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Idris Aregbe: A beacon of light on the Surulere horizon as LG chairmanship election draws near

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By Manny Ita

The late reggae king Bob Marley’s highly philosophical song “who the cap fit let them wear it” is an apt analogy to describe the trusted competence of affable Lagos State Youth Organizing Secretary, Idris Aregbe in creditably running the affairs of Surulere Local Government.

There’s no gain saying the fact the iconic city once famous for sports, entertainment, fashion, crafts and a vibrant economic hub in Lagos is largely today, a confusing shadow of its former glory, with a number of factors responsible, and in no small measure associated with poor or sluggish leadership.

The politics of non-inclusivity in governance particularly as pertains to youths have over the years only exacerbated the situation. But things must have to CHANGE if that’s what we really want, as we are wont to preaching. And one dynamic son of Surulere who is not waiting for anyone to bell that cat of change is Idris Aregbe, a youth leader par excellence, visioner, motivator, with an audacious track record of making the right things happen at the right time, and in the right measure.
With respect to inclusive political participation, Idris as someone with a nuanced understanding of the policy, as not just a fundamental political and democratic right but more importantly, a factor crucial to building stable and peaceful societies while also helping to develop policies that respond to the specific needs of younger generations, has been at the forefront of walking this talk of change, being hinged on his unbridled passion to impact lives.

No doubt that young people quickly feel disempowered when there are obstacles that prevent them from participating in formal, institutionalized political processes, believing their voices count for less or that they would not be taken seriously even if heard, despite their sensitivity to the demands for social equity and justice, environmental protection and cultural diversity, which in turn has the propensity to destabilize democratization and accelerate conflict dynamics.

As a staunch party Exco member, State officer, grassroots mobilizer, creative and resourceful, Idris constantly and passionately inspires new youth members into his party, the APC. A positive youth influencer, progressive thinker and shining specimen of dynamic youth representation, he has initiated a number of programmes to foster inclusiveness, and has been turning the passion of young people into profit through several youth development and empowerment projects for the past 13 years.

Of course there are many other qualities that cut him as Daniel of the time as far as the Surulere Local Government election is concerned. His personality, mien of respect for others, compassion and humble disposition are aces in this regard. Casual political conversations among citizens often pivot on candidates’ personalities. Across countries of the world with different electoral systems and institutions, research shows that the facial appearance and traits of political candidates do predict election outcomes. Candidates evaluated from their mere faces as more competent usually get more votes in elections.

Predictive value of traits can also be extended to voters’ assessments of candidates and play a very important role in vote decision because of their predictive value which capsulate trends in behavior of candidates into descriptive attributes, then used in the prediction of future behavior of the candidate if elected. This has been found to greatly influence voters’ decision making processes.

As a matter of fact, this was a very crucial part of why scores of voters across the length and breadth of Lagos State pitched tents with the present governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. You couldn’t have looked at his posters and not see him as someone that could be trusted. Sincerely, even though I’m non-partisan and hardly knew the man, he was so appealing I took an instant liking to him, and even went about prophesying he’d be a good governor, anywhere the subject of the governorship election came up. It just proves that school of thought right and counts as another positive for Idris.

Just take a peek at his campaign posters.
He could have settled for the opportunity to amass millions of naira for himself through promised contracts and other patronages (the old Nigerian way begging CHANGE) by giving up his right to contest, but his conscience and even more, his passion for development of people a allow nd communities would never that.

Idris is young, vibrant, a successful businessman who is honed in politics, prepared and ready to serve his people of Surulere as the next chairman of the historic city.

What more could the people of Surulere or Surulereans (permit me) possibly want…or need to move that iconic city back to where it rightly belongs?

Nothing more, save the Election Day, in my humble but informed opinion.

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POLITICS

Stop making mockery of the exalted Office of the Governor, Eze to Wike

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Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze has again, given a sharp retort and squarely discredited claims by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, that Nigeria’s Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has failed to attract a project to the state, as a cabinet member of the Buhari/APC government since the administration came onboard in 2015.

The Governor who spoke in a reception organized to formally receive a former Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Ibiamu Davies Ikanya and others, into the People’s Democratic Party, vowed to put in his resignation should the Minister name a federal project he has attracted to Rivers State since he assumed office.

Wike also alleged that Amaechi claimed he sold a Dash 8 aircraft purchased by former Governor, Dr. Peter Odili administration, to the Government of Cross River at the cost of $6million, but failed to account for the proceeds of the transaction.

The very controversial Rivers Governor had equally claimed to have attracted many projects to Rivers State while he served as Minister of State for Education under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

But reacting to the irking gasconade, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze said the Governor’s sense of ratiocination may have been grossly impaired by his unreasonable fancy for aqua vitae and warned of a possible deterioration of his cognitive orientation and public mannerism, even as he continues to slip deeper and deeper into the bottles.

It would be recalled that Gov. Wike had made similar vow; sometime in 2020, staking his position as Governor and in reply Eze listed over 13 projects to counter his bunkum, but in his usual carriage, he still continue to parade himself as the Governor of Rivers State, yet to put in his resignation.

In a statement made available to media houses in Port Harcourt, the party chief described Wike’s comment as the delirious rant and rave of a man whose sense of fair judgment has been obscured by his very hostile and  tendentious opinion laced with habitual hatred against the Minister of Transportation.

Although the comment is lacking apparent gravitational pull to qualify for a response, coming  from an avowed incorrigible bigot who has not entertained any new thought in years, Eze said a response was necessary to assuage the minds of those who may have been attracted by his venomous outrage.

