festivities, as the palace was filled with people of all ages and status.
As the Igwe, dressed in his colourful traditional attire with the a huge headgear sitting elegantly atop his royal head, made his entry into the arena, following the senior chiefs, led by Asagba Obi, who had earlier danced into the arena, shouts of praises rented the air, as the people went into frenzy and state of ecstasy.
Deafening sounds of greetings pervaded as the Igwe, accompanied by his chiefs, danced round the arena, showering blessings on his people, who sang his praises and prayed for his long reign on throne.
After this prolonged session, the Obi went back to his palace, where he received visitors who came to pay homage and obeisance to him.
The Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga (GCON) in his remark, commended the Igwe and his people for putting on a colourful cultural event, which he described as most consummate.
He pledged the commitment of Globacom, sponsors of the yearly event, to take it to greater heights and make it one of the most colourful and attended cultural tourism events in the country.
“We promised to continue to support this festival in the years to come and hope to continue to collaborate with the organisers to transform it in content and value,” said Adenuga.
This year’s event features of this year event included the introduction of a special Ofala SIM card and a promotional offer, with the star prize of a brand new Corolla car, sponsorship of royal banquet and a special school building donated to the people, which would be commissioned on Monday.
Source: The Guardian, 6th October 2012.
Military, others evacuate 76,000 Anambra flood victims
More than 76,000 victims of the devastating floods that hit about 200 communities in five local government areas of Anambra State are being evacuated from their homes to relief camps in Onitsha and Nteje.
The evacuation came as reports said two persons, a woman and a boy, died at Ogbaru following the flooding that submerged their homes on Sunday night.
Governor Peter Obi led the evacuation exercise on Monday as he abandoned the Independence anniversary parade review in Awka and headed for Ogbaru Local Government Area whose communities are the hardest hit in the flooding.
Personnel of the Navy, Army, Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, the Red Cross Society of Nigeria, the Peace Corps and other voluntary agencies were involved in the exercise.
According to a worker of the state Emergency Management Agency, no community in Ogbaru local government, which lies along the River Niger, is spared in the disaster.
He said the flooding paralysed communication and economic activities in the communities.
Meanwhile, many of the victims are being evacuated to the 302 Artillery Regimernt, Onitsha, where the army and other emergency agencies are on hand to resettle them.
Other victims particularly from Ayamelum, Anambra East and Anambra West local government areas are being moved to Nteje, headquarters of Oyi Local Government Area.
But according to the Executive Director of SEMA, Dr. Austin Ijezie, more camps were being opened at the Onitsha South Stadium and other areas to accommodate more victims.
He said, “Twelve buses and trucks have just brought in people to Onitsha and many more loads of them are coming. The situation is getting beyond what the state government alone and SEMA can handle. It is an evolving catastrophe.”
Ijezie, however, said many of the victims were reluctant to move from their ancestral homes.
He said, “Such people are so attached to their homes that they do not want to move.”
Senator Andy Uba, representing Anambra South in the National Assembly, visited the victims at their Onitsha and Ogbaru camps.
Source: Punch, 2nd October 2012.
Kalu, Igbo leaders parley on 2015 presidential poll
Onitsha – Former Governor of Abia, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, on Monday held consultations with prominent Igbo leaders in Anambra on the way forward for Ndigbo in the 2015 Presidential Election.
Addressing the audience in Onitsha, Kalu said that the primary objective of `Njiko Igbo’ was to unite all Igbo groups for the major tasks ahead.
The former governor appealed to the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, to liaise with him on the need to unite the Igbos.
Kalu said: ”My message is Igbo unity (Njiko Igbo). We are not preventing other Igbo groups like MASSOB, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Aka-Ikenga, among others, from carrying out their own objectives.
“We do not belong to any political party; what we are doing is to unite Ndigbo and make them a bundle of broom.”
Earlier, in a remark, Sen.Chris Anyanwu, representing Okigwe Senatorial District in the National Assembly, noted that Ndigbo needed someone who could champion Igbo unity successfully, adding that Kalu was a suitable material.
She recalled that Kalu had initially resisted the offer on the grounds that he had retired from politics.
However, he decided to make the move for the good of the Igbo race.
Anyanwu disclosed that the group would soon meet with all the existing political parties in Igboland and hold talks with South East Governors’ Forum.
The group would equally have audience with religious leaders, traditional institutions and various interests groups, she said.
She thanked Kalu for accepting to work towards the unity of Ndigbo, adding that the task could be achieved through a combination of efforts and God’s miracle.
Responding, the Obi of Onitsha said that the unity of Ndigbo would enable the Igbo people to achieve their aspirations.
The monarch also decried a situation whereby majority of investments owned by Ndigbo were outside Igboland.
He said that if the government could stop armed robbery and kidnapping in the zone and provide jobs for the youths, Ndigbo could then bring their investments back home.(NAN)
Source: Vanguard, 2nd October 2012.
Obi Dares Flood to Evacuate Victims
By Eddy Odivwri
At the dawn of last Sunday, all that was on the mind of the Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, was the activities of the next day: the celebration of the nation’s 52nd independence anniversary. He had drawn up an itinerary of his engagements.
As at 11.00pm, last Sunday, he had concluded arrangements on such activities like the march-past, the reading of President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech and his visit to the less privileged.
That was his plan. Nature had a different one. It was the coming of the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, that radically altered the governor’s activities. He brought a kind of SOS news. He sounded the alarm of a looming doom at Ogbaru if the people were not evacuated immediately. The picture he painted of the soon-to-happen disaster was not such that could be ignored by a responsible governor. It was information that required a response of telegraphic urgency.
Quickly, Obi dumped his planned activities, delegating all such functions to his deputy, believing that Anambra people must be alive first to celebrate independence. He then ordered evacuation to start and promised to join the team at 5:30am.
True to his promise, Obi was at Ogbaru at 5:45am, yesterday and he was concerned on how to rescue the people from the danger of being washed away by the surging flood, which had wreaked much havoc across the land.
Obi had noticed that the people, who had been told of government’s efforts to evacuate them, had massed up so many of their property, which would ordinarily slow down the evacuation. The governor then chose to appeal to them to leave behind their belongings, and just make themselves and their children available for the evacuation, promising that government would take care of the rest subsequently.
He had gone to Osamalla, to address the people. As if by conspiracy of nature, the road through which Obi passed into the Osamalla village suddenly had been overflowed by flood, such that there was no more road for anybody to pass. Bemused, the governor and other members of the rescue and evacuation team watched helplessly as the water rose higher and higher. Danger was near. The team was being threatened by the flood; and left with no other escape option, the governor and his team had to wade through the flood, which almost got to their waists, amidst fear of stepping into holes or gullies that could lead to drowning. Thankfully, they all waded through to safety, to the relief of the entire team.
But that experience did not deter the governor from continuing the evacuation or enlightenment exercise as he went round all the affected communities, supervising the operation. At each of the communities: Akili-Ogidi, Akili-Ozizor, Amiyi, Atani, Mputu, Obeagwe, Ochuche, Odekpe, Ogbakuba, Ogwu-Aniocha, Agwuikpele, Ohita, Okpoko, Ossomala, Umunankwo, Umuodu, Umuzu, the governor explained to them why they should be evacuated and promised them that government would continue to assist them until the flood is over. He also promised that even then, government would rehabilitate them.
The governor also toured parts of Onitsha Township that are also affected by flood, especially Harbour Industrial Area. The governor waded through flood, which has lesser volume of water than that of Osammala, to visit all the factories affected by the flood. He assured the people of government’s support to cushion the effect of their losses.
One of the chief executive officers of the visited companies, Chief Emmanuel Eziokwu, thanked the governor for coming to sympathise with them and lamented that they suffered heavy losses as the flood had destroyed equipment and products worth billions of naira.
The governor further visited Iyi-owa, Odekpe areas of Ogbaru, where canoe paddlers were making brisk business by evacuating people from the flooded areas. He encouraged the people to move to camps set up by the government and that they would be adequately taken care of.
Speaking at the close of the exercise, the Anglican Bishop of Ogbaru Diocese, Rt. Rev. Samuel Ezeofor, who was part of the rescue and evacuation team, commended the governor for identifying with the people, and taking it upon himself to personally oversee the safety and rescue of the people in his domain.
Many of the people rescued from the affected areas were being chaperoned into buses, many of which had parked along the road, waiting to evacuate the flood victims to safe areas.
Source: ThisDay, 2nd October 2012.
Three States Fight Over ‘Anambra Oil’
BY LAWRENCE NJOKU AND SAMSON EZEA (ENUGU) AND CHUKS COLLINS (AWKA)
SINCE the commissioning of the oil exploration facilities belonging to Orient Petroleum Resources (OPR) at Aguleri-Otu Aguleri in Anambra East Council Area of Anambra State by President Goodluck Jonathan where he declared Anambra State as the 10th oil-producing state, there have claims and agitations from the neigbouring states of Kogi and Enugu that the oil deposits being explored by the company were domiciled in their territories and not Anambra State.
The controversy surrounding the ownership of the oil wells was brought to fore by the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Mr. Elias Mbam at an Economic Workshop on Diversification in Asaba Delta State on Monday.
Mbam said though crude oil production had begun in Anambra State, becoming a beneficiary of monthly allocation based on 13 per cent oil derivation, was not automatic.
He said: “The derivation fund is clearly defined in the constitution. The law does not say you must start benefiting when we discover oil in your place.
“You benefit when that mineral resources contributes to the Federation Account and what you benefit is the value of the contribution to Federation Account.”
“We have agencies of government charged with the responsibility of ensuring that boundary issues are settled. We have National Boundary Commission (NBC) and Surveyor General of the Federation, who are charged with responsibilities of delineating boundaries.
There is no need to dissipate energy now, because once they start contributing to the Federation Account, the Commission will request the boundary commission and Surveyor General to go and establish where the oil wells belong.”
Even with this pronouncement, the affected states are still laying claim to the wells.
The Kogi State Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, who represented his boss at the commissioning of the oil facilities: “As you know, Orient is operating on OPL 915 and this oil field straddles many states, including Kogi and one of the oil wells that have been explored and capped by ELF that have now been re-developed by Orient is actually in Ibaji Local Government of Kogi State.”
On the Presidential declaration that Anambra State is an oil-producing state, Awoniyi said: “I don’t see how one can explain the statement. The oil well is in Anambra River basin, which is a very large expanse of land with an overlay of several states on that basin and even that basin has been divided into several OPL. Orient has 915 and 916. Now, one of the wells is in Kogi State, while other wells are in Anambra and Enugu States. You can drill as many holes as you want in this basin and for every hole you drill, it is a well.”
In the same vein, the Chairman of Uzo-uwani Council Area of Enugu, where the oil wells are allegedly situated, Cornel Onwubuya, told The Guardian that from historical and documentary evidence, the oil wells are situated in Iggah, a suburb of the council area.
“The distance of the oil wells to Iggah is eight kilometers and seven kilometers from Echenwo community in Ibaji Council Area of Kogi State. The nearest Anambra State migrant settlement, Otu, to the Oil well is 50 kilometers.
Since the creation of Enugu, and Kogi states in 1991, the deposit of oil and gas in Nigeria’s inland basin has been subject of dispute between the three states. The matter has been before the National Boundary Commission (NBC) and Surveyor General of the Federation.”
He faulted President Jonathan’s declaration of Anambra State as oil-producing state even when NBC has not made a statement on where the oil wells are located.
But faulting the claims, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Anambra State Governor, Mr. Mike Udah described the claims as an afterthought.
He said that the premises of Orient Petroleum Resources and the oil wells belonging to the company are in Aguleri-Otu in Anambra East Council of the State.
“There is no truth in the claim by some neighbouring states that Orient Petroleum is in their land. This clearly is an afterthought and an unnecessary distraction. If their claims are true, why weren’t their governors around on August 30 when President Jonathan commissioned Orient Petroleum Resources?
“Only Governor Peter Obi was there to receive the President. Anambra State is not opposed to the idea of the Boundary Commission determining her boundaries with any of her neighbours,” Udah said.
The Managing Director of Orient Petroleum Resources, Emeka Nwawka, told The Guardian that the two oil blocs OPL-915 and 916, covering an area of 2158km2, extend a little into Edo, Delta and Enugu states, while the bulk is in Anambra state.
The Guardian investigation reveals that unless the NBC makes a clear statement on the location of the oil wells, fear, anxiety and suspicion already building up in the affected states my snowball into full-scale crisis.
Source: The Guardian, 15th September 2012.
Oil Field Tussle: Obi Dares Wada
DAVID-CHYDDY ELEKE and AHURAKA ISAH
Two weeks after President Goodluck Jonathan declared Anambra as Nigeria’s 10th oil-producing state following his inauguration of the state’s first oil refinery, the Kogi State government has amplified its claims to the oil wells that will serve the refinery.
This position has provoked a war of words between governors Peter Obi of Anambra and Idris Wada of Kogi. The standoff reached a belligerent crescendo yesterday.
Meanwhile, the federal government yesterday called on politicians and legal practitioners to avoid overheating the polity by resurrecting the debate on the abrogation of the onshore-offshore dichotomy in the allocation of derivation proceeds.
In a statewide broadcast yesterday at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, Governor Obi disputed the claims by Kogi State, alleging that it was trying to spoil the joy of indigenes of his state.
But Obi’s position has cut little ice with Wada who maintained that the field belongs to Kogi and that Anambra was being unduly desperate.
Obi said the state had invested N4bn in the venture and that the oil field is rightly located in Anambra State, adding that activities that led to the discovery did not receive any financial contribution from those claiming to own it.
“Under my government, with the vision and belief of positive impact of the project on the economy of the state and country, we invested N4.4billion in the project, which bolstered the confidence of other investors to invest in the venture that made the commissioning a reality.
“It is pertinent to note that, till date, neither the group or states laying claims to the oil fields have directly or indirectly invested a kobo in the project, while Anambra State has invested several billions.”
The governor stated that Anambra believes in good neighbourliness and would in conformity with its nature pray for other states to discover oil or other minerals in their areas. People’s hard work, sacrifices and investments should match their opportunities, he added.
Though the governor did not mention the names of the states or groups contending the oil fields with the state, he called on such states to work hard to explore their states for mineral deposits as the oil field in question is rightly embedded in Anambra’s soil.
In his own reaction yesterday, Governor Wada told LEADERSHIP that the oil in question belongs to the Kogi State.
Governor Wada, who spoke through his special adviser, media and strategy, Jacob Edi, said: “Look, make no mistakes about it; the oil in question belongs to Kogi State. I can understand the desperation of Anambra State. You can only be seen to be struggling for what does not belong to you.
The mere location of the refinery outside Kogi doesn’t make the location site of the refinery an oil-producing state. Otherwise, Kaduna should have been declared an oil-producing state a long time ago. For purposes of emphasis, the oil is found in Ibaji local government area of Kogi State.
Onshore, offshore dichotomy
On the onshore-offshore dichotomy in the allocation of derivation proceeds, the federal government has called on politicians and legal practitioners to avoid overheating the polity by resurrecting the debate on the abrogation.
The attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), stated this in an address he delivered yesterday at the valedictory session held in honour of Justice Francis Fedode Tabai at the Supreme Court.
Adoke said that some people now want to resurrect the issue and elevate it to the level of an urgent national matter with all its potential to generate acrimony within the polity, a matter determined by the Supreme Court a long time ago.
The AGF asked politicians and legal practitioners to respect the sanctity and constitutional role of the Supreme Court as the apex court in our polity and halt the current debate of the abrogation of the onshore-offshore dichotomy.
“The court, in a well-reasoned judgement, after benefitting from the submissions of some of our country’s finest legal minds, reached the reasoned conclusion that the Act was not in conflict with the 1999 Constitution and was indeed properly made by the National Assembly to place the implementation of Section 162 of the constitution on a more certain and predictable basis.
“In the light of the unanimous position of the Supreme Court on this issue, expressed since 2005, it behoves on us all to promote the sanctity of our judicial system by recognising that the pronouncement of this court should neither be treated with levity nor be subjected to undue politicisation in the name of politics or the pursuit of particular interests.’.
Adoke however noted that, in the current democratic setting in the country, it is only a credible and truly independent judiciary that remains the best guarantee for political stability and social cohesion.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president, Okey Wali (SAN), called for the repeal of the provisions of Section 292 (a) of the 1999 Constitution that bars former retired judges and other judicial officers from appearing in courts and tribunals in Nigeria. He said: “The regulatory bar is also in the Rules of Professional Conduct. These institutional restrictions have the odious odour of covenants in restraint of trade. They constitute denials of former judges’ fundamental right to freedom of private enterprise.
Wali said that the much-touted fear that if former judges are allowed to practise at the bar it might overwhelm their serving colleagues before whom they appear have been defeated by the prevailing condition at the bar now.
The NBA boss argued that there are so many wealthy and powerful lawyers as well as several judges who are so bold that they could no longer be cowed by the retired judges in the country.
Besides, according to Wali, if the fear is the deciding factor, why are spouses at the bar allowed to appear before their spouses at the bench when the judgement might be written in the bedroom.
Wali however insisted that nobody should be appointed a judge until the input of NBA is sought. According to him, it is all in view of having good and quality bench to ensure efficient and speedy dispensation of justice.
The chief justice of Nigeria, Mariam Aloma-Mukthtar, described Justice Tabai as a great judge.
She stated: “As a brother and colleague with whom I have worked for several years, I would like to say that Justice Tabai is a great judge, an accomplished learned gentleman who is richly endowed by the almighty God with a sharp analytical mind and enormous capacity for research which he never failed to bring to bear on his numerous judgements.
“Justice Tabai had been a justice of this court for six years. In those years I had the privilege of sitting with him in so many cases. He was diligent, quick to capture the intricacy of the cases and was of great assistance to the court.
“His many judgements are the subject of references by judges and counsel alike. He is certainly going to be missed by us all.”
Justice Tabai thanked former CJN Mohammed Uwais for appointing him a justice of the Supreme Court.
Source: Leadership, 14th September 2012.
‘Why Anambra invested N4b in Orient refinery’
FROM UZOMA NZEAGWU, AWKA
AMID speculations that the just-commissioned Orient Petroleum Refinery in Aguleri-Otu is owned by Governor Peter Obi and some eminent citizens of Anambra State, the state government has cleared the fog on the issue.
While urging the people to ignore the growing speculations, the state government confirmed that Anambra invested N4 billion in the refinery.
In a statement issued yesterday in Awka by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Joe Martins Uzodike, he urged the people to ignore the information being circulated through text messages and other forms, saying it was “all lies.”
Uzodike said Obi only invested state funds in the oil firm to enable Anambra reap the benefits of hosting the firm, asserting that the people were indeed the real owners of the plant.
“The text message is a big insult on the intelligence of Ndi-Anambra, and Ndi-Igbo. They invested their personal monies in the project by way of shareholding, and as such, know that the oil company belongs to them.
“We frown at the criminal linkage of the name of Governor Peter Obi to Orient Bank, Orient Airline and the present Orient Petroleum because Anambra has passed that stage of such dirty politicking,” he said.
The commissioner explained that the company was inaugurated during the administration of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, adding that the Board of Directors has eminent Nigerians, including Second Republic Vice President Alex Ekwueme former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, among others.
Source: The Guardian, 11th September 2012.
SECRET OF OBI AND HIS CRITICS
Since Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state was re-elected for the second tenure in the last Feb. 2010 governorship election, he had been receiving quantum of criticisms from different quarters. These criticisms were mostly predicated on his frugality with the state resources which he always re-emphasizes that any money that was meant for the state must be adequately utilized for the betterment of the entire citizenry.
Having said this, Governor Obi proved his mettle in the revolutionary landmarks in some major socio-economic sectors, particularly on health and education, which have fetched him many accolades and international recognitions. At the last World Bank Spring meeting 2012, Gov. Obi presented what the State is doing on education, he was lavishly commended.
At the commencement of his administration, education system was near total collapse but efforts to turn things around began with short-term interventions to refurbish and equip science laboratories in secondary schools, construct primary school classrooms in all 177 communities of the State. Over 150 schools were equipped with laboratory equipment; established Microsoft academies in over 150 schools with 6000 laptops and 1000 desktop computers distributed to them with complete accessories. Also, over 150 buses were distributed to schools in the State as well as generators, boreholes and provision of internet connectivity.
Gov. Obi who told the cross-section of principals, President-generals and Igwes that anytime he called them that they should be rest assured that it was for the progress and development of the State, said that the training and employment of 200 Information Technology teachers preceded the massive deployment of the laptops. He expressed optimism that the state would continue to be a better place as a result of his Government massive investment in education.
Currently, the medium to long-term measures adopted by the government revolve around the acceptance that government has no business managing schools, and that the rot in the Education Sector stemmed largely from mismanagement and poor supervision of schools. Therefore, the governor personally visited over 200 primary and secondary schools in the State and observed these things first hand. This led to the landmark return of primary and secondary schools to their original missionary owners which was a widely acclaimed bold step.
The hand-over signaled the beginning of a partnership with the Church in which the State Government will continue to pay the salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff, in addition to providing strong financial support to the Church for the running of the schools. To this end, when this returning-back-schools-to- missionaries ceremony was being performed, the Anglican Archbishop, Christian Efobi commented that “this is what happens when the righteous are in control.”
In addition to providing strong financial support to the Church for the running of the schools, it was learnt that the government has already earmarked the whopping sum of N10 billion for this purpose and N1 billion of which has already been disbursed. This intervention will last for 10 years.
For making this feat, the three catholic Bishops in Anambra State, Archbishop Valarian Okeke, and Bishops Hilary Okeke and Paulinus Ezeokafor sent a letter to the governor entitled Gratitude for Subvention for reconstruction of returned Primary Schools and read part:
“We, the Catholic Bishops of Anambra State, thank you in the name of all Catholic clergy, consecrated persons and lay members of Christ's faithful in Anambra State. You have demonstrated in no uncertain way your commitment to good governance and you are making us very proud of you and your government. Your decision to return all schools taken over forcefully by government remains the boldest step taken by any government in Nigeria to secure the lasting good for the citizens of Nigeria. You are convinced, and rightly so, that education is a potent vehicle for moral development and that the government takeover of schools built and run by the Church was a retrogressive step. Against all opposition from self-seeking elements both in your government and in the society, you did the right and just thing by returning both primary and secondary schools to their rightful owners who you believe can manage the schools for the good of the children of Anambra State. Generations will appreciate your wisdom and courage.”
Basically, the intervention on the Education sector has extended to the tertiary level where the State University and College of Education have undergone remarkable transformation in infrastructure, accreditation of programmes and general welfare. The development of the permanent site of the campus of our Anambra State University, Igbariam campus started with the perimeter fencing that covered an area of about 9 Kilometres and the Senate Building, the Faculty of Agriculture, the Faculty of Law, the library and some classroom blocks have been constructed and completed.
Similarly, at the school of Agriculture, Mgbakwu in Awka North local government area, it was from zero point to the construction of over 10 buildings and many other structures at the Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe..
However, the last Library built in Anambra State was in 1966 but more kudos go to Obi’s administration which Today built a modern E-library and posthumously named after the first Igbo Professor, Prof. Kenneth Dike Central Library at Awka. It has been equipped and construction of libraries in the secondary schools have commenced.
In readiness of stuffing the libraries with books when they are completed, the Governor disbursed a whopping sum of #20million to 200 secondary schools at #500,000 each.
In another round of development, the government has done so much with a lot of financial support from her development partners, which is not usually captured in the State’s Budget: UNICEF intervention in maternal health, immunization and infant health generally; World Bank support for construction and equipping of health facilities; DFID support for the Roll Back Malaria programme; MDGs funding for the construction, renovation and equipping of health facilities at primary and secondary levels, capacity building for various categories of health personnel, provision of boreholes and toilet/sanitation facilities in health centres, and construction of hostels in Schools of Nursing and Midwifery. Newsworld was informed that as the State has budgeted as much as N5 billion for her 2011/2012 MDGs programme; much of this will go into the Health Sector.
Like the Education Sector, the Health Sector is reaping the benefits of the State’s partnership with the Church whose health facilities and training institutions have acquired state-of-the-art equipment and achieved accreditation with the strong financial support from Government.
The sum of #3billion has been set aside and presently, the construction of 10 hostel blocks in Church-owned Schools of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Technology by the government is ongoing at N60 million per hostel making it a total of N600, Million. There is no issue of government tampering since the money is released directly to the Churches.
Obi had promised and fullfiled the accreditation of two hospitals – Anambra State Teaching Hospital, Awka and Onitsha General Hospital while Ekwulobia General Hospital is yet to be accredited.
Even at this level, the New Teaching Hospital which also have had concurrent accreditation of its College of Medicine, would now boast of 18 new giant buildings that accommodates the House Officers’ Quarters, General Outpatient Department, Consultants’ Clinic, Pathology and Mortuary Building, Pharmacology Building, Administrative Block, Laboratory Complex, Male, Female, Special and Children’s wards as well as College of Medicine Building Pharmaceutical stores, Catering building, among others.
Already, 12 40-feet containers of hospital equipment have been delivered to the hospital for proper functioning of the entire departments.
It is worthwhile to know that the partners who are offering this support monitor what goes on. The head of one of our partners and the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, HE, David MAcRae said that “European Union has always emphasized on proper management of money, that is why it is important to have people of high integrity as we do in Anambra State”.
In the course of achieving these giant strides, the state government adopted the MDG goals as its focal point and the Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy, (ANIDS) as a vehicle to arrive to its destination.
According to Governor Obi, “ANIDS helps us to plan properly, budget properly and execute our plans while receiving adequate feedback from the people. Through ANIDS, we are working on all sectors simultaneously.”
Protest over Designation of Anambra as Oil State
By Christopher Isiguzo
Following the designation of Anambra State as the 10th oil-producing state in the country by President Goodluck Jonathan last week, three border communities between Enugu, Kogi and Anambra States Wednesday threatened showdown with the Federal Government over the development, insisting that it was out of order for oil in their areas to be allocated to Anambra State.
President Jonathan had during his commissioning of Orient Petroleum Plc in Anambra State last week, declared the state an oil-producing state.
But in an angry reaction to the development, members of the three host communities in Enugu State involved in the oil wells dispute, have vowed to protect the oil in their place with the last drop of their blood.
In a joint press statement made available to newsmen in Enugu Wednesday, the communities, Ojjor, Iggah and Asaba, all in the Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, berated the Enugu State Government over what it called “its obvious indifference and unseriousness in safeguarding the oil wells in our communities.”
In the statement, which was signed by Jude Ibeagha, Stan Madubia and Chris Okpe on behalf of the three communities, they accused the Enugu State Government of watching helplessly while Anambra State claimed the oil wells domiciled in their area.
“We are indeed shocked and pained as it concerns the recent happenings revolving around the oil wells located in our place,” the statement said.
“We describe as a glaring injustice and bare faced gangsterism a situation where Anambra politicians through Governor Peter Obi have arm-twisted our people and claimed ownership of oil wells located in Enugu State.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the oil wells in the three oil blocks in Ojjor, Iggah and Asaba, communities of Enugu State provide the bulk of the crude oil supply to the Orient Refinery.
“Our anger is even more against the Enugu State government over its nonchalant attitude in safeguarding the oil in our place. Like a man who pursues rat while his house is on fire, Enugu State government has continued to treat this issue with levity as against the seriousness it deserved,” the communities stated.
While vowing to defend what belongs to them if the government cannot do so, the communities said their patience and maturity should not be misconstrued for cowardice.
The statement continued: “We want to state that we are not afraid or incapable of protecting the oil wells, but we have been calm owing to assurances from some highly placed government officials that the matter was being sorted out.
“However, the recent designation of Anambra as an oil-producing state is an obvious indication that Enugu government never made any serious move in the first instance. It is equally noteworthy that unlike her Kogi counterpart, no serious public statement had come from Enugu government concerning this matter. We are compelled to think that there is a serious gang up and compromise in many quarters.”
Source: This Day, 6th September 2012.
Jonathan in Anambra State
Anyaoku leads Anambra into oil-producers’ club, 45 years after
FROM CHUKS COLLINS, AWKA
Posers over govt’s plan to spend $750m on planned refinery
NEARLY 45 years after Safrap, now Total Plc, first discovered and drilled oil in Aguleri, Anambra-East Council of the state, the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who is the chairman of the Orient Petroleum Resources Ltd (OPR), has led the state into the elite oil-producing states’ club.
Therefore, come August 30, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to commission the production of oil at the 55,000bpd first wholly privately-owned Orient Petroleum Resources’ (OPR) oil rig in Aguleri.
The company, according to its Managing Director, Emeka Nwawka, is currently stockpiling the produced crude in large barges at the site ahead of its refinery, which would be commissioned in a few months.
The chief executive also confirmed that they had resolved in writing all initial disagreements over the location and area covered by their operations with the Enugu State government. He said they sorted things out with the Secretary to the State Government, Patrick Okolo and the Attorney General, Anthony Ani, as well as chairman of the Uzor Uwani Local Council.
Nwawka stated that the two oil blocs sitting on acreage of 2158km2 extends a bit into Edo, Delta and Enugu states, but that the location of the well in Anambra State was never in any form of dispute.
The Federal Government had granted two oil blocs marked as OPL 915 and 916 to the company in 2002, and after analysing the seismic data thereto, the company decided to proceed with full development. The actual drilling process, which commenced a few months ago, began with their re-entry of the OPL 915, otherwise referred to as Anambra River 1, which had first been drilled about 45 years ago in 1967 by the Safrap (which later became Elf and later again Total Plc).
The export details and processes were already being worked out with the appropriate federal agencies too.
He disclosed that already, the detailed engineering aspects of the refinery had been completed.
The managing director also confirmed that the installation of the modules was planned in phases. The phase one, with a 20,000bpd capacity, would be ready next year (2013) during which it is expected that the whole project whose journey began in 2002, would have taken more than $100 million.
The phase-two, with 35,000 bpd capacity, is expected to be ready the following year in 2014. It is, therefore, expected that when fully completed to installed output capacity of 55,000bpd in 2014, it would have taken about $200 million.
This is against the proposed six new refineries by the Federal Government that would cost Nigerian taxpayers $750 million each, with proposed installed capacity of 30,000bpd output.
According to Nwawka, the modular plan gives them confidence that with anticipated enhanced cash flow from the initial module, they would then reinvest in the extension of the increased refining capacity. It would also support other ancillary needs like the roads, tanks, workshops, electricity generation and others.
Orient Petroleum Resources, operators of the Orient Refinery and other subsidiaries, is a wholly privately-owned shareholding venture promoted in 2001. It has numerous shareholders’ base from all parts of the country, together with some councils and state governments as minority investors, including Rivers, Anambra and the 21 councils of Anambra State.
The licence to construct a refinery was granted by the Federal Government in 2002 and with due operational diligence, it secured the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate in 2005. Thus, it became the first to be so certified in the country’s oil sector.
The OPR example may be the shining example the nation needs to break away from the refining and supply hiccups of the sector, which have over the years, been used to distort the budgetary plans of the various levels of government.
Source: The Guardian, 29th August 2012.
Anambra-North claims turn to produce next gov
FROM CHUKS COLLINS, AWKA
WITH almost two years to the end of the second term of Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, politicians from Anambra-North Senatorial Zone are lining up for the office.
The politicians, who claimed that it is the turn of the zone to produce the next governor of the state, are holding alignment meetings across the state.
Although most of the possible contestants for the office from different political parties are yet to openly declare their intention, they are in accord that the zone would unite to get the governorship ticket from any of the friendly and formidable political parties.
Anambra-North Constituency comprises Ayamelum, Anambra-East, Anambra-West, Oyi, Ogbaru, Onitsha-North and Onitsha-South councils. The South and Central zones have already produced the governors of the state.
Senator Emma Anosike confirmed that the zone was working on the project, but others preferred to speak on the matter at “the right time.”
Anosike, who is from the Anambra-North, told The Guardian that the area is favoured to produce the next governor and affirmed that they are ready to take up the challenge.
In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Anosike admitted that the zone, normally referred to as the food-basket of the state, is ready to give the state a capable and effective governor in the next dispensation.
But he remarked that “the next governor must consolidate on the achievements of Obi, reduce the cost of governance through by neutralising the undue protocol in governance and make the aides more effective and useful.
“Also, the governor must make better use of the traditional rulers, as well as other established local institutions and organisations.
“Revolving loan policy should be established to advance funds to all healthy and employable hands, especially women and youth cooperatives, while skill acquisition centres must be set up and taken beyond mere political rhetoric”.
On the crisis rocking both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state, Anosike said it was unfortunate and cautioned that “it cost the PDP the governorship in 2010 and it could cost APGA everything, including its slim existence in the state. So, they need to tackle it decisively at once.”
Source: The Guardian, 22nd August 2012.
The Unlimited Performance Of Governor
Obi In Anambra State
By Odimegwu Onwumere
Encouraging positive projects and having the prowess to think outside the box are the qualities of any leader. These, well performed, make people from all walks of life to cheer and admire such a leader.
One leader who has enjoyed the cheers and admiration of his people to an immeasurable height, because of his generosity of spirit in leadership, is Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State. Anambra people have shown that they are happy with him, because his administration has embarked on honourable projects in the areas of health, education, sports, economy, peace, infrastructural renaissance, just name them, distinguishing him in various fields of endeavour.
From the church to the mosque and the traditional, Obi has been described as the best Governor Anambra has had, because of the steadfast in his cordiality to develop and rejuvenate the rural areas and provide them with basic necessities of life. Beaming searchlights on Anambra, Obi has contributed to good governance in Nigeria. Objectivity is his key. This is not a mere claim.
Many projects last year in the state that were at various stages of completion have been completed, and more started. This is not an erroneous assessment of Anambra State under Obi. The statement is an informed conclusion about governance in Anambra State in the last four years. Obi has been working interminably to achieve the hyped Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It cannot be said that Anambra State under Obi is one hundred percent perfect, because no organisation in the world has ever been such in term of leadership.
Christened Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, Obi is using this platform on ground to achieve the much advertised MDGs. He has tackled the menace of poverty by reducing its once dreaded Olympia Height in the state, which the European Union, through its Support to Reforming Institutions Programme (SRIP), has been in the forefront in partnership with the Obi-led government. The meager resources of Anambra State made it unavoidable to be in partnership with global, national and local partners. These are strategic partnerships, for international development partners/donor agencies. UNICEF, UNDP, DFID, EU, the World Bank, amongst others are the giant partners with the Obi-led Anambra State Government. Against this backdrop, the government regularly pays what is known as Government Counterpart Cash Contribution (GCCC). This is for development of the partnership activities, including accountability and transparency. The funds from development partners are managed well, by using the money strictly for the purpose it was provided for, and judicious sundry.
This could not have been achieved if the state is known for inaccessible roads, especially in the rural areas. As part of the government’s mappings, Obi recognised the need for building roads and bridges as the strongest weapons against poverty in the state, for the improvement of the individual and collective economy. Just to name but a few the exceptional networks of road Obi-led administration has carried – the 45-kilometre Anaku-Omasi-Ifite Ogwari-Igbakwu Road in Ayamelum LGA , the 43-Kilometre Amansea-Ebenebe-Awba Ofemili Road in Awka North, with a bridge (5Billion Naira), the 67-kilometre Onitsha-Atani-Ossomalla-Ogwuikpele Road in Ogbaru LGA, with three bridges (N17.8 Billion), the Umueze Anam-Mmiata Road in Anambra West LGA, with a bridge, the Nibo-Umuawulu-Awgbu-Amaokpala-Umunze Road, with the famous Odor bridge – are among the few examples of the infrastructural enhancement Obi-led government of Anambra State has showcased.
As a governor who loves his people, Obi envisioned ideas from different countries of the world, by not only visiting the urban cities, but also the remote villages. He has shown that he has the wand of power to develop Anambra State. Many armchair critics had shown interest in the state, but Obi was dogged to ignore them, because he’s not an armchair governor. Today, he has moved Anambra State from a presumably poor state to Utopia beyond statistics creating an elevated number of millionaires per four-sided figure kilometre by rationalising development in all the nooks and crannies of the state. Manufacturers and international businessmen now dot the state, not minding the miscreants called kidnappers who have tried to give the government a bad name, but they are very far from succeeding, because Obi is not sleeping with his two eyes closed, in the fight against crime in Anambra State.
Obi-led government has not only created wealth for Anambra State, it has also provided qualitative education for the residents, with revamped and stocked over 150 science school laboratories. It has also provided water, electricity, laptops, computers and constructed primary school classrooms in all the 177 communities of the State. The handover of the schools in the state to the church in which the State Government continues to provide financial support to the Church for the running of the schools and pay the salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff is another feat of the Obi-led administration.
During the returning ceremony of these schools to what the government called “its rightful owner” spurred both men and women in the state to almost near tears in ecstasy. However, the priority of the government is not centred on providing for the primary and secondary schools alone, it has also intervened to the tertiary level with significant makeover in infrastructure, accreditation of programmes and wide-ranging welfare. Inter alia, today, the Obi-led government of Anambra State has built a modern E-library – the Prof. Kenneth Dike Central Library at Awka – whereas the last Library built in Anambra State was in 1966.
Kudos to Governor Peter Obi for holding transparency in governance in the spirit of democracy. This has shown that Anambra State has no long way to go in the future. Obi-led government should be commended for empowering women than ever in multi-faceted ways, but most especially, through the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and using the State Poverty Eradication Programme, Women in ANIDS Micro Finance Scheme and in collaboration with National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and development partners like UNICEF, with gyrating loans worth over N330 million made available to hundreds of women supportive groups and women wings of Town Unions to start poultry farms, fish ponds, piggeries, and many other business. He should be commended for putting into practice programmes that are targeted to cut the sufferings of susceptible women such as widows, financially-poor women, and female care-givers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) etcetera.
Let all celebrate this man who has also done well in agriculture, environment, security, exploration of human and natural resources. Evidence is the distribution of micro-enterprises equipment worth hundreds of millions of naira to individual women and women groups. These equipment include garri processing machines, computers, hair dryers, sewing machines, welding machines, vulcanizing machines, ovens, shoe-making machines, cookers, grinding machines, polythene-sealing equipment, motorcycles, palm oil processing machines, palm kernel cracking machines, soap making machines and electricity generating sets. He should be celebrated for supporting the establishment of community cottage industries by women in 50 communities with the purchase of complete rice delivery service and processing machines.
How many times shall a man kill a lion before he is named lion-killer? Just ones. While anybody is entitled to his or her opinion on the affairs of Anambra State under the leadership of Governor Peter Obi, such opinions should be constructive than destructive. Critics should trim fictitious accusations of the government. Desperate jobless politicians in the state who are bent to maligning the government of Anambra State should look elsewhere. Well-meaning Anambra people cannot be easily carried away by lies of these jobless politicians against the administration of Obi. Anambra is the state any business and peace-loving person or group should be up to, as actually a great environment for business. Governor Peter Obi has encouraged positive projects and has shown that anybody can be a leader, only if the person has the prowess to think outside the box.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, contributed this piece from Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Obi Seals Two Buildings linked to kidnappers
Governor Peter Obi has sealed off two more buildings suspected to be linked to the kidnap racket. The buildings are a one storey structure under construction at Uruoji, Agukwu-Nri and a bungalow at Obeagu village, Agukwu-Nri.
When the Governor and his entourage entered the compound of the building at Uruoji, they meet a middle-aged man who identified himself as Mr. Banabas Masamu from Adamawa who claimed to be a security man in-charge of the compound since January this year. Mr. Masamu confirmed that before he assumed work, he heard that some kidnap suspects were arrested by security agents.
Speaking in a similar vein, one of the uncles of the owner of the building, Chief Christian Obidike said the kidnap suspects were arrested last year by joint police and military team and identified one of the suspects as a trader occupying a shop beside the building.
At the building at Obeagu village, one of the cousins of the owner of the house and a native doctor, Mr. Sunday Okoye said one of the nephews of the owner of the house, one Mr. Okwudili Okoye was on the run from security agents because of suspected involvement in kidnap racket.
Governor Obi said security report confirmed that the buildings were linked to heinous crime of kidnapping. He announced that the two buildings would henceforth sealed off in line with the policy of the state on kidnapping purpose twice or more will be sealed off and confiscated by the State Government.
The Governor said the Government will now determine the owners of the building, their sources of livelihood and degree of involvement in the crime and made clear that at the end of investigation, government will either demolish the buildings or put them to government use.
Governor enjoined property owners to take full ownership of their buildings and remain security conscious to ensure that their facilities are not compromised.
UNIZIK: The Making Of A World Class University
FROM CHUKS COLLINS, AWKA
When Boniface Egboka, a Professor of Environmental Hydrogeology took over the reins of authority about three years ago as the fourth Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, (NAU), Awka popularly called UNIZIK, he resolved to turn the institution into a world-class university for teaching, learning, research and development in a very conducive atmosphere.
PROFESSOR Boniface Egboka, Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State was almost in tears in his maiden speech at the university’s auditorium when he observed that after traversing dozens of the world’s best universities, research centres and institutes, he finds it very difficult to reconcile why Nigerian universities could not be among the world’s top 500 universities and centres of learning.
He pledged that with measured pace, focused and diligent application of scarce resources, he would lead UNIZIK to the next level as a world-class university and centre of teaching, learning, research and development that would be the envy of all.
However, he acknowledged paucity of funds as the greatest challenge facing a country trying hard to break away from the shackles of its multi-sectoral under-development since independence.
He therefore mounted an intensive drive for multi-pronged approach in sourcing help, assistance and development of infrastructures for the young but leading university. Local and international corporate/government bodies and agencies, institutions, organizations and individuals were invited in the onerous task as a deliberate policy.
So, standing on the platform set by his predecessors, Prof Egboka, with an unrivalled drive and determination, chose to fortify the lit candle that was handed over to him into a blazing golden torch that is progressively raging today. It has even made everyone almost forget that the federal government has not yet fulfilled the release of take-off grant of N500 million promised the institution as done to her peers and those after them, since inception in 1992.
Little wonder UNIZIK has now become the toast and preferred university of first choice to students, parents, guardians and lovers of quality education both in the local and international arena. It’s such that a lot of parents and guardians insist on UNIZIK. They include local and foreign diplomats, legislators, judges and corporate executives. The reason is simple: there is no threat of disruption to academic calendar and programmes here. Under the incumbent leadership, through a harmonious and cordial staff/management relationship and prudent management of human/material resources, the university has maintained a strict and disciplined academic/administrative schedule and time table.
The university maintains a zero tolerance to cultism and similar anti-social activities, while staff/student truancy and or indiscipline is viewed seriously, hence avoided like a plague by all. What with the introduction of programmes and events that bring every member of the university’s community under convivial atmosphere to relax, unwind and be merry. These include the now popular yearly Staff Sports Day where academic and non-academic staff from all faculties and departments cheerfully gather to entertain one another, as well as visitors and guests in various sporting activities, competitively in true spirit of sportsmanship.
At a symposium held as part of activities to celebrate his third anniversary as the Vice Chancellor, Prof Egboka disclosed that more than 10 new foreign universities and institutes including Lincoln University, Philadelphia, United States which is the alma mater of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the late Owelle of Onitsha after whom the Awka-based university was named, have now established beneficial linkage and collaborative student/staff exchange relationship with UNIZIK.
Others include University of Regina, Canada in the areas of Natural Sciences(Physical/Biosciences), Engineering and Management Sciences; University of Waterloo; University of Boras, Sweden; University of Manitoba, Canada; Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland and The Academies of Humanities and Economics, Lodz, Poland for Staff/Faculty and Research Exchanges. The University of Michigan, Flint, United States; University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany and the Xiamen University, China which has since set up Confucius Institute at the university in Awka and also at the UNIZIK’s demonstration secondary school where Chinese language is now taught, make up the rest. Besides, a 25 staff and students of Xiamen University, China were in Awka recently to perform and consolidate further the social and academic relations between the two universities.
In addition, the Alliance Francaise, an international non-profit organization which encourages the study of French language, literature, culture and fosters friendly relations among countries has got the nod to establish and make UNIZIK the annex of the Centre for French Teaching and Documentation. The Director of the Centre, Mr Dominique Fancelli who led its management team on a visit to the university management in Awka few months ago disclosed this cheering news.
Already, there are international students from more than 25 countries outside Nigeria currently studying in various departments and faculties at UNIZIK, while enquiries from more countries and prospective students continue to pour in. This has made the management consider setting up a desk purely for that purpose.
During a media chat with journalists in his office, Egboka described the history of the university as that of a humble beginning. He said at inception, the staff, students and citizens of the state rallied round the young but promising institution with whatever help and assistance they could muster. Also the state government, Awka community, citizens and corporate organizations sacrificed their time, money, lands and other salient resources to see to the take-off of the educational giant.
Prof Egboka thanked specially all who have given their time, money, contacts and advice to see to the emergence of the once mustard seed that has gradually become a mighty oak. They include Chief Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital Oil Group; Prince Arthur Eze, Central Bank of Nigeria; Chief Chidi Anyegbu of Chisco Motors who built and equipped the Institute of Transport; Sir Godwin U. Okeke who built the English Department; Dr Ifeanyi Okoye of Juhel Group; Sir Chika Okafor of Chicason Group; Sir Emeka Offor, Senator Andy Uba, who built equipped the Mass Communication building and studio; Senator Ben Obi, Sir Raymond Obieri; Elmada Consortium of Canada, Senator Joy Emodi, Dr Stella Okoli and Chief Oranika amongst others. He thanked the Awka community for donating their land and the Federal Government for the continued sustenance.
Prof Egboka presided over the full accreditation of no fewer than 64 academic programmes and interim accreditation of four others by the National Universities Commission (NUC). During the same period, more than eight professional bodies, among them the Pharmaceutical and Dental Council of Nigeria, granted successful accreditation to the programmes in the university. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been successfully negotiated with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology that has now established a Seismic Monitoring Centre at UNIZIK to monitor World Earth Movements and Earthquakes.
Full take-off of the Faculty of Agriculture at the food basket of the state, in Ifite Ogwari, Ayamelu council of Anambra State was also recorded after a successful verification exercise. The Vice Chancellor disclosed that it was his dream and expectation that the Faculty of Agriculture would in no distant future become a University of Agriculture.
In the NUC’s 2011 Institutional Accreditation result, UNIZIK scored ‘A’. The result will be valid for the next five years and has again highly enhanced the status and quality of the institution among the comity of Nigerian universities and beyond.
The institutional accreditation assessment actually took place from November 27 to December 3, 2011, and covered such areas as the institutional vision, mission and strategic goals, institutional governance and administration. Others include institutional resources and quality of learning, learning and research, institutional efficiency and effectiveness, extension services and consultancies, transparency, financial management, stability and general ethos.
Taking journalists and some of the guests who attended the recent third anniversary symposium on a tour of some of the completed and on-going projects, the Vice Chancellor, while appealing to the public for more assistance for the provision of state-of-the-art structures and facilities in the institution, said it was necessary that everyone sees how and where the funds and other material/financial donations received so far were being utilized.
Some of the projects include the PTDF Building for the Dept of Mechanical Engineering; Foundry Workshop Phase 2; Natural Science classroom Block type C; Administrative Complex for Works and Services; Faculty Building for Engineering Technology, Wing “A”; CBN sponsored College of Health Sciences hostel; Educational Trust Fund Press Centre; College of Health Sciences Laboratory, type “B” and the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies which was built and handed over to the university by Mrs Stella Okoli of Emzor Pharmaceuticals.
Others include the university’s mini-stadium Phase 1; large consignment of library and departmental books together with other teaching/learning aids by Sir Emeka Offor; Faculty of Education Building; ELMADA Hostel buildings, Blocks “A” and “B”-a Public, Private Partnership project; construction of pedestrian walkways from Economics Department to the Demonstration Primary school; construction and reconstruction of major and minor access roads all over the university community, including the Senator Joy Emordi Road, Sir Emeka Offor Road and the access roads leading into and around ELMADA Hostels as well as other students’ hostels within the university.
These were almost simultaneously followed by the construction of pedestrian walkways along all the roads within the university too. Special ramps have now been constructed in all facilities including the hostels in the university to enable physically challenged persons using wheel chairs have easy access to the buildings.
For being particularly in love with nature and in pursuance of his promise to ‘green’ the university environment, the Vice Chancellor has within the past three years followed up his massive landscaping, roads and infrastructural development drive with planting of trees and beautiful flowers alongside all roads and lawns. This now gives the whole university environment a green outlook, cooler and cleaner air for man and other living organisms around, as obtains in other universities in parts of the world.
Laid down procedures for disciplining of staff and students have been strictly adhere to, while the issue of temporary and long acting capacity appointments that were hitherto seen in the principal officers’ cadre have been eliminated.
All outstanding naughty cases, even those in courts, have been resolved and better forms of resolution explored. Needy staff are encouraged with funding approvals from the Educational Trust Fund (ETF) for research, post graduate studies and attendance to conferences.
To ensure that every staff and student is computer/internet compliant , a free three months computer appreciation course has become mandatory for all, in collaboration with Afrihub Computers. A newly developed fast and robust portal, website and e-mail that now put the university on communication superhighway have been deployed and is being enjoyed by all, including the university’s Senate. All students have been mandated to undertake free computer training to enable them participate actively in today’s computer age in the workplace and elsewhere whenever they graduate.
Opinion boxes have been placed at strategic places within the community for suggestions, observations and complaints by staff, students and even visitors in strict confidentiality. The direct phone lines of the Vice chancellor and those of other key officers have been made available for use in moments of need, complaints or emergencies. A unique monitoring and performance assessment mechanism where students appraise their lecturers has also been introduced to tackle staff truancy, high handedness and unacceptable conducts. Marking and records of all academic results have been standardized. All results and records as a rule must be ready and posted on the university’s website for easy access by students and their parents/sponsors within a few weeks.
Sports development and participation have been enhanced for the improvement of the body and mind of the students, while all other social activities such as student unionism usually associated with a students’ environment have been developed. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has just been encouraged to return to the university after more than 10 years of absence. This is to enhance robust staff/student/management relationship and further industrial harmony.
On security, because of the air of love and peace that has been in place, the university has been enjoying a very peaceful environment, law, order and security control which enabled sustenance of regular smooth academic calendar in the university for about 10 years now.
The latest records and statistics from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s (JAMB) Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) show that more than 82, 000 students preferred UNIZIK to any other tertiary institution in the country; second only to Moshood Abiola University, formerly University of Lagos that was chosen by about 83, 000 students in the current academic year.
Despite the cheering and heartwarming news, NUC allows UNIZIK to admit only 4,373, which is just a fraction of that staggering number, as against UNILAG’s 9,548. This is due to obvious reasons of facilities, space limitations and to maintain the already established high standard for which the university has been very well known worldwide.
In the light of this therefore, the university, despite paucity of funds, has continued with vigorous expansion of its academic facilities, programmes and staffing on steady dedicated steps.
Source: The Guardian, 4th August 2012.
Infrastructural upgrade in Anambra schools
By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi
Obi donates N6m, bus
One got N6m to build a new hostel block. Another got a 20-seater bus and 10 desktop computers.
But there is more for Anambra State schools, said Governor Peter Obi, who made the donations as he toured several institutions in the state.
Many schools have been rehabilitated in the state since the inception of his administration, but the governor said a more comprehensive upgrade will be carried out in schools in the state.
He added that every school, whether missionary- or state-owned, will be given a new lease of life.
Obi explained that pupils need all the comfort and support they can get.
“Children attending these schools are citizens and residents of Anambra State and should not be discriminated against,” he said.
The rehabilitation will start with Ado Girls Secondary School, Onitsha, the governor announced during inspection of facilities at the school.
He disclosed that his visit was in response to a text message he received from the Senior Prefect of the school, Miss Cynthia Anayo Anim informing him of the level of dilapidation in the school.
Obi requested detailed information on the school’s infrastructural needs to enable his administration make adequate provision for its upgrade.
While inspecting Onitsha High School, the governor attributed the dilapidation in schools to their takeover by the government immediately after the civil war, explaining that the determination to restore high standards in schools informed his administration’s return of schools to their original owners.
At Our Lady High School Nkpor, Obi donated a brand new 20-seater bus and 10 computers to the school. He said the gesture was in line with the government’s policy of supporting both public and private schools towards achieving quality education in the state.
He stressed the need for strong moral values and discipline in teaching and learning, urging the students to work hard to achieve their full potentials and live fulfilled lives.
At Holy Child Secondary School, Isuofia, he presented a cheque of N6m to the school to commence a new hostel block project. His wife Margaret and daughter Amaka accompanied him on the visit.
The governor said the gesture was in line with the policy of his administration of providing a comfortable learning environment and logistics that would facilitate qualitative and functional education. He explained that the government’s huge investment in education is geared towards providing children with the right tools to excel and prepare for their future responsibilities.
The Senior Prefect of the school, Master Emmanuel Okafor who recalled the governor’s previous financial aids to the school, which included the donation of a brand new bus and computers, thanked him for all the love, care and conceren for education in the state.
Governor Obi inaugurated a modern five-classroom block at Modebe Memorial Secondary School, Onitsha built and donated to the school by the member representing Onitsha South, Mrs. Beverly Nkemdiche Ikpeazu as part of her constituency project.
Governor Obi said his administration would continue to encourage individuals who contribute to rebuilding the state.
He recalled that constituency projects were initiated by his administration for the first time in the state to encourage lawmakers to perform tasks that impact directly on the lives of the people of their constituencies.
The governor urged residents of the commercial city to support the effort of the government to clean up Onitsha and environs.
The donor, Mrs. Nkemdiche Ikpeazu said she embarked on the school project to contribute to the infrastructural upgrade of the state in line with Obi’s vision.
Anambra, an oil producing state?
Written by Elombah.com
18 July 2012
President Goodluck Jonathan is coming to Anambra State on August 30th to commission operations at the new Anambra oil wells and to formally declare Anambra an oil producing state. In February 2012, an indigenous company, Orient Petroleum Resources Plc announced they will soon commence the production of crude oil at it's
oil well in Aguleri Otu of Anambra West Local Government Area. Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, announced during a visit to the oil company's facilities in Anambra State that the company’s service contractor had made significant progress in the acquisition of high resolution 3D seismic data over 640 square kilometers of Orient’s oil blocks OPL 915 & 916 to delineate the full extent of the hydrocarbon discoveries and prospects. The Chairman of Orient Oil announced the company “would start production in a couple of weeks”.
However, Oil industry experts informed Elombah.com that if the company claims they were acquiring 640 KMs of seismic data, Seismic data acquisition is the first step in a long line of steps to finding oil in commercial quantities. Therefore it would be far-fetched to expect Orient to start oil production “in a matter of weeks”.
It is amazing then that recent reports say ORIENT PETROLEUM, has struck oil from three wells in Anambra North, that in fact, it has already despatched oil through River Anambra and River Niger to Port Harcourt for export in three barge tankers, and that “the very light crude from these wells will continue to be exported till the Orient Refinery in Aguleri starts operation in a few months time.”
It is significant to note that previous federal administrations had disallowed the exploitation of the Anambra petroleum resources, declaring them to be on strategic reserve, while denying Anambra the status and benefits of an oil producing state. Goodluck Jonathan, they said, quietly reversed that obnoxious policy.
Governor Peter Obi’s admirers praise him for the of taking ‘Anambra to the threshold of history!’ According to Uche Ezechukwu: “With this landmark event, it is hoped that Governor Obi's amazing effort to realize the Orient Petroleum Dream will become better known and appreciated.”
On her part, Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna, Chief of Staff, Anambra State Govt Hon Commissioner for Planning Budget, said: “Indeed, Governor Obi is worked round the clock to ensure this.“
She added that commissioning the Orient Petroleum Facilities is further tangible evidence of the President's love support for his dear friend/our beloved Governor Mr Peter Obi his people. What other Presidents did not do for Anambra State, our own Goodluck has done!”
HOWEVER, Orient oil was started under the Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration, and so if the Orient Refinery project commenced during Mbadinuju's tenure would it be correct to say that it was Jonathan that approved the commercial exploitation of Anambra oil?
According to Hon.Chudi Offodile, Orient Petroleum is a private company. “Indeed, the shares of anambra state are just about 2.5% of the entire shareholding of orient. The remaining 97.5% belong to private investors and individuals.”
The company was set up in 2001, under Mbadinuju, who in 2000,had set up a committee that midwife the creation of the company as a private company with a very small percentage set aside for the state government.
It is the contribution to pay up for the shares of the state in orient that all the successive governors, Chris Ngige, Virgy Etiaba and Peter Obi had made.
Those whose efforts got us to where we are, include, but not limited to, Engr Emeka Nwawka, Engr Sonny Okoye and Engr Iyke Akuezumba,the founding executives of orient petroleum. The board of orient with Chief Emeka Anyaoku as chairman, Dr Alex Ekwueme, Arthur Mbanefo and others as members, Mr Offodile said..
Mr Offodile therefore called the current adulation accorded to Peter Obi “a wave of propaganda on the oil producing status of Anambra State and how it was achieved by Peter Obi”.
He added: “It is to the credit of the board and management, particularly, Anyaoku, that orient petroleum was granted OPL 915 and 916,two of the oil blocks in the Anambra Basin, in 2005 by the Obasanjo administration. The blocks were supposed to provide feedstock for the refinery. Anyaoku leveraged on his friendship with Obasanjo. The company went through a very difficult period trying to raise money from wealthy Anambra indigenes but they shunned the company. They preferred Abuja and Lagos. I am proud of the fact that I made substantial investment in the orient project as one of the earliest shareholders of the company.”
“I have a responsibility, as a stakeholder in every sense of the word, to inform our people of the true state of affairs. No one person should try to steal our collective victory”, he concluded.
Be that as it may, Crude oil production, when it starts at the Anambra oil well, would mark the first time crude was produced in inland basin in Nigeria. The crude will be evacuated via a 10 -kilometre flow line to a spot at Anambra River basin from where evacuation of crude would be undertaken by barges to Brass in Bayelsa State.
According to Emeka Anyaoku, ‘Orient has finalised the detailed engineering and sourced the modules of its 55, 000 bpd refinery. It had also completed the geo-technical, geological and hydro-geological surveys and civil engineering works for installation of refinery equipment’.
It had also completed acquisition of 7 hectares of land from Kogi State for establishment of a depot for distribution of petroleum products from the refinery to the north and other parts of the country.
As to who should take the credit, Orient has been in the process of exploration since Olusegun Obasanjo's regime. Whether Orient found this oil then, or finds it after Goodluck Jonathan’s regime, should the glory go to the man that gave Orient the prospecting license to go ahead, or to the person that commissioned the project?
According to Uche Ezechukwu, “while Orient Company was started under the Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration and soon went comatose, it was revitalized by Governor Peter Obi who injected N4billion into it as the state government’s stake and has helped to do all the silent spade work that led to this happy state of affairs”.
But an indigene of Anambra state who wishes to remain anonymous reminded Elombah.com of Otumba Balogun of FCMB who gave Alex Ekwueme the glory for ensuring that he had his first banking license. In his view, it was a coincidence that they found the oil now. The honour should go to those that gave Orient its permission to exploit the Oil - Obasanjo. If Goodluck Jonathan wants glory, he should exploit our Coal.
Beyond the hoopla of discovering oil in Anambra state and who takes credit, several questions remain: Has Orient really struck oil in commercial quantity in Anambra state? What game is Emeka Nwakah and Peter Obi playing at Orient?
To be continued...
Anambra has ceased to be a pariah state – Gov. Obi
By: Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi has declared that Anambra, under his administration, has experienced tremendous transformation. Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Governor Obi submitted that his government ‘has attracted a lot of goodwill, which comes in various shades,’’ unlike in the past when the state was treated with disdain by even the Presidency.
He also took time to deny involvement in the festering crisis, threatening the existence of his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Excerpts:
You have been visiting Abuja in a more frequent manner these days than you did in the past, what is responsible for that ? I am in Abuja specifically for National Economic Council meeting and other committee meetings. But usually, whenever I am in Abuja for scheduled meetings, I try to take the opportunity to engage in a few other things that could add value to my trip. That probably explains my high presence in Abuja. Your visits are seen by some as being more political than any other consideration? Though I am here to attend the National Economic Council meeting, I have also attended other meetings. This morning I was at the World Bank to discuss issues beneficial to my State and I must tell you, the meeting was good.
Is your membership of different committees not more of a distraction? Not at all. They should be seen as opportunities to serve one’s country and humanity. As you may be aware, I belong to many federal and NEC Committees. In fact, I have just been appointed member of Committee on Mass Transit. I have this attitude of trying to attend all the meetings called by these committees as my contribution towards improving the state of things in our country. As a member of these Committees, I recognize the sanctity of our oneness as a country; I look at the position of the South -East in the national equation, and I seek the advancement of Anambra State.
Some feel that your being in Abuja too frequently is affecting your work at home; how would you react to that? It is ignorance and naivety at work. I am not in Abuja to frolic, I am always there for business and once I am through, I am back home.
Some of our people are unpredictable. When you follow route A, they will say “Ah!, why not route B.” Before now, Anambra State was a pariah State in Nigeria. A particular Governor of the state could not even see the President of the country. Today, we are changing all that; Anambra has ceased to be a pariah State. We strive so hard to restore peace and unity to the State.
This has attracted a lot of goodwill which comes in various shades. Through our efforts, our people now get involved in roles that enhance the state in one way or the other. At my age, and with my exposure, do you think travelling thrills me? I only travel when it would add value to what I do, and my major interest today is ensuring that the state is founded on sustainable grounds.
The last time the Inspector General of Police visited Anambra State, he made it clear that whenever I am in Abuja I visit him on security matters affecting the State. Organizations in Abuja that have the capacity to assist us will tell you the same story. Any trip I make outside the state is normally driven by the state’s interest.
You did say sometimes ago that you were working to ensure that Anambra achieves the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015. How much of that dream have you achieved? We strive to remain on track. Very soon I shall swear-in new set of Commissioners (they have already been sworn-in) to help us in the pursuit of our vision of attaining the MDGs by the year 2015. It is not an easy task but we are totally committed to it.
As I have tried to explain, all we have done is adopt the MDG goals as our vision and the Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy, (ANIDS) as a vehicle to reach that. ANIDS helps us to plan properly, budget properly and execute our plans while receiving adequate feedback from the people. Through ANIDS, we are working on all sectors simultaneously. There is no sector you will mention to me I will not tell you what we are doing. Talking about Budget, what is reaction to El-Rufai’s claims that Anambra’s budget contain misplaced priorities.
Quite unusual of me, I have taken time to educate him on the back page of This Day of January 15, 2012 on what we are doing with our budget. I do not intend to comment on that again. We are not asking you to comment, but for example, he said Anambra under budgeted on health.
Is it true? Let us look at it this way.Before I became Governor, Anambra State did not have any accredited hospital or health institution. Today, Onitsha General Hospital and Amaku Teaching Hospital are accredited.
Many health institutions such as School of Nursing and Midwifery, Nkpor; School of Health Technology, Obosi are now accredited. Many health institutions owned by the Churches that lost accreditation are now accredited because of our support.
We have renovated 15 of the General Hospitals in the State and have even built new ones such as Anyamelum General Hospital, Anaku and Umueri General Hospitals. We built new structures at Umunze Cottage Hospital. As I speak, we are building 10 hostels at the cost of 60 million Naira each in 10 chosen missionary hospitals.
A few weeks ago, the new Teaching Hospital and College of Medicine built from the scratch by our Government gained accreditation. In that hospital, we built over 20 new structures such as Consultants’ Clinics, General Out Patients’ Department building, House Officers’ Quarters, Laboratory, Pharmacology/Emergency building, Mortuary/Pathology building, College of Medicine building, Laundry building, Catering building; Male, Female, Children and Special Wards among many others.
In your own calculation, would a sector where we have done all these be said to suffer from under budgeting? The issue is that we have a lot of development partners who offer us assistance that are not captured in the budget.
How about Chudi Offodille’s claim that … [cuts in] Please do not go there. It is not my wish to dwell on the objections from evident mischief mongers.
Some of us know the level of mischief in Anambra State, but sometimes it is good to clear some issues for the sake of those that might be misled. Not everybody will have the opportunity of this type of meeting with you. Did he really raise any issue? He said you only completed projects started by others, that you should not, as a Governor, engage in immunization or visit schools and he questioned ownership structure of the brewery building in Anambra State.
What is your take? You have seen the reason I wanted to refrain from answering. You and I know that immunization is the aspect of medical health care taken most seriously in all parts of the world. Today, Bill Gates is committing billions of Dollars and time to that, and somebody said a Governor should not concern himself with immunization.
Let us even apply elementary logic, as a person, would you want to devote time on immunization against polio that will protect you from the disease or would you disregard it and strive to cure its actual infection? What the man is telling us is to disregard immunization and face the real disease. It is tragic and unfortunate.
As to a Governor visiting schools, I am currently drawing up a programme that will enable me visit all the schools in Anambra State before I leave. I do not blame him; in the past, people were concerned with visiting godfathers and all of that that the likes of Offodile now think it is the right thing to do. I liken it to Plato’s myth of the Cave when some people were put in a cave where they were lucky to see shadow pass by now and then, and being accustomed to the cave, they mistook the shadow for reality. When they eventually came out of the cave, they were confused by the true light. Anambra people of Offodile’s conviction were so accustomed to paying homage to godfathers that visiting small children in schools become trifles.
You pity such people, because that is what they require. Eh m…., what other issue? O yes, the SABMiller matter. I say it at every forum that my Government has invested over 12 billion Naira for Anambra State in different businesses and SABMiller, where we invested 2 billion Naira is one of them. You can see how crooked some people think, the 10% Anambra is holding in that corporation means nothing to him. The over 1000 direct and indirect jobs it will create is certainly not known to him. His headache is to know other people that invested in the company.
Today, Anambra has also invested over 4 billion Naira in Orient Petroleum and it is going on very well. The same people, rather than encourage the Government for doing this, will only say the project was not conceived by me.
Today, I complete projects abandoned in the past. There is one building in Onitsha, Ministry of Justice Building, it was started by the Army, abandoned and used as refuge dump, I recovered it, completed it and it is put into use now. I completed ASUBEB building, SEMA building, among others. But should this blind somebody from recognizing that I did the Secretariat, Teaching Hospital, Customary Court of Appeal, Five Classroom blocks in each town, including his own, among many other projects form the scratch? All I ask of Nigerians is to help those in authority to really serve the people. Criticize them when necessary and not blindly as some of us do.
Would you say Anambra has fared better under you than in previous administrations? You should be doing the comparison, not me. Nobody is a judge in his own case. But in comparing, bear in mind you are talking about a State that used to have 3 hotels, but now has over 30.
We are talking about a State where bank branches and businesses have tripled since I became governor. Indeed, Anambra is now experiencing peace from the jungle it used to be. Today, dead industries are being resuscitated and new ones coming up, one can go on and on. All is not well with your party, APGA. Some say it is the issue of who will succeed you that is brewing the trouble, how true is that?
I am in love with Thomas Santayana’s saying that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. How many people who imposed their candidates are happy with the turn of events? I am the last person to try to impose any candidate on the people of Anambra State. Having said this, the question of succession should not be the issue. My prayer everyday is for God to raise among the people of the State somebody who will be better than myself in the management of men and resources to take over from me.
The way Anambra is today, I am sure they will, on their own, resist any move to impose anybody on them.
What efforts are you making to contain the problem in APGA? APGA has no problem. I have maintained that any organization manned by man, has its own imperfections. What you see is the manifestation of those imperfections. What we try to do is to ask our members not to allow APGA go under because of it; and we are confident it will not. Other parties in Nigeria also have their own imperfections.
With less than two years to go, after this job, what next? I have a business I was doing before I became Governor, I will go back to it. One of the reasons people do all sort of things to remain in political offices is because of this faulty notion of taking politics as a job. Politics should actually be a vocation. Those who take it as a job are concerned less with transformation. When this phase is done, I would have done my part and so I will go back to my family and business.
Any message for Anambra people? As always, let them remain prayerful for the State and for Nigeria.
Source: Sun, 10th July 2012.
Anambra Approves N1.2bn For Rehabilitation Of 60 Schools
The Anambra Government has approved N1. 2 billion for the rehabilitation of 60 secondary schools in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information, Chief Joe Uzodike, announced this in Awka on Wednesday while briefing newsmen after the meeting of the state executive council.
Uzodike explained that each school would be given N20 million for the renovation of its dilapidated structures.
He said the principals of the benefiting schools had been told to submit their work plans to government within two weeks.
The commissioner also disclosed that all the secondary schools in the state would be given N500, 000 each to equip their libraries as part of measures to enhance learning.
Uzodike added that the State Government had concluded plans to re-introduce school sports from September as well as to construct a stadium in Awka to boost sports development.
``I will embark on tour of all the communities to see what they have done with all the money given to them by the State Government,” he said. (NAN)
Source: Leadership, 4th July 2012.
ANOTHER AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FOR GOV. OBI
Governor Peter Obi has been nominated for another Award of Excellence by the Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria.
A release signed by the Sole Administrator of the Institute, Prince G.O. Don-Aki also offered the Governor the Honourary Fellowship of the Institute.
It explained that the Award is in recognition and appreciation of the Governor’s steadfastness in the promotion of transport development.
The release noted that Governor Obi introduced a new strategic plan that transformed and repositioned the transport sector in the State which it said had contributed immensely in solving the myriad of problems confronting the national transport system. He commended the giant strides ANIDS Transport, founded by Gov. Obi was doing.
The Institute stated that God was using the Governor as a tool to enshrine a new order in governance which had distinguished him among his contemporary in the country.
It commended Governor Obi’s various initiatives that have brought a lease of life to the State and made it a reference point in Nigeria and beyond.
THISDAY SCORE CARD: WE’RE VINDICATED ON OBI, SAY COUNCIL CHAIRMEN
The assessment of Thisday newspaper of Governor Peter Obi as one of the nation’s top performing governors has been described as a vindication of the position of the people of Anambra State who see Obi as the best ever in the state.
Recently Thisday newspaper published an assessment of all the governors in the country which had Obi occupying the fourth place as one of the outstanding performers.
Transition chairman of Njikoka Local Government, Onyeibo Dazza Udeozor, noted that even though he believed Gov Obi was the best in Nigeria, the newspaper’s publication had however proved right the perception of the governor by some people as the Joshua of Anambra State. ‘For the first time in the history of the state we have a governor who sees the entire state as his own and has gone about developing all sectors simultaneously through his Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS). This has led to the state having the best road network in the whole Nigeria. Truly the governor deserves only the best,’ Udeozor who is the chairman of all chairmen stated.
His Awka South counterpart, Emmanuel Ekene Okoye, echoed Udeozor’s sentiments and commended the governor especially for the facelift he had given Awka city. According to him, Obi had done to Awka what no other governor had done and listed such achievements as the construction of Zik’s Avenue, Agu-Awka bye-pass, Ngozika Estate, Government House, GRA, Court Road, Prison’s junction dualisation, workers’ secretariat, Arthur Eze Road, Majua Road, library complex, among numerous others. ‘I’m aware the governor has replicated this in all the communities in the state and that is why many people now prefer to come to work in the capital city from their villages,’ Okoye said, noting that if previous Governors had done like Obi in Awka the capital city would today have blossomed.
The transition boss of Onitsha North, Iduu Okosi, said Onitsha people would forever be indebted to Obi for the massive infrastructural development he had been bringing to the town. According to Okosi, Obi is the first governor to position Onitsha towards assuming its rightful role as the commercial giant of Nigeria through the establishment of the stock exchange and business centre and rehabilitation and tarring of access roads, among others.
‘Our governor is the only one who took the bull by the horns to get Onitsha working,’ Okosi said.
The transition chairman of Orumba North, Emeka Aforka, said his people were proud to associate with the governor who he described as the man of the moment. ‘We are happy to associate with a visionary leader like the governor,’ he stated.
It will be recalled that avalanche of accolades have being coming Obi’s way as one of the best in Nigeria. Besides wining The Sun Man of the Year, Thisday Best Governor in Fiscal Discipline, Champion the Most Prudent Governor, he recently won the Zik Prize in Leadership and Hallmark Governor of the Year Award.
Under his Government international and donor agencies such as the UNDP, World Bank, the EU have all said that Anambra was the best in terms of commitment to leadership.
Awards, Ojukwu Burial: Chikelu Congratulates Governor Obi
Owelle G.P.O. Chikelu has congratulated Gov. Peter Obi on many honours being conferred on him recently, especially the Business Hallmark Governor of the Year, 2011 that was conferred on him on the 5th of May, 2012. He said the awards, going by their quality, were a reflection of the good governance he had been providing to the good people of Anambra State.
In another development, he also thanked the Governori for the role he played towards the success of the burial of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
Owelle Chikelu particularly commended the Governor for all the care, love and concern he extended to Ojukwu and described it as part of humane leadership Obi is known for as the Governor of Anambra State.
Part of the letter through which he conveyed these sentiments reads: “I write on behalf of my family to congratulate you, Sir, for the wonderful state funeral accorded to Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Ezeigbo Gburugburu. The ceremony was very impressive whilst the passion and turn-out were clearly unprecedented. Credit must go to Your Excellency for taking full responsibility for the late Igbo leader both before and after his death. It is remarkable that despite the heavy pressures of governance at state and national levels, Your Excellency personally visited the United Kingdom several times in furtherance of the welfare of this national icon of Igbo extraction. The Ojukwu family and indeed the entire Igbo race will remain externally grateful to you for the exemplary leadership role you played.”
Chikelu, an elder statesman, was a former Minister of Petroleum. He is the Chairman of Guaranty Trust Bank.
I WILL PERSONALLY SUPERVISE REMOVAL OF ILLEGAL STRUCTURES – OBI
Work is to commence immediately on the reconstruction of collapsed parts of UNIZIK temporary site axis of the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway. Governor Peter Obi announced this after inspecting the area. Governor Obi said it was unacceptable that a major access road in the heart of the capital city should be in such a deplorable condition and continue to pose daily difficulties to road users.
He recalled that his administration has written severally and made repeated representation to the federal government requesting authorization for the State government to reconstruct the Amensea to Amawbia sections of the road as it is in a position to fund and complete the project as early as possible.
The Governor regretted that drainages in the area are completely silted because the residents have continued to block them with refuse thereby forcing flood on the roads and orchestrating the devastation of erosion.
He made clear that he will personally supervise the opening of the drains and removal of all illegal structures obstructing the free flow of water.
BISHOP EXTOLS GOV OBI AT EKWEREMMADU’S COMMENDATION SERVICE
The Methodist Bishop of Agbani Diocese, Enugu State, Rt. Reverend Livinus Onuagha has extolled the dynamic leadership and exemplary conduct of Governor Peter Obi. Bishop Onuagha was speaking at a commendation service for Igwe Mathias Ekweremmadu of Mpu, the father of the Deputy Senate president, Chief Ike Ekweremmadu, at Saint Michael’s Methodist Cathedral, Agbani, Nkanu West Local Government Area.
The Bishop said the Governor had continued to make impact across the country with his people oriented programmes which had continued to uplift people’s lives, stressing that his simplicity and humility should be emulated by others. He noted that the Governor has become a role model for children and youths.
Bishop Onuagha urged Christians to strive towards bequeathing their children the enduring legacies of good name, honesty, hard work and fear of God, while urging governments at all levels to invest more on public schools to enable under privileged children access quality education.
The Senate President, Dr. David Mark in his speech underlined the need for individuals and groups to invest on human infrastructure development to grow quality human capital that will help to turn the county around.
Speaking later, Governor Obi said that Igwe Ekweremmadu lived a fulfilled life and noted that today his children were making remarkable contributions in various ways in rebuilding the society.
No crisis in APGA –Obi
Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, spoke to a select group of journalists during which he unraveled the challenges he has had to contend with in his efforts to develop the state. He equally expressed his position on succession, the simmering crisis in All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and some issues of national importance. IJEOMA ONUORAH, was there. Excerpts:
My performance in six years?
For me, I’ve actually been four years as the governor of the state, not six years. It’s a very simple thing. I came in here in 2006 and I was impeached after about seven months. That means that a year just went by. In 2007, I came back from impeachment only to be distracted again by a contrived election which threw up an illegitimate government. I had to cite the constitutional provision that says the governor’s tenure is four years. So 2006, 2007 were lost. I started in 2008.
We have just finished a meeting with the Governors’ Forum Committee on Peer Review. We are the first state in Nigeria to allow people to come and assess us. We’ve heard people say, how do you rate your government and I say to them, go and see what we are doing because its people that would rate us. For me as a person, I do what I believe is the right thing; I’m not all perfect. I’m not a saint. But I know that within the confines of my job, I think I’m doing what is right. How people assess, I don’t know, but I’ll continue just being myself and doing what I believe in.
What would you say is your major achievement so far? That is what I’m saying. I don’t have the greatest. I don’t have the rating. I’ll just continue to do what I’m elected to do, and I believe the people and posterity would judge my acts.
Do you have a succession plan? People have asked me and I said no. The succession plan is that the people of Anambra state should be bold enough to elect somebody who does not see politics as a job. Politics is a vocation. They should only allow those who have proven track records in their endeavours to serve. I say this because, painfully, most of those that parade themselves as leaders are more transactional than transformational.
Life after office Oh no. I’ll go back to what I used to do. That is why I said that politics is not a job, it is a vocation. So, you must be able to go back to where you are coming from. I look forward to it. Everybody knows where I’m going back to. I’m not just going back into business but I will be contributing in building a better Anambra state, a better South-East and a better Nigeria. I’m not just going to be on the streets searching for food or constituting a nuisance to those who would come after me.
Presidential ambition I don’t romance with President Jonathan. I believe he is sincere, and doing the right thing. And for me, as a Nigerian, I have to support somebody who is sincere and doing the right thing. Politics is about helping and contributing to building a better place. Opposition is not about you seeing everything as bad. It is for you to contribute meaningfully, constructively into building a better place. You should be ready to support what is good for the society. Jonathan as a President means well, and I can understand him because I know what I go through because I’m trying to bring a change.
If i do not work closely with him, is it with the President of Niger or Chad that I should work with? Stepping into Ojukwu’s shoes? Whose leadership did he step into? He did not step into anybody’s leadership. He did not take over from anybody. He did so well. He did the right things and people followed him. Even when he was there, many people didn’t even follow him, I can tell you.
APGA crisis There is no crisis in APGA. Whenever there is an issue, they call it crisis.
What is the crisis? Can you tell me the crisis? Rumours of defection to PDP No, I tell you, that is not crisis. Somebody said that I had the intention of leaving APGA and I said I won’t, is it crisis? That’s not crisis. Chekwas Okorie is not my Chairman. He used to be, but he is no longer the Chairman. He wasn’t talking about me. If you are referring to Chekwas Okorie, he is not the Chairman of APGA where I belong to. He used to be, and I’m not saying his comments are right or wrong but I’ve said mine. Victor Umeh’s outbursts I cannot dwell in outbursts or whatever you call it once it is not in the interest of the State. LG polls?
In 2009, six months to my re-election, we wanted to conduct the local government elections (You can go and check), but people took us to court. They said they were doing so because I wanted to consolidate, for me to win the second term. So they went to court and we could not conduct the election.
After I had won the election, the state electoral commission wanted to do it again but people went to court and claimed that the electoral register was faulty. And in 2011, INEC updated the voters’ register. As I speak to you, we are the only state in this country where members of the state electoral body are a Monsignor, a Cannon and a Pastor, drawn from the Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal Churches, because I wanted them to conduct free and fair election. I am committed to it. I wish if they are here to tell you they are still in court and have not conducted the local government election. It really has nothing to do with me.
Muslims and other non-christians All those people constitute less than five per cent and in any system where you have more than 75 per cent of a particular group, they become the dominant group, and it is not question of if you don’t believe in anything. Anambra state, you can say, is a Christian state because 97 per cent of the people that live here are Christians.
Security challenges and reprisal attacks The security situation in this country is worrisome and demands of us to know that we have no other country, except this one, and all of us have to work to ensure that this country does not degenerate into a civil war, or where the rest of the world would refer to us as insecure. I know that the Federal Government is taking some bold steps to solve the security problems.
FG security measures Nobody can. It’s a security issue. Americans don’t say what they do with security; they don’t say it, and they don’t. They just tell you we put everything into operation. I can follow you through the bombings of 9/11, they say they put something into incubation, they do this, and they do that. Even when they go to other persons’ country for operations as in Afghanistan, they do not tell you until it happens; so how can I tell you the one of Nigeria?
Business acumen Well, you see you can’t give what you don’t have. Nobody can manage wealth if you’ve not created wealth itself, if you’ve not worked hard. And wealth-creation is not just about making money because people see it as just making money. No, if you’ve not worked in a system and contributed to the success of the system, you would simply have nothing to give.
This is why i say that our leaders should see leadership as a vocation. We have to elect those with rich experiential pedigree. If you come from a background of service, you will, in spite of yourself, recreate your success in life in governance and this is what I struggle every day, against all odds to do in Anambra State.
Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS)…… (Cuts in) No, not in 2006 but in 2008. In 2006 ANIDS was not there, and I was still telling people that the state was a failed one and could not make progress because there was no plan. We had to bring in the Ministry of Planning and made it an engine of what we were doing. We were still doing this when I was impeached, and when I came back in 2007. This particular plan which you are talking about now commenced in January 2008. That was when I did my first budget.
The budget of 2006 was not my budget; it was a budget that my predecessor had approved. In 2007 it was the same thing because when I was impeached somebody prepared the budget again. The first budget I presented in this state was the budget of 2008 which was the first budget that was based on the vision of the state to achieve the MGD goals by the year 2015. It was when we adopted that as our vision, that we needed a vehicle, a strategy for delivery of this, hence the initiation and commencement of Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS).
What we are doing is very simple. If you look at all the MDG goals you will see that we are following them religiously, trying to achieve them within the prescribed time frame. ANIDS is just a vehicle or strategy or a process that allows us to plan within all the MDG goals, budget properly, execute our plans/ projects and wait for the feedback from the people. As a result of this, we have moved our budget from being supply-driven to being demand-driven. We now go to the people and ask them what they need, and we do what they want.
2nd Niger bridge Yes, I have to. I have personally seen the Minister of Works on that severally. It is going on very well. The reason why I’m saying it is going on well is because the Federal Government is committed to it. The Ministry of Works is committed to it. The Ministry of Finance is committed to it. According to the promises from the Ministries, in the next few months the evidence of the promises would manifest. So far, I believe it’s on track. If at any point a suspect foul play, I will shout. I cannot compromise the welfare of our people for any reason.
Industrialization plans It is already functioning. The Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing plant in Nnewi is functioning very well. It’s the place that I laid the foundation and people are already buying cars and buses from them. If you go out there, you will see vehicles we bought from them. We are interested in foreign and local investments. If you invest here, we will support you as a government. Ask people like Cutix and Innoson, we have built roads leading to their factories as our own way of encouraging them. Go to Onitsha Harbour Industrial area, we are doing a lot of roads and providing other necessary infrastructure for it to function. Innoson is functioning and we have orders for goods worth over One Billion Naira with them.
Criticisms Yes, because when you bring a change, like every other person or even journalists, trying to drastically change the place, when you bring change you will have enemies among all those who live off the old order and those who are not sure whether you will succeed. Because all these saying that things are bad, things are bad, its people that made them bad and when you have come to change it, like it is in the Bible: When Jesus asked the evil spirits to leave the man who was possessed, he asked how many they were and they said they were legion and he said ‘okay go’ and as they were going, they damaged, destroyed everything on their way and the town started crying…wao! This man has destroyed everything.
Source: Sun, 5th June 2012.
Obi’s wife empowers women
By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi
Empowerment equipment worth several millions of naira have been presented to women groups in three local government areas in Anambra State.
The equipment was from donor agencies in partnership with Anambra State government. The three local government areas were Ogbaru, Idemili North and Orumba South.
The event was the 2012 International Women’s Day celebration with the theme Connecting Girls, Inspiring Future held in Awka,the state capital.
They included garri and palm oil processing machine, cooking stoves, refrigerators, gas cookers, sewing machine, among others.
Handing over the equipment to the beneficiaries, Wife of the state governor, Mrs Magaret Peter-Obi charged mothers to give good family training to their children especially the girl-child for future development.
She argued that”If a mother falls short of these expectations, the child will mature into a novies and the blame will be on the mother.”
The governor’s wife attributed the success of the present administration to the total support from women. She urged the governor to carry women along in the effort to improve lives in the state even as she lauded the feats recorded by the women Affairs Commissioner, Dr Ego Uzoezie in the past five years she held sway in the ministry.
She noted that the level of education had improved, especially with empowerment given to different schools in addition to good road network, to make schools in remote areas accessible.
According to her, Obi’s administration has projected women to come into limelight, especially with the establishment of the Anambra State Association of Town Union (ASATU), women wing, and the appointment of women into the Executive Council.
She sought for peace in the state which she said was important to national and state development, adding that women should be part of peace by praying for families, the state and Nigeria.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr Ego Uzoezie, also urged women groups in the state to ensure better upbringing of the children for a better society.
Governors assess growth in Anambra
By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi
THE Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has hailed Anambra State Governor Peter Obi’s programmes, saying they have helped to raise the profile of the state and its people.
Director-General of the body, Mr. Asishana Okauru said Anambra residents should be proud of their governor.
Former governor of Cross River State Donald Duke said Obi has left memorable legacies in the state.
They spoke at the launch of the NGF’s States Peer Review Mechanism (SPRM) in the state.
At the event Governor Obi announced he would build an ultra-modern Governor’s Lodge and Government House in Awka, the state capital, before he leaves office in 2014.
Chairman of the NGF, and River State Governor Rotimi Amaechi said the SPRM subjects policies and programmes in each of the federation to expert analysis.
Amaechi was represented by the Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
“It is our hope that through participation in the peer review process, state governors will be able to learn from their peers about innovative and good practices that they could adapt and adopt in their respective states,” Uduaghan said.
The event was jointly sponsored by the Department for International Development, the NGF and Anambra State government.
Mr. Julius Court, of the DFID, said the programme was aimed at improving the lives of Nigerians by opening up opportunities for them.
Mr. John Litivack, of the World Bank, said the SPRM is meant to harness potentials through best practices and to strengthen the framework of governance.
The Chairman of the Millennium Development Goals implementation Committee in Anambra State, Prof. Chinyere Okunna, said the state was setting the pace in good governance and that Governor Obi is working hard to achieve the MDGs by 2015.
Obi said the peer review mechanism will help the state to improve on its programmes.
Various stakeholders including traditional rulers and town union leaders met for one week to examine the Anambra State Technical Review Mission on the peer review mechanism.
Country Leader of the DFID, Mr Mark Walker said Anambra is now an investors’destination.
He said the DFID came to Anambra because of the commitment and doggedness of its governor.
Duke who is a member of the National Steering Committee of the SPRM said Obi has left enduring legacies.
“It doesn’t make sense that after eight years of being a governor, the occupant of that office will not walk freely with his people,” he said. “Obi will walk freely with his heads high among his people because he has left legacies everywhere.”
The former governor said Obi has done well even though the state’s cash allocation is much less what some other under-achieving states have.
Okauru said Anambra people should be proud of Peter Obi because of his dedication, commitment to the growth of the state.
The state Commissioner for Economic Planning, and chairman of the state peer review mechanism steering committee, Prof Chinyere Okunna said Obi is striving to take the state to an enviable height.
Presenting the state self-assessment report to former Governor Donald Duke , Governor Obi said people who champion change are never loved by their people, insisting that education remains the best tool to fight poverty in the society, followed by roads and infrastructure.
Obi announced that a brewing firm which his administration attracted to the state has sent 36 Anambra youths to Kenya to learn brewing after which they wil return to teach others.
MAN THANK OBI FOR INNOSON VEHICLES
Anambra State Government has awarded the contract for the construction of roads in the Awada Industrial Cluster at the sum of over 1 Billion Naira. Governor Obi said this after a meeting with members of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States chapter at the Government House, Awka, yesterday.
Gov. Obi said that Government intervention was part of the outcome of regular interactions between Government and the manufacturers through which Government listened to their needs and strive to solve those within her powers.
The Governor who expressed satisfaction with the regular meeting with MAN to enable Government identify areas for immediate intervention to enhance their operations, disclosed that the Awka branch of the bank of industry would soon be opened to serve them.
The Chairman of the Association, Dr. Chike Obidigbo said Governor Obi had performed beyond expectations in fulfilling the promise to empower and encourage indigenous manufacturers. He noted that many of their members have benefited from government infrastructural development of industrial areas and expressed gratitude to the Governor for his high patronage of Innoson Vehicle Company at Nnewi and other products packaged in the State, noting that it is great morale booster to other investors.
The Association Chairman noted that the regular meetings initiated by Governor Obi to identify the problems of manufacturers have continued to record huge success towards achieving the set goals.
A member of the Association Chief Robert Ezenwa said they never had it so good and observed that Governor Obi is the only Governor that has given listen ears to manufacturers.
Q&A With Mr. Peter Obi…Governor of Anambra State
Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, a quintessential gentleman, in this interview conducted by Huhuonline.com Publisher, Emmanuel Asiwe and Editor, Albert Ograka, bares his mind on mind-boggling issues bothering on his challenges in developing the state vis-a-viz his performance amid criticism, succession plans and many other national issues.
Huhuonline.com: Your Excellency sir, you’ve done almost six years as Governor of Anambra state. How would you rate your performance?
Gov. Peter Obi: (Cuts In) For me, I’ve actually been four years as the governor of the state, not six years. It’s a very simple thing, in 2006 was when I came in here and I was impeached in about seven months. That means that year is gone. In 2007 I came back from impeachment only to again stay on to have deviating elements because somebody was alleged to be elected in an illegal election and I had to cite the constitutional provision that says the governor’s tenure is four years. So 2006, 2007 is not there. I started in 2008, even that is in court but I always say I’ve been here for four years.
As you can see, we have just finished a meeting with the Governors’ Forum Committee on Peer Review. We are the first state in Nigeria to allow people to come and assess us. We’ve heard people say, how do you rate your governance and I say to them, go and see what we are doing because its people that would rate us. For me as a person I do what is the right thing but I’m not all perfect. I’m not a saint. But I know that within the confines of my job, I think I’m doing what is right. How people assesses, I don’t know but I’ll continue doing the same thing, just being myself and doing what I believe in.
Huhuonline.com: What would you say is your major achievement thus far?
Gov. Peter Obi: That is what I’m saying. I don’t have the greatest, I don’t have the rates. I’ll just continue to do what I’m elected to do and I believe the people should judge that.
Huhuonline.com: Do you have a succession plan?
Gov. Peter Obi: People have asked me and I said no.The succession plan is that the people of Anambra state should be bold enough to elect somebody like me who does not see politics as a job. Politics is a vocation. They should only allow those who have proven track records in their endeavours to serve.
Huhuonline.com: There’s no doubt you possess a very intimidation CV, having been Chairman and Director of notable business investments at different times and now governor of a state known as Nigeria’s economic hub, how have you brought your experiences to bear in Anambra state?
Gov. Peter Obi: Well, you see you can’t give what you don’t have and it’s there that nobody can manage wealth if you’ve not created wealth itself, if you’ve not worked hard. And wealth creation is not just about making money because people see it as just making money. No, if you’ve not worked in a system and progress that system successfully, there is no way you can give.
Huhuonline.com: In 2006, you initiated a programme of action which you tagged Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS).
Gov. Peter Obi: (Cuts in) No not in 2006 but in 2008. In 2006 ANIDS was not there and I was still telling people that the state is failed and can’t progress because there is no plan. We had to bring in the Ministry of Planning and made it an engine of what we were doing. So we were still doing this when I was impeached and when I came back in 2007, I was trying to bring myself back first, so this particular plan which you are talking about now was initiated and commenced in January 2008. That was when I did my first budget. The budget of 2006 was not my budget; it was a budget that my predecessor had approved. In 2007 it was the same thing because when I was impeached and somebody prepared the budget again. The first budget I presented in this state was the budget of 2008 which was the first budget that was based on vision of the state to achieve the MGD goals by the year 2015.
It is when we adopted that as our vision, that we needed a vehicle a strategy for delivery of these, hence the initiation and commencement of Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS).
Huhuonline.com: What has your administration done with the ANIDS model?
Gov. Peter Obi: What it’s doing is very simple. If you look at all the MDG goals, this is just a vehicle or strategy or a process that allowed us to plan within all the MDG goals, budget, execute the projects to ensure that we achieve this and delivery. Recently, we moved our budget from being supply driven to being demand driven. We now go to the people and say what do you want? And we do what they want.
Huhuonline.com: You have been so passionate about the construction of a 2nd Niger Bridge. What is the position so far?
Gov. Peter Obi: It is going on very well. The reason why I’m saying it is going on well is this. The Federal Government is committed to it. The Ministry of Works is committed to it. The Ministry of Finance is committed to it. In the next few months which the Ministry promised me, so far, I believe it’s on track.
Huhuonline.com: You are desirous to further industrialize Anambra state, taking into cognisance your plans to encourage made-in-Nigeria cars as is the case with the proposed Nnewi plant.
Gov. Peter Obi: It is already functioning. The Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing plant in Nnewi is functioning very well. It’s the place that I laid the foundation and people are buying cars and buses from it. If you go out there, you will see vehicles we bought from it are still there. So it is no longer proposed. We are interested in foreign and local investments. If you invest here, we will support you as a government. It’s functioning and we have orders for goods worth over One Billion Naira with them.
Huhuonline.com: Despite your visible efforts, considering what we saw on ground, you seem to be getting too many criticisms. Why is it so?
Gov. Peter Obi: Yes, because when you bring a change, like every other person or even journalists, trying to drastically change the place, when you bring change you will have enemies among all those who live off the old order and those who are not sure whether you will succeed. Because all these saying that things are bad, things are bad, its people that made them bad and when you have come to change it, like it is in the Bible: When Jesus asked the evil spirits to leave the man who is possessed, he said how many are they and they said they are legion and he said okay you can go and as they were going, they damaged, destroyed everything that the town started crying…Wao! This man has destroyed everything.
You said that the people in the rural areas wish it can be the same everywhere because they saw a concerted effort to do something even with our little resources, yet there is criticism. Why? Because you are displacing those who used to live up in the confusion.
Huhuonline.com: Why have you not conducted the LGA elections?
Gov. Peter Obi: In 2009, six months to my election, we wanted to conduct the local government elections [You can go and check] but people took us to court. They said I’m doing so because I want to consolidate for me to win the second term. So they went to court and we could not conduct the election.
After I had won the election, the state electoral commission wanted to do it again but people went to the court and claimed that the electoral register was faulty. And in 2011 INEC updated the voters’ register. As I speak to you, we are the only state in this country where members of our electoral body were a Monsignor, Cannon and Pastor, drawn from the Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal Churches because I wanted them to conduct free and fair election. I am committed to it. I wish if they are here to tell you they are still in court and have not conducted the local govern election, which has really nothing to do with me.
Huhuonline.com: What about the other group? You just mentioned Christians and we know that there are Muslims and some unbelievers in the state too.
Gov. Peter Obi: all those people constitute less than five per cent and in any system where you have more than 75 per cent of a particular group, they become the dominant group and it is not question of if you don’t believe in anything, well so bad because they are not up to two per cent, neither is there any other group, well too. Anambra state, you can say, is a Christian state because 97 per cent of the people that live here are Christians.
Huhuonline.com: Sir, at a time when missions and states are borrowing funds to finance its budgets; your state is listed as the least indebted. So how have you been able to undertake these infrastructural budgets without going through financial institutions to fund them?
Gov. Peter Obi: We are going through a lot of sacrifice. We are cutting costs at corners. We are cutting costs everywhere and this cost cutting, you can say, I’m not being frugal about our spending. It’s what has brought us the hatred. Basically frugality has turned into hatred. We are receiving money from wherever we can and we are asking agencies to help us. We did not apply in our budgeting that there is gas. This gas is now making us to approach development partners, supporting agencies, even plead with people to help us and they are helping.
Huhuonline.com: What is your take on the present security challenges in the country? We went through Agazi, and saw the burial site of people who were killed in Mubi. How have you been able to contain reprisal as a result of Ibos killed in the North?
Gov. Peter Obi: That actually has happened in the past and for me; the security situation in this country is worrisome and deserves of us to know that we have no other country, except this one, and all of us have to work to ensure that this country does not degenerate into a civil war or into a country where we would be referred to as insecure place in the world. I know that the Federal Government is taking some bold steps to solve the security problems.
Huhuonline.com: Can you let us know some of these steps because ordinary Nigerians in the streets think the Government is doing nothing?
Gov. Peter Obi: Nobody can. It’s a security issue. Americans don’t say what they do with security. You live in America, they don’t say it, and they don’t. They just tell you we put everything into operation. I can follow you through the bombings of 9/11, they say they put something into incubation, they do this, and they do that, even when they went to other persons’ country to kill somebody. They did not tell us until it happens, so how can I tell you the one of Nigeria?
Huhuonline.com: During our tour we noticed that you have opened up the hinterlands. What informed your choice of extensive road access to the extremities of the state?
Gov. Peter Obi: Because if you look at vision. The first part of it is to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger. How do you do this? The first thing you do if you have to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger access, to open up the place. Today, for example, people who used to sell a basket of their food-stuff for N2, 000 and because we’ve opened up the place, now sell it for about N12, 000. That is critical.
Huhuonline.com: Talking about the schools. Your administration handed over 700 secondary schools to its original owners. What necessitated this move? And also, recently you increased the school fees of students of Anambra state University. What was the rationale behind the increment?
Gov. Peter Obi: Well, as far as I’m concerned, the fees are still very modest. We are still subsidizing the University. I do not believe that we should subsidize University education or even pay for it. We provided the primary education free up to the first nine years of school. That is the Basic Education. The rest of the education should actually attract fees, so people can concentrate and work the education so that also the system can be propelled properly. You live in America. Does the American Government provide for education? You can borrow loan and go to school and that is what people like me are trying to get the system to do. We would eventually concentrate on education and cults and other vices would go. Because things are free here people don’t concentrate on what they do.
On the issue of handing over of schools, yes, it was inevitable and I would continue to apologize to the churches for taking their schools. That was the veritable means with which we were able to build better human beings in the past. Today, because those schools were taken over, we’ve just produced massively, people who do not deserve to live in the same society. They are taking it back so that they can inculcate the discipline; inculcate the sense of responsibility and values that are required for nation building.
Huhuonline.com: Sir, what is the position of pension vis-a-viz pensioners in Anambra state?
Gov. Peter Obi: Well, I believe that we are doing the right thing in Anambra state. At least we have cleared their back-log of gratuity in the state and local governments.
Huhuonline.com: How do you view the clamour for a South East President in 2015? Is it feasible in the present day Nigeria?
Gov. Peter Obi: I’m not into it and what is more of my concern today is that South-East should be together.
Huhuonline.com: As Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, what is your take on the disqualification of Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa from seeking a second term? Don’t you think this sort of arm twisting is dangerous for Nigeria’s democracy?
Gov. Peter Obi: For me, the only people who can make comment on that are people from the PDP.
Huhuonline.com: In 48 months your tenure elapses as the governor of Anambra state. After now, what is next sir?
Gov. Peter Obi: Oh no. I’ll go back to what I used to do. That is why I said that politics is not a job, it is a vocation. So, you must be able to go back to where you are coming from. I look forward to it. Everybody knows where I’m going back to. I’m not just going back into business but I will be contributing in building a better Anambra state, a better South-East and a better Nigeria. I’m not just going to be on the streets searching for food or constituting a nuisance to those who would come after me.
Huhuonline.com: It is rumoured by the founding Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chewas Okorie, that you have Presidential ambition, probably due to your romance with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Gov. Peter Obi: I don’t romance with President Jonathan. I believe he is sincere and doing the right thing. And for me, as a Nigerian, I have to support somebody who is sincere and doing the right thing. Politics is about helping and contributing to building a better place. Opposition is not about you seeing everything that is bad. It is for you to contribute meaningfully, constructively into building a better place. You should be ready to support what is good for the society.
Jonathan as a President means well and I can understand him because I know how, here what I go through with people, because I’m trying to bring a change.
Huhuonline.com: Sir, with the demise of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwe, Ikemba Nnewi, the leader of APGA. Do you see yourself stepping into his leadership position?
Gov. Peter Obi: Whose leadership did he step into? He did not step into anybody’s leadership. He did not take over from anybody. He did so well. He did the right things and people followed him. Even when he was there, people didn’t even follow him, I can tell you.
Huhuonline.com: Sir, there seems to be crisis in your party, APGA. What could be responsible for that?
Gov. Peter Obi: There is no crisis in APGA. Whenever there is an issue, they call it crisis. What is the crisis? Can you tell me the crisis?
Huhuonline.com: Recently, you had to issue a press release in March, stating you had no intention of defecting to PDP after Chekwas Okorie announced that you had the intention.
Gov. Peter Obi: No, I tell you, that is not crisis. Somebody said that I had the intention of leaving APGA and I said I won’t. Is it crisis? That’s not crisis. Chekwas Okorie is not my Chairman. He used to be but he is no longer the Chairman. He wasn’t talking about me. If you are referring to Chekwas Okorie, he is not the Chairman of APGA where I belong to. He used to be and I’m not saying his comments are right or wrong but I’ve said mine.
Huhuonline.com: What plans do you have to make Onitsha an economic hub and Nnewi an industrial base for the state?
Gov. Peter Obi: I know you have gone to two of them and you have seen what we are doing to upgrade them. Since we came, that is why we can build a plant in Nnewi. We are upgrading and we are still talking. It is not going to be an overnight issue. The fact is that the system keeps on growing. That is the most important plan.
Huhuonline.com: Do you have any plan to impose anybody to take over after you leave office?
Gov. Peter Obi: No! Never! It’s unnecessary. It wastes everybody’s time because then you are not genuine. If you genuinely want the system to progress, what you should do is to clamour for somebody better than you to take over. But I wish Anambra state should have somebody who is genuinely committed and can serve them very well to come after me, because then, we would all join hands and celebrate it.
Huhuonline.com: It is alleged that you are building multi-billion naira shopping mall project located at Kado, Abuja. Is it true?
Gov. Peter Obi: A very good question you asked. Number one is no, I’m not building one. I used to be Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of Next International (Nigeria) Ltd. Next is a foremost ground management company in the country. If you go to Next’s office in Apapa, they own the office since 1991. Their warehouse is bigger than anyone else. It is about 30, 000 square metres. I came in here as a Bank Chairman. I was a Director in three banks by virtue of my investments. So, I didn’t come here an unknown person. Next built and owned before I came here. In the new shopping centre in the Trade Fair Centre in Lagos, Next owned a building there, containing over 120 shops. They have been put into official engagement or hiring for over 12 years.
So, it is surprising when people try to link it to me. Next is building a shopping mall in Abuja and what Next is building now is small compared to what they have been able to achieve. Actually if you go to Abuja, Next owns the big building immediately after the Federal Ministry of Transport. That is why they wanted to build a mall. The partners had advised that they can’t build a mall there and that the most important thing a mall needs is parking space. That is why they moved it from there. But of course, you know Amambra politics.
I was a bank chairman before I came here by virtue of investments. I was a Director of a bank before I came here. You can go and verify how many shares a man needs to be Director of a bank.
Huhuonline.com: When we moved round the rural communities, we saw how you linked up the various local government areas with roads and bridges. What is happening to some of the access roads in the state capital?
Gov. Peter Obi: There are lot of tarred access roads in the state capital, Awka. It only the Federal roads that are bad and they are the ones we have not touched but we have spoken to the Federal Government to permit us to do their roads. And when they give us the permission, we will go ahead and do them.
Huhuonline.com: How do you grapple with the problems of erosion which poses grave danger to the state?
Gov. Peter Obi: It is a big problem. Sadly, we are struggling with it. We need help and hope that you can use your medium to help us attract solutions.
ANAMBRA: MOVING FORWARD WITHOUT BLINKING
By Meniscus Onyedima
27th May 2012
That Anambra State is the most peaceful unit in the Nigerian Federation today is an undeniable fact. This is contrary to the scenario in the State before Governor Peter Obi came on board. Before them, Anambra was obviously a failed state due to the intractable crises it was enmeshed in because of the activities of desperate politicians. In those better forgotten days, motor park touts were more powerful than a former chief executive of the state.
However, those touts were effectively put on the run by Governor Obi who, despite his humility, does not compromise his resolve to restore peace and stability as well as law and order in the state. With the enthronement of a conducive atmosphere in the state, the present administration has consistently implemented its socioeconomic blue- print known as the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, ANIDS, with verve and tremendous success, to the pleasant surprise and admiration of Ndi Anambra.
This explained why the people voted massively for the Governor in the February 2010 gubernatorial election in the state, thus mandating him to commence his second tenure on March 17, 2010. Ever since then, the Obi administration, conscious of its social contract with the electorate, has already surpassed its achievements in its first tenure, one year and ten months ahead of the terminal date of its constitutionally permitted second tenure.
So far, the present state government has constructed more than six hundred kilometres of road network, in addition to bridges. At the moment, serious work is going on at the Ezu River bridge in Awka North Local Government area. The Obibia River Bridge is also being constructed. As the chairman of the South East Governors' Forum, Governor Obi has practically drawn the attention of the federal government to the monstrous erosion menace in Igboland. To this end, contracts have been awarded by the Federal Government for the control and stoppage of the Onitsha.
In the past two months, the Ministers of Finance, Works, Industries, Agriculture and Iron and Steel, have visited Anambra state to partner with the Obi administration on how to tackle the socio-economic challenges of the state. Before this positive development, many international development partners had been trooping into the state to do business with the present administration and the good people of Anambra state. This was not the case before Governor Obi took over the mantle of leadership of the state.
True to its characteristic responsiveness to the yearnings and aspirations of the people, the present state government recently made some landmark decisions. These have manifested in the return of more than seven hundred primary and secondary schools to the Christian missions. This measure is basically informed by the urgent need to improve the quality of education in the state. Coming on the heels of this praise-worthy measure was the provision of millions of naira to mission hospitals in the state. He equally provided them hospital equipment; all aimed at enhancing the quality of health care delivery in the state. At about the same time, the Obi administration, through the Anambra Rebirth initiative, gave out more than one hundred million naira to youths who have acquired relevant skills for self employment, to go into private businesses.
As if these were not enough, the present administration has sustained its yearly support to Town Unions and traditional institutions with funds for palliative work on rural feeder roads and security during the yuletide. Last year, it gave more than three hundred million naira to the one hundred and seventy seven communities in the state and remitted another three hundred and fifty million naira into the Security Trust Fund of the state. Apart from the fact that the state government has provided buses to virtually all secondary schools in the state and significantly enhanced their science laboratories and technical workshops, it has given them ICT computers and sunk boreholes in most of the schools. The government has renovated many schools, and work has commenced in earnest on many of the four thousand modern model primary school classroom blocks billed for all communities in the state.
The Obi administration has, in spite of the meager resources at its disposal, been able to accomplish so much because of the financial prudence and economic wizardry of the Governor. This is why he is so much trusted by international development partners and foreign investors who are today trooping into the state in their numbers. Little wonder Anambra state has been selected as one of the few states in Nigeria that are solvent. Indeed, only Anambra State has no debt burden, either internally or externally.
Undoubtedly, the present administration in the state led by Mr. Peter Obi (CON) appear ready to deliver unprecedented democracy dividends to the masses without blinking, until it exhausts its constitutionally allowed second tenure on the 17th of March, 2014.
Meniscus Onyedima is a post graduate student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka
Chief Umeh vs. Sylvester Nwobu-Alor: What is Gov. Peter Obi Saying?
By Nwaorgu Faustinus
I read with sadness the present wrangling between Chief Umeh victor and the uncle to the governor of Anambra State, Chief Sylvester Nwobu-Alor who have been in the news recently on accusation and counter accusation of incompetence, among other issues raised by the duo. My state of mind is informed by the axiom that says when to elephants fight the grass will definitely suffer and not that I am member or stakeholder in APGA, but because I believe in peaceful resolution of divergent issues for the progress and development of a polity. It is therefore important to let these chieftains of APGA know that disagreement on any particular issue is part and parcel of politicking, and if not handled maturely, could bring about the disintegration of the party with the consequence of having different factions of APGA being manned by lords of the ring. Again, the opposition political party will exploit such a situation to their own advantage. I am certain this not what those who have worked so hard to put the party where it is today want.
On the other hand, money allegedly not put to good use brings about name calling, and all forms of accusations and this is the situation the APGA Chair is facing. Recently in an interview with the Daily independent newspaper publish on May 4, 2012 Chief Sylvester Nwobu-Alor posited that the current National Chairman (Chief Victor Umeh) should vacate the seat. When asked by his interviewer, Okey Maduforo, ifrestructuring the party means that the party and the executive members are not doing well and that means that they have to go. Isn’t it? This was his reply “No! You are jumping the gun. What we are asking for is for Victor Umeh to vacate his seat. We are the stakeholders of the party and they are serving us. But we are saying that this officer is not doing well; please vacate the seat. We are insisting that he should vacate. If he does somebody will take over and then perform the functions of the National Chairman”.
The puzzle here is does Chief Sylvester has the unilateral or joint power to fire the National chairman base on his incompetence?
In another medium, www.pointblanknews.com, an online media site Chief Sylvester said that the N20 Million Mr Umeh receives as allowance has not impacted positively on the party which made the former to contend that the latter was incompetent to head the affairs of the party. Following this, Chief Sylvester charged the National Chair of APGA to “give account on how he manages the N20 million made available to him monthly for the running of the party, rather than going around, telling people that Governor Peter Obi did not empower the party and has been blaming the Governor for the party’s failings.”
While exonerating himself from incompetence, Chief Umeh in the same medium averred: “
“He said he wants me removed because I’m incompetent to be chairman of APGA.& #8232; I was incompetent and I got his nephew Peter Obi elected two times in Anambra State.
“My incompetence started when Obi got his second term in office and I advised them to conduct local government election here so that APGA members will be empowered, so that the party will become strong, they refused to conduct local government election. I opposed it that’s why they are fighting me and I refused to join issue with them in the press without restraint. For him to again, some days ago say he wants to remove me, he is a foolish old man, that is the way I describe him and if Obi does not know what he is doing, why is he still in his government at 88 years of age. This is the only state in Nigeria where somebody of that age is a member of State Executive Council. It cannot continue to happen. So it is for the Governor to send him back to Agulu to stay. He should stop using him to confuse people that APGA is in crisis, APGA is very solidly together in this state and in 2014, by the grace of God, APGA will win Anambra State again.”
“Let nobody stir the honest nest, I am the custodian of everything happening in this state and if they annoy me, I will open the can of worms. It is a challenge I’m giving them. If they don’t want to contribute to the growth of APGA, let them leave, this is my charge to anybody, no matter how highly placed. I read in the papers two or three days ago where President Jonathan was saying that nobody is greater than PDP including himself. It is only in APGA that somebody will get up and say he is the Alpha and Omega and yet that money is the state’s money, not his money.
Let them do what is right. Victor Umeh is not the problem of APGA, the problem of APGA in Anambra State is Peter Obi and Nwobu-Alor, write it,”Umeh alleged.
Needless to say that there may be some element of truths or half-truths in the accusations, allegations, claims or argument of the two APGA bigwigs. It is therefore important to look into such accusations.
There is nothing wrong to call for the conduct of local government election in the various local government areas in Anambra State as it obtains in any democratic setup and as being championed by the APGA Chairman. For me, any person or group who are against the conduct of election into the various council areas should be seen as an undemocratic element. For such persons, the saying that nature abhors vacuum have little or no meaning and would rather preserve the statue quo. Chief Umeh posited that it was because he supported and championed the conduct of election that some retrogressive forces were now calling for his removal in order to continue to have access to the council funds.
Conversely, I do not agree, support or subscribe to a situation whereby an individual, no matter his position, power and or respect he commands in a political party will singlehandedly handpick, and ultimately impose aspirants on the people of the state, (for alleged self-intensions) without taking into cognizance if such candidates are popular, credible and sellable to the electorate. It is not only anathema, undemocratic but also against the spirit of free, credible and fair election if the allegation Mr Obi’s uncle is anything to go by. “Today he is not in good terms with the governor because he, Umeh, wanted him to conduct the local government elections the Nigerian way, and get all those he had handpicked into positions for his selfish ends, even if it amounts to offending the law,” Nwobu-Alor stated. But if the intention of the APGA Chair is to honestly, fairly and credibly conduct election without any hidden motives into the LGA’s, there is absolutely nothing wrong in doing that and Mr Peter Obi should not dilly dally on this but should liaise with the Anambra electoral commission with the aim of fixing date for LGA election in order to offer all the political parties opportunity to present their candidates for election.
Chief Sylvester should honestly; clearly and tersely let the public know what constitutes the incompetence of the APGA chairman and adopt acceptable mechanism (if there is any) as enshrined in the party’s constitution to address such alleged incompetence without overheating the polity. If need be, the APGA Chairman should humbly give account of his stewardship on how he spent the monthly allowance for the running of the party so as to exonerate himself from blame and invariably prove himself innocent.
Whatever the disagreement, allegations and counter allegations which are at the edge of tearing the party apart, the question on the lips of many people in Anambra is: what is Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State is saying or doing about the current internal friction in the party with a view to calming it down. APGA should know that a house that is divided against itself is doomed to collapse and this may be the opportunity the opposition is waiting for. APGA should peacefully and amicably extricate itself from the current political quagmire it has immersed itself, if it intends to recapture Anambra State in 2014 election. APGA, this house must not fall.
Nwaorgu Faustinus writes via email@example.com. +2348035601312
AN ADDRESS OF WELCOME PRESENTED TO OUR AMIABLE GOVERNOR, MR PETER OBI, ON THE OCCASION OF HIS THIRD OFFICIAL VISIT TO OUR DEAR SCHOOL, HOLY CHILD SECONDARY SCHOOL ISUOFIA ON THIS DAY, THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2012.
Our dear Governor, it is with joy and happiness that I on behalf of the school Management, the Staff and the entire students of Holy Child Secondary School, Isuofia welcome you to our great school once more, our getting the news and seeing your gifts to us this morning notwithstanding. We want to say thank you in a grand style as you once more show us today that you are a man of your words.
About this time last year, we hosted you here. It was on that occasion that the school Manager presented our needs as at then to you. You gave us a cheque of N1million and promised to look into our problem and reach back to us in due time. As if you knew what we need most at this point in time, you have sent us a very beautiful school bus and some sets of computer. Although in the request we made then, a school bus was not part of it, you thought it wise to get us one, a good one at that. This has gone a long way to show that you have a special interest in our school and those things about Holy Child give you concern. This is your third time of visiting our school and this goes a longer way to consolidate what I said earlier that this school is of great importance to you. I know there are students who have not had the opportunity of seeing you in their schools but here you are on your third official visit to our school. We pray that whatever brings you here will bring you again the fourth time.
Our people say that "O nweghi ebe e gburu aja ngwere adighi", that is to say that every institution must have its problems, Holy Child Secondary School, Isuofia is not an exception. Right now, the school has a lot of projects at hand which need to be solved for us to move higher. These problems, of course, need money to solve them but unfortunately, the revenue of the school is not sufficient enough for these projects to be done. Therefore, we kindly solicit your assistance in terms of finance for these problems to be brought to their knees.
Finally, we shall continually glorify the Almighty God for sending us such a caring Governor as you, a source of succor for many, a great administrator, no wonder your title, "Okwute ndi Igbo niile". May God continue to bless you and saturate you with His wisdom as you continue to do all within your power to salvage the image of Anambra State through your great and formidable medium of ANIDS. We also ask Him to bless your beloved wife, the first Lady of the State, Mrs. Margaret Peter-Obi who through her numerous pet projects has touched the lives of many.
Our warmest regards to your beautiful family, the deputy Governor, Mr. Emeka Sibeudu and your ever-dedicated Staff. May God continue to bless you and may our Most Holy Mother, Mary always continue to shield you from the snares of the evil one through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Thank you and remain in God's favour.
He. Ezechukwu, Cheleolisa Vitalis,
On behalf of the Management,
Staff and Students of Holy Child Secondary School Isuofia.
Nnewi Killings – CAN Demands Judicial Panel of Inquiry
Written by Okelo Madukaife
29 April 2012
‘Life has suddenly become very cheap in Anambra State’. Last Friday about six persons lost heir lives in Nnewi following a gun battle between the task force of Anambra Task Force on Markets and Parks (Mpiawa Azu), ostensibly on a mission to collect revenue from Nnewi and the Youth of Nnewi. While we cannot assess all the
facts in the build-up to the matter, we are appalled that added to the plethora of needless deaths arising from the inability of the Anambra State government to secure the state, there could be further deaths caused by, premeditated attacks from agents of the State government in Nnewi to the tune of six lives, which could be more, as the media-which is usually conservative in reporting casualties.
We wonder why a state apparatus should shoot live ammunition to kill those it seeks to obtain revenue from and better their lives, instead of effecting arrests with a view to facilitating the due process.Before Nnewi, such massive resistance and violent clashes have taken place in Onitsha, Nkpor, Obosi and a few other market towns, with heavy casualties.
We are quick to observe scathing comparisons between the crude mode of operations of the Anambra State Task Fore on and the defunct ‘Bakassi Boys ‘under the Chinwoke Mbadinuju era which if it ever added value to our lives in Anambra ,has been overtaken by superior human develop drive and therefore should be consigned to the dustbin of history.
At some point, the Bakassi Boys, constituted more of a source of terror to the majority of citizens than the criminal elements they were meant to check. We see parallels in Mpiawa Azu.
That an organization of the state could fail to act within the law setting it up and move into a different era of extra-judicial killings of those that were supposedly to benefit from setting up those organizations is a serious matter that should not be glossed over by the Nigerian Police, and the Anambra State House of Assembly.
Once again we condemn the excessive violence e deployed by the Anambra State Task Force on Parks and Market, which only last year was responsible for the violence perpetrated by political parties outside the ruling APGA in the state including Senator Chris Ngige in Onitsha and Se. Annie Okonkwo in Awka.
We also recall with a very painful heart that the same task force was used by the APGA –led state government led by o e ‘Iko Nso’ to burn three campaign vehicles and inflict bodily harm on the person citizens of Anambra State on three occasions in Agulu.
We do not envisage an Anambra of any vision where people daily die like fowls under the seeming supervision of the government that should protect them. Life has suddenly become cheap in Anambra State, given the increasing reports of violence and deaths. We consider it a failure of governance by the APGA government in Awka.
Whatever revenue was sought to be recovered on Friday in Nnewi ended up not being collected, because what ought to be a civil operation in a clime that means well ,ended up being mission to annihilate which saw the movement of ‘troops’ from far away Onitsha to conquer territories in Nnewi.
If the Task Force was a well –organised and a well-intentioned body, there is no reason why its Nnewi branch cannot carry out the revenue drive and resort to the Policce in Nnewi when overpowered or overawed. Rather they sought to enlist the cover of their troops commanded by Sylvester Nwobualor and the Governor of Anambra State, as if civil liberties should continue to elude Ndi Anambra on end.
Besides the duty which this suspect body sought to do in Nnewi is nothing more than the duties of a properly constituted local government which unfortunately is not in place because the state government operatives led by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Dubem Obaze, urged on by Governor Peter Obi, insists on preventing local government elections, so that monies belonging to the third tier of government would continue to be siphoned by individuals.
We urge the Anambra State Government to set up a judicial panel of enquiry to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the unfortunate killings Nnewi and rise up to the responsibility of protecting life and property in Anambra State.
WE urge the State House of Assembly to undertake a comprehensive review of the enabling laws and mode of operations of the Anambra State Task Force on Parks and Markets, more popularly known in the state as Mpiawa Azu.
We commiserate with the families of those who died in the avoidable and unprovoked war in Nnewi and trust that those who lost their lives will not die in vain.
For: ACTION CONGRESS OF NIGERIA, ANAMBRA STATE CHAPTER
State Publicity Secretary
Who succeeds Peter Obi?
By Robert Obioha, firstname.lastname@example.org
All things being equal, gubernatorial election will hold in Anambra State early 2014 when Governor Peter Obi would have completed his second term in office. Though 2014 is still distant, the race to Government House Awka has commenced in earnest as politicians in the state are already strategizing for the epic battle.
The 2011 general polls offered a dress rehearsal for what to expect in Anambra 2014. Political pundits had berated the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for its not too impressive outing in last April polls in the National Assembly and the State House of Assembly where the party supposed to demonstrate that it is in control of Anambra politics.
They contend that APGA’s inability to win any of the three senatorial seats in the state is a pointer that the party is fast losing grip of politics in the state. While the senate seat for Anambra North is still being contested, Dr. Chris Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) won the Anambra Central senatorial seat. Former aide to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Domestic Matters, Dr. Andy Ubah, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has equally proved that he has Anambra South senatorial zone in his pocket by trouncing over and over again APGA’s Chuma Nzeribe in the election proper and a re-run.
As it appears now, it is not likely that APGA will win the Anambra North senatorial contest. Also, in the House of Representatives poll, APGA did not fare well. APGA under the chairmanship of Chief Victor Umeh did not seem to advance very seriously the cause of their candidates in that election and the outcome amply demonstrated such unseriousness it exhibited. For 11 reps seats for the state APGA got five, PDP five and ACN one.
Even in the state legislative poll, APGA managed to get a slight majority of 18 out of 30 seats while the PDP had 6, ACN 4 and one each to Accord and Labour parties. Therefore, APGA under Umeh has not fared as expected. Forget the party’s success in Imo gubernatorial poll last year. That success did not derive essentially from Umeh’s leadership, though he offered an impressive road-show of solidarity with the winning Rochas Okorocha’s camp during the poll and the supplementary one, when it was suspected that PDP was intent in changing its outcome.
Okorocha’s victory was not entirely an APGA affair. He won because Imo people were disenchanted with Chief Ikedi Ohakim’s four years of misrule. Imo people poured out en masse and voted for a regime change and kept vigil to defend their mandate until Okorocha was declared the winner. Okorocha won because people see him and his rescue mantra as the best alternative. Imo before Okorocha was a disaster and needed some rescue measure which Okorocha promised and the people fell for the bait. I hope that Okorocha will not bungle this rare opportunity to salvage Imo people offered on a golden platter.
Back to Anambra politics and the issue of Obi’s successor. Honestly, I do not know who Obi have in mind as his likely successor and the plans he had to make a success of the project, but I think that a calculating politician like Obi will not be found wanting in this regard. If I may guess, I think that Obi’s likely successor will, in the interest of equity and balance, hail from Anambra North, a senatorial zone that is yet to produce the governor of the state since 1999. If it does not go to Anambra North, it is likely going to Anambra South.
The tide is higher against Anambra Central, which produced governors Chris Ngige from Alor (3 years) and Peter Obi from Agulu (8 years). Anambra South has produced governors Chinwoke Mbadinuju from Uli (4 years) and Andy Ubah from Ugah (17 days). It is crystal clear that Anambra North is the only senatorial zone yet to produce a governor for the state. Will 2014 be their turn? This is a question APGA, PDP and ACN, the three major contenders to Government House Awka, will provide an answer pretty soon. But if zoning is not considered, then any zone with the best material can make it just as it happened in Imo 2011.
Ordinarily, APGA would have never had a serious challenge for the poll if its leadership has been more focused and do the needful. The party has to wage a serious political battle to regain its waning fame in Anambra politics. With application to INEC to register Chekwas Okorie’s faction as UPGA, Umeh-led APGA will have a lot of wars to fight. One had thought that Okorie and his group would have been brought back into the APGA fold to strengthen and solidify the party for national spread and relevance.
That chance to make APGA a great party even within the South-East geo-political zone has been bungled. That dream is waxing cold and the death of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, APGA’s national leader and father-figure, has not helped matters. APGA under Umeh cannot have the kind of clout it had under the charismatic Ikemba Nnewi. Remember his last wish to Anambrarians on the build-up to Obi’s re-election and the way they responded and returned Obi to power for a second term, something unheard of before in Anambra politics. Anambrarians obliged to Ikemba’s request because it came from the Ezeigbo himself. The present APGA leadership lacks such aura and followership of an Ezeigbo. Peter Obi is not very much in the picture either. He has played his part to the best of his ability. And I believe that, to a large extent, he played his role very well. If not for any other thing, his ability to stabilize Anambra politics for eight good years is a feat worthy of praise.
Therefore, Anambra 2014 is not about Obi per se. It is about his party, APGA, and others. The ACN has a popular politician in its kitty in the person of Ngige. His persona and popularity based on his track-record performance can sway votes to his side. His major problem is that he comes from Anambra Central. The other one is that he will put up a spirited fight to convince Anambrarians to accept ACN considering the fact that South-East people resent being in opposition party.
Andy Ubah’s influence in Anambra politics is growing with each passing day but can that be turned to political advantage in 2014? Only time will tell. Nevertheless, he is a strong contender to Government House Awka in 2014. But he has to fight with Nicholas Ukachukwu, Chuma Nzeribe and some others who may be jostling for the plum job.
His recent electoral victory might have rattled and unsettled some of his opponents. They might torpedo him in 2014 or pay him back in his own coins. He also has to settle with his younger brother, Chris Ubah, who has some political following in the zone. The PDP is a strong contender to the governorship seat. Its undoing will be the inability of its members to agree on a particular candidate. That scenario of disagreement played out in Anambra 2010 and their inconclusive primaries. If care is not taken, such drama will repeat itself in 2014. People like Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Senator Annie Okonkwo and other heavy weight politicians in the state will exact their influence.
Perhaps, it is only APGA and ACN that will not be embroiled in choosing their candidates. Nobody knows if Akunyili will give the governorship seat a shot and under which party she will contest. Now that the game is on, it is not yet late for APGA to put its house in order and shop for a credible Obi successor. It should look for a dark goat when it is still day time.
I say so because not having credible successors has been the bane of Igbo politics since 1999. If you are in doubt ask former governors, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia), Chief Achike Udenwa (Imo), Dr. Chimaraoke Nnamani (Enugu), and Dr. Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), of their experiences in this regard.
In the case of Anambra, Mbadinuju was hounded out of office while planning for a second term. Therefore, the issue of a successor did not arise. Since Obi is the first Anambra State governor that has the golden chance to choose his successor, let that chance not be bungled.
Source: Sun, 20th April 2012.
Anambra State Government awarded scholarship
GOVERNOR OBI AWARDS SCHOOLARSHIP TO SURVIVING MANDALA BOMBING VICTIMS
Anambra State Government has awarded scholarship to two surviving daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Obiukwu of Umuduru village, Awka-Etiti whose four daughters were killed at St. Theresa's Catholic Church Mandala, Niger State.
Governor Obi who disclosed this at a funeral service also announced a financial support of N2 million naira to the family and another N2million as part of the support for a memorial to be built in the church. The victims were Miss Chioma Obiukwu (23 years), Miss Ifeoma Obiukwu and her twin sister Uche Obiukwu (16 years) and Miss Chidinmma Obiukwu (13 years).
Governor Obi said that the scholarship would cover all levels of study in any part of the country.
The Governor called for collective efforts towards a new consciousness to discourage greed in governance and ensure that public resources are used to the benefit of the people. He assured that his administration is determined to restore character to governance.
The Archbishop and Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Valeria Okeke, while lamenting the killing of innocent children made it clear that what was important was not how long one lived but how well one is with the Lord.
Describing the victims as matyrs, the Archbishop prayed that their death will lead to a peaceful Nigeria.
The Parish Priest of the church, Rev. Fr. Paul Nwanegbu commended Gov. Obi for remaining responsive to the affairs of the people and sustaining quality leadership.
The father of the victims Mr. Emmanuel Obiukwu expressed gratitude to Governor Obi for giving them a life line.
Among the priests that celebrated the mass was the Parish Priest of St Theresa's Catholic Church Mandala, where the blast took place.
Senator Chris Ngige Visited Sir Emmanuel
The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Senator Chris Ngige yesterday visited the family of Sir Emmanuel Obiuwku of Awka Etiti whose four daughters, Miss Chioma Obiukwu 23 years, Miss Ifeoma Obiukwu and her twin sister Uche Obiukwu 16 years and Miss Chidinmma Obiukwu aged 13 years were gruesomely murdered in the Christmas day bombing of St. Theresa's Catholic Church Madalla. Speaking after a Church service held at St Anne’s Catholic Church Umudunnu in Awka -Etiti in honour of the departed children, Senator Chris Ngige donated the sum of
N500,000 to the family and another N500,000 to St. Annes Catholic Church Umudunnu Awka Etiti to support the church in building a befitting monument in memory of the children. Senator Chris Ngige who noted that it was painful for one family to have lost four children at once urged the family to take the event as strong Christians with the notion that God almighty knew best. He also pledged that he would use his good office to facilitate educational and other benefits for the remaining two children who survived the blast in order to ensure that the deaths of the other four would never be in vain.
Onitsha killer cop in jail
MASSOB spits fire over checkpoints in South East
From EMMANUEL UZOR, Onitsha
Following the uproar in the commercial city of Onitsha, which claimed the life of one Edwin Eze, a coaster bus driver in the town, the Nigeria police force yesterday dismissed the suspect after orderly room trial and arraigned him before an Onitsha Chief Magistrate Court. Corporal Samuel Ojana, charged with murder of the driver, was remanded in prison custody.
Saturday Sun learnt that the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhtari Ibrahim and other senior officers relocated to the commercial city to douse the tension generated by the killing of the bus driver by the trigger-happy policeman.
The suspect was arraigned before an Onitsha chief magistrate court, presided over by Mrs. Ngozi Okoye, who remanded him in prison custody on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the crime.
Saturday Sun gathered that the suspect was taken to court amidst tight security at the order of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhtari Ibrahim who told journalists that the action was to bring sanity to the force.
According to Mr. Ibrahim, the action was to enthrone discipline in the force, adding that it was also aimed at telling the public that the law must always take its full course, no matter who is involved.
“The suspect, as you can see, has been dismissed after the orderly room trial and you saw him in the court yesterday, that is to tell you that the police is committed to the rule of law and will not in any way shield anybody who has gone contrary to the law which we sworn to protect.
“It was unfortunate that the incident happened, but remember it was not deliberate, it could happen to anybody but still, the police had to dismiss the suspect after finding him culpable of the offence and has since charged him to court, this is the level of our commitment in making sure that the law takes its full course” he said”
He also debunked the rumour making the rounds that the suspect was Hausa saying “the suspect is not Hausa, it is wrong and bad approach to the matter because the person in question is not Hausa; he is not a Muslim as you have heard the name, Samuel. The bad issue then is that, a policeman is a policeman, no matter where he comes from.”
However, the Northerners who had earlier fled their different areas within the commercial city to take refuge at the Central Police Station (CPS) Onitsha, Asaba and other police Divisions within the city, have all returned to their businesses.
At the Bridge Head market, all non-natives who fled to Asaba when the incident took a dangerous ethnic coloration, have all returned to their places, where many of them were seen selling their onions and cattle.
In a related development, rising from its meeting where they appraised the incessant extra judicial killings at the police checkpoints within the zone, Igbo leaders, yesterday, called for immediate dismantling of all existing police checkpoints in the South East zone.
Addressing journalists at the Press Centre, Oba, the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Chief Ralph Uwazurike, who spoke through his second-in-command, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, condemned what he described as senseless killings of Ndigbo by the police and army personnel in different checkpoints in the country.
The leaders called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to dismantle all roadblocks and replace them with police surveillance and patrol teams, lamenting that in the last one year, a large number of Ndigbo have been killed by trigger-happy policemen on checkpoints.
Meanwhile, the second batch of Ndigbo, mainly women and children evacuated from Kano by leadership of MASSOB, arrived Onitsha yesterday morning.
Receiving the 152 returnees on behalf of Chief Uwazurike, Chief Ezeonwuka welcomed the returnees and urged them to feel at home, stressing that their security would be guaranteed in Igboland.
Source, Sun, 11th February 2012.
Update -Riot in Onitsha: policeman shot & killed a bus driver
Written by Elombah.com
Thursday, 09 February 2012 12:56
[elombah.com] 2nd Update: FROM AN EYEWITNESS:
FROM Emeka Ral: As regards the shooting and eventual death of a bus driver in Onitsha today, there's been a whole lot of misinformation. I had gone to Osha early today for some transactions. Between 10.30 am and 11, I was done with
my transactions at main market and was set to leave the market. I decided to walk away from the roudiness around the market area and then pick a byke.
Along New Market road, a byke which was chasing after a commercial vehicle and suddenly overtook the vehicle and parked in front of it. Before long, the police man on the byke got down and soon afterwards, pulled his gun and shot the bus driver to death.
Seeing the charged situation amongst the passengers and other people around, he got on another byke and left the scene, along with his officer colleagues. From the conversation between the officer and the driver, the officer is Igbo and not a northerner is is being rumoured.
This was a major factor in the ill feelings among those around, as they wondered why an Igbo man would shoot a fellow Igbo brother just for twenty naira. The crowd continued to swell until I left the scene.
On my way, however, I noticed that police officers who manned and mounted several roadblocks in the city had taken to their heels. What is more, the incident happend in an environment which houses a good number of banks. All these officers had deserted their posts.
By 1.30 pm when i was set to leave Onitsha, I went to the park and picked a bus. All of a sudden, a lady in the bus called the attention of the bus driver to the presence of one of the passengers who is a northerner, insisting that should he be allowed to travel in the bus, she would have to pick some other bus. Other passengers soon joined her in demanding that the northerner be sent off the bus.
My attempts to have them change their minds, as long as we certified that he posed no security threats fell on deaf ears.
In the final analysis, he got off the bus without being manhandled. The fear of Boko Haram now appears to be the beginning of wisdom. We soon hit the road and passengers began to share their thoghts. Before long, the issue of the driver who was shot took the floor. Alas, the story had changed.
While some narrated how a northerner (a civilian) killed an Igbo mobile police officer this morning, others held that it was a northern police officer who shot dead an Igbo bus driver! And they were all alarmed at the fact that the northerners after unleashing terror and mayhem on southerners living in the north, now have the guts to carry out such killings in the south, particularly Igboland!
Elombah, please set the record straight...
Police shot a bus driver in Onitsha.
[AFP] Rioting in two southern Nigerian cities Thursday over a police killing forced Muslims to take shelter at barracks over fears they would be targeted in reprisal attacks.
The riots broke out in Onitsha and Asaba after a police officer shot dead a bus driver, police said. Both cities are mainly populated by Igbos, who are overwhelmingly Christian.
Hausas, who are mostly Muslim and often originate from Nigeria's north, took shelter at police and army barracks, though there were conflicting reports over whether any were attacked.
Attacks blamed on Islamist group Boko Haram, some of which have targeted Christians, have sparked fears of reprisals and have led Christian leaders to warn they would defend themselves if the violence continued.
"A police corporal accidentally shot a bus driver dead in Onitsha and this angered the people, who went on the rampage in protests, and the situation caused fear among Hausa residents," Anambra state police spokesman Emeka Chukwuemeka told AFP.
He confirmed that Hausa residents had fled to police and army barracks, but added that none had been attacked following the protests. Chukwuemeka could not say how many fled, but added that the policeman had been arrested.
Delta state police spokesman Charles Muka said the situation also caused panic in nearby Asaba.
"The Onitsha problem spilled over to Asaba as residents ran helter-skelter," he said. "We have drafted our men to secure the town. I am in Abraka, where we have a huge Hausa population, and everywhere is calm."
A spokesman for the main Igbo organisation MASSOB said some Hausas were attacked and various shops were looted. He estimated that between 200 to 300 Hausas sought shelter at barracks.
He said rumours had spread that the policeman behind the shooting was a Hausa and the victim was believed to be an Igbo.
"I cannot say if anyone was killed, but I saw some Hausa people being manhandled by hoodlums who took advantage of the situation to vent their anger on northerners because of what Boko Haram did to Igbos in the north," Madu Uchenna told AFP.
"We have told our people not to seek revenge by killing northerners despite the killings of our kinsmen in the north."
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.
Boko Haram, which has claimed to be fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria's north, has been blamed for scores of attacks that have shaken the country.
An eyewitness from Onitsha told elombah.com an Hausa policeman tried to stop the bus/okada driver to get usual N20. "The man refused and tried to get away. that's why and when he got shot. he is reported to be a member of MAS SOB and that is what is triggering the revenge/rampage."
The source also said "The police has been severally warned to leave the members alone because they are not causing any troubles for anyone, but because it is in the southeast, they keep insisting "why are they wearing uniforms and carrying flags", etc. That gives them opportunities to extort money from them when they arrest/release them."
Analysts the generated tension "may spread with Ojukwu's burial coming up and with Boko Harm killings in the north especially with those that were just buried in Adazi Nnukwu in Anaocha LGA"
UPDATE ONITSHA RIOT
According to an eyewitness account, the incident occurred when driver of a coaster bus with registration number AA 768AHD, simply identified as Edwin, escaped a checkpoint by ABS junction, and was pursued by one of the policemen who caught up with him and deflated his tires and subsequently shot him on the neck, killing him instantly. The conductor of the bus, Samuel Ekwueme, who was weeping profusely, said that the driver, gave the policemen N20 which they refused and insisted that he should give them N50, “my oga said that he had paid in the previous trip and drove off but we did not know that one of them was following us on a motorbike and he intercepted us and shot my oga on the neck and quickly escaped”.
It was gathered that another passenger in the bus sustained bullet wounds when the trigger happy cop opened fire on the bus before he escaped. The situation however took a dangerous turn when the angry mob comprising of drivers and okada riders, went on a rampage with the corpse of the driver , attacking Hausas and looting their shops in possible reprisal. The bus was said to be fully loaded with passengers who took off from Nkpor junction and was heading to the Ose Main market, Onitsha when the incident happened as the passengers scampered for safety.
One of the passengers who gave her name as Ifeoma Obi told The Nation that the deceased did not do anything that warranted his murder, adding “its was just pure wickedness on the side of the policeman who because of just N20 wasted this young man’s life”
She also said that when the policeman first shot at the tires of the vehicle, the deceased who was the driver could not move again, a situation she said helped the killer cop to shoot at the deceased from closed range, shattering the glass of the vehicle.
However, the situation took an ethnic coloration as drivers and other hoodlums in the commercial city went on rampage demanding the elimination of Hausa people on the ground that the policeman who shot the deceased was a Hausa man.
The situation also escalated when the angry mob descended on the police team earlier sent by the Anambra state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhtari Ibrahim to reach and appeal to the rampaging crowd which led to the policemen retreating to avoid further casualties. It was gathered that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Central Police Station, Mr. Abdul Yusuf escaped death by the whiskers when the angry mob descended on him when he led his men to the scene of the incident.
The angry mob also went on the rampage in different parts of the commercial city hunting for Hausa people who led to many of them taking refuge at the Central Police Station, CPS and other police stations within the city, with many others around the Bridgehead crossing over to Asaba, the Delta state capital.Reacting to the Development, the new Igbo leader, Chief Ralph Uwazurike advised the members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB not to touch any Hausa people but should dismantle every police check points within the area with immediate effect.
According to Chief Uwazurike who spoke through his second in command, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, the dismantling of all police check point became necessary at a time when the safety of Ndigbo is no longer safe even in their land. “ For a Hausa policeman to kill an Igbo driver here because of mere N20 shows that the policeman is a Boko Haram member but we have urged MASSOB members to leave Hausa people alone because they are not our problem, they should concentrate on dismantling all police check points within the area” he said.
Meanwhile when contacted, the Anambra state Police Commissioner, Mr. Muhtari Ibrahim said the killer cop had been arrested and will soon undergo orderly room trial and prosecution and called on the rampaging crowd to calm down as efforts to resolve the matter had commenced.
Vox Populi Vox Dei !!!
11th February 2012
Gov. Peter Obi condoles with Anambra people over Boko Haram Attacks
18th January 2012
Gov Peter Obi yesterday extended his condolences for the third time to Anambra families that lost their dear ones in the Boko Haram crisis in different parts of Northern Nigeria. Speaking yesterday when he paid visit to Adazi Nnukwu community that lost some of their people in Mubi, Adamawa State, he said that all deaths saddened it him, including those that took place at some parts of the State.
Lamenting what human beings could do to one another in the name of senseless courses, he called on Nigerians to cultivate the brotherhood of one another as one of the prerequisites of building a prosperous country.
He assured the people of Adazi Nnukwu, and indeed all Anambrarians and Ndigbo that were affected by the killings that he would remember them in prayers and by other means that would lighten their burden.
He assured that he was in touch with the leadership of the North, including the Governor of Adamawa State on how to tackle the situation in the best interest of the families affected and with the view of avoiding similar tragedy.
Earlier, the President General of the town, Mr. Ben Enemuo had thanked the governor for coming and described his gesture of concern as consoling.
Similarly, the Dean, Faculty of Law at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof Ken Nworgu and Rev, Fr. Jonas Benson Okoye thanked the Governor for being with the town, and indeed all the bereaved in Anambra State at this time of despair.
Jonathan’s a True Statesman, Says Obi
By Charles Onyekanmuo
Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has said President Goodluck Jonathan has displayed uncommon qualities of statesmanship by carrying the people along through taking immediate measures to ameliorate the initial pains experienced on the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
The governor, who made a broadcast to the people of the state Monday, shortly after the President addressed the nation on the matter, said that in spite of the fact that the President and the Governors were agreed on and are still committed to the need for complete deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry for the good and progress of the country, the president has graciously reduced the pump price of premium motor spirit from N138 to N97 per litre.
This, as well as his palliative measures in the transport sector, the Governor reasoned were among his commendable responses to the challenges of the exercise.
While commending President Jonathan for displaying manifest qualities of statesmanship, Obi also commended the organised labour for reciprocating the gesture and urged them to always work for the interest of the country.
He called on those he referred to as “failed politicians” who suddenly turned themselves to overnight “comrades” during the fuel subsidy protest in order to derail the progress of the country to have a rethink and resolve to work together with President Jonathan who he noted meant well for the overall interest of the country.
He enjoined Anambra people and all men of goodwill to appreciate the President’s show of love and compassion for the people and continue to identify with his good intentions for the country, adding that the support has become critical as the President renewed the war against corruption and also expressed the determination to reduce the cost of governance as well as initiate programmes that would turn around the economy of the country.
He also reminded the people of the state and indeed the entire South-Easterners that they voted overwhelmingly for the President in the last general election and should realize that they are even faced with the more critical task of supporting him by ensuring that the mandate given to him remains inviolate.
Source: This Day, 17th January 2012.
Obi commends Jonathan
From TAIWO BANKOLE, Abeokuta
Governor Peter Obi has commended the President Goodluck Jonathan for his commitment to the Nigerian project and for his statesman’s approach to the issue of deregulation. Obi, who spoke in a state-wide broadcast in Anambra yesterday, said: “Earlier today, our dear President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR addressed the nation on the issue of de-regulation of the downstream sector of the Petroleum Industry.
“By so doing, he has displayed uncommon qualities of statesmanship and leadership by carrying the people along through taking immediate measures to ameliorate the initial pains of the exercise.
“In spite of the fact that the president and governors are agreed on, and are still committed to the need for complete de-regulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry for the good and progress of the country, the president has graciously reduced the pump price of PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) from N138 to N97 per litre, as well as his palliative measures in the transport sector.
“These indeed are among his immediate commendable responses to the challenges of the exercise.
“May I, at this juncture, commend Mr. President for displaying manifest qualities of statesmanship. I also commend the organized labour for reciprocating the gesture and urge them to always work for the interest of the country. As for failed politicians who turned themselves into overnight ‘comrades’ in order to derail the progress of the country, I call on you to have a rethink and resolve to work together with a president who have the overall interest of the country at heart.
“In appreciation of Mr. President’s show of love and compassion for the people, I call on the good people of Anambra State and indeed all men of goodwill across the country to continue to identify with our president’s good intentions for the country. This support is critical as Mr. President renews the war against corruption and expresses determination to reduce the cost of governance, as well as initiate programmes that will turn around the economy of the country.
“Let us recall that Ndi Anambra and the entire South easterners overwhelmingly voted for him at the last presidential election. We are therefore faced with the more critical task of supporting him the more by ensuring that the mandate given him remains inviolate.
‘Finally, may I take this opportunity to thank all of you in Anambra State for the civilized manner you have conducted yourselves during the past few days. I call for your continued understanding and support for our dear President in his determination to take the country to economic freedom.”
Source: Sun, 17th January 2012.
Awka - How Tricyclists Rob Bank Customers
Unsuspecting customers of various banks branches in Awka, Anambra State capital have been losing money to robbers who disguise as tricycle operators popularly known as keke NAPEP at the Ukwuoji area of the town LEADERSHIP SUNDAY investigations have revealed.
The robbers who have found base at Ukwuoji where there is a concentration of new and old generation banks employ several tactics to disposes victims of the money they withdraw from the banks in the process of conveying them to their destinations.
Pa Okorie(not real name), a pensioner, on Wednesday, tasted the fang of the mostly young men who describe themselves as hustlers, after he withdrew the sum of N50,000 from one of the new generation banks at Ukwuoji.
Accompanied by his daughter, unsuspecting Pa Okorie heeded the request of one of the young men to board his tricycle, but was surprised after another young man emerged, saying he is the tricycle's conductor and opting to sit in between Pa Okorie and his daughter. More suspicious, Pa Okorie told an eye witness, is that the driver did no wait to carry more passengers.
Pa Okorie according to an eye witness who spoke to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND in the cause of this investigation fainted after he discovered that the N50,000 he had withdraw for the family's upkeep had disappeared from his hand held purse after the operator had sped off.
It was gathered that such has also happened in the area as some of the tricycle operators who habour ill intention station their tricycles at the junction seeking only passengers who come out of the many banks in the area.
Our reporter who visited the area discovered that while the tricycle carries only four passengers, some of the operators get as much as two street urchins to work for them as conductors, who canvass for passengers, while leaving only a space of two passengers to be filled.
A keke NAPEP operator who refused to disclose his name told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that the operators have a union, and that no one who belongs to the union will do such 'illegal business'. When asked why some of them use two conductors, he replied that it can not be ruled out that some people engage in nefarious business in the guise of looking for passengers.
"I don't know why anyone will carry two conductors in keke NAPEP that carries only four passengers. This is Christmas season, you can not rule out that some people as duping people, but they are not our members," he said.
The police public relations officer in Anambra State police command, ASP Emeka Chukwuemeka could not confirm this to our reporter when he was called, his cell phone rang severally without answers at the time of filing this report.
Source: Leadership, 6th November 2011
400 Arraigned in Anambra Sanitation Court
Bearice Onuchukwu in Onitsha
Anambra State Sanitation under the office of the state's Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Michael Egbebike has charged 400 people to court for non payment of sanitation revenue fees.
The commissioner, while speaking with newsmen in Onitsha on the bad environmental situation in the state's three major cities of Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi said the state government spends not less than N20 million monthly on waste management .
He also lamented that the state government has not been able to realise a quarter of what was spent in the last two years.He attributed what he called a major setback to the state government's effort at clearing the cities of garbage and filth, to the negative attitude of the citizenry to sustainable waste management which deters them from paying for services rendered.
He said that in most states where waste management is working, payment for waste was already at a very high rate, adding,"garbage is a dynamic thing. The good thing is that government is carting away the garbage. We have come a long way from where we started.
"We inherited a dump site where practically no garbage is being carted away. This is the first time we are having receptacles with compactors to carry away the garbage and for the first time, the garbage is no more put in gutters. It is a milestone achievement".
Dr. Egbebike also observed that outside carrying the waste, the people must also as a second step, change their attitude towards waste management disposal and learn to pay for services rendered to them to have a sustainable waste management.
He further said:"Our people are not easy to change. They have rigid characters when it comes to waste disposal and payment for services."
Source: Daily Trust, 7th November 2011.
Top Anambra - continues