“For sometime now, I have stopped making any comment on how Governor Nyesom Wike administers Rivers State but the more I resolve to keep quiet the more the Governor continues to act in such a manner unbecoming of a State Governor and to keep quiet under such an environment is not in my character”. Eze said.

On the Governor’s allegation that Amaechi sold a Dash 8 aircraft purchased by former Governor, Dr. Peter Odili administration, to the Government of Cross River at the cost of $6million, but failed to account for the proceeds of the transaction, the party Chief said such comment is utterly misguided and unfortunate, coming from a man who was an Aide and a key player in Amaechi’s government.

Eze pointed out that Wike is feigning ignorance of the facts of the matter in a bid to justify his unending malicious schemes and satanic artifices against his benefactor Amaechi.

Putting the records straight, Chief Eze said it beats one’s imagination to learn that Wike appears to have forgotten that Amaechi sold the Dash 8 Aircraft purchased by Dr. Odili to complete funds to acquire the Bombardier local man which he (Wike) has been using since 2015.

He called on the Governor to leave Amaechi for once and focus a bit on governance and strive to receive sense to address the myriad of challenges facing the State, adding that trying to compare himself with Amaechi is a dream far from reality.

“Let me once again bring to the public some of the projects that Amaechi have influenced to Rivers State which I know that Wike will gloss over and continue shamelessly to parade himself as the Governor of Rivers State contrary to his threat to resign if Amaechi can name a single project he has attracted to the State.” The party chief stated.

On projects attracted to Rivers State by Amaechi Eze said:

  1. The fact still remains that Amaechi pushed for the construction of the 39km Bonny Bodo road and it’s two creek bridges including the bridge over Opobo channel at a whopping sum of 120 billion naira. This gigantic bridge is comparable only to the 2nd Niger bridge project.

  1. The Port Harcourt International Airport that was described as one of the worst Airports in the entire world which renovation was frustrated by the PDP Government when Wike was a Minister stands today as one of the best Airports under Amaechi as substantive Minister of Transportation.

  1. The Soku Oil well supported by Wike to be ceded to Bayelsa has been returned to Rivers State.

  1. The Ogoni Cleanup exercise which was described as impossible by the PDP administration where Wike served as junior Minister is currently in progress.

  1. With the influence of Amaechi, the East West Road abandoned by the PDP administration is currently ongoing and will soon be completed.

  1. Under Amaechi as the best Minister of the decade, Cargo ships now berth in Onne Port, thereby increasing economic activities in the state, shoring up the state’s revenue and creating more employment for Rivers people. This clearly shows Amaechi is not resting on his oars.

  1. The Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line which is being negotiated shows Amaechi is bringing development home.

  1. The Calabar through Port Harcourt to Lagos rail line will soon commence.

  1. Amaechi as the Minister of Transposition influenced the setting up of the Maritime University in Oron, where many Rivers sons and daughters are already employed and engaged.

  1. He Influenced the setting up of the Naval Intelligence and Logistics College at Ubima.

  1. Bonny and Warri deep sea ports have been approved.

  1. The Ajaojuta- Itakpe- Warri rail line covering about 320km and cutting across the entire Niger Delta was commissioned in 2020, with hundreds of Rivers State sons and daughters employed. Both the Delta, Edo Governors including the President were full of praises for the tenacity and administrative prowess of Amaechi in achieving the feat.

  1. Amaechi as Transportation Minister has dredged the channels and today the Port Harcourt port is alive. Meraks shipping can confirm that cargo landing at PH has increased by 50%. If Wike has eyes he should have seen that trucks queuing for containers are now stretching to the Rivers State Govt House.

  1. Amaechi has influenced human capital development through appointment and employment of hundreds of Rivers State sons and daughters into various Federal Establishments though Wike never believe in human capital development so this to him is not an attractive project.

  1. Amaechi in collaboration with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, President Buhari and others influenced the ongoing rehabilitation of the moribund Port Harcourt Refinery which Wike in conjunction with others abandoned during their inglorious regime.

16, 17.& 18 Eze added that apart from the above feats, that almost six years after Amaechi left Rivers State as governor, he is still vomiting money for the state, by facilitating the refund of N79 billion to Rivers State from federal projects executed by Amaechi and Peter Odili’s administrations, the release of $400 million for work in Ogoni under the clean up exercise, among others including the flyovers, roads and others projects that Wike may have used the largesse which Amaechi saved and resent to Rivers State.

Eze said Wike is one Governor who has failed in all indexes of performance and thus, he knows nothing about development and related terms in government.

With the listing of over 17 federal projects that Amaechi brought to Rivers as Minister one expects Wike as a matter of urgency to address the public and put in his resignation letter if he still had any integrity. With this Eze gives Wike 2 weeks to resign or face editorial series on his lies and political dishonesty that will explode in his face

 

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POLITICS

DEMOCRACY DAY: Lets Stand for Democracy Today, Even More Tomorrow- Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu

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On this day, I join with all Nigerians in commemorating Democracy Day. The book of the life of this nation has many chapters already written and many more yet to be written.

One of the most profound and inspiring accounts that shall be written of our nation’s history will be the chapter on how we moved from the darkness of authoritarian military suppression into the light of democracy and the establishment of popular government based on the sovereign will of the people.

On this memorable day, we mark, with respect, and honor the sacrifices that have allowed democracy to come to pass. We also celebrate in anticipation of a future in which our democratic institutions, concepts and practices take firmer root; transforming this society from what it is to what it can be.

The pages of our national book inexorably turn. We have seen and experienced much. Victory and setback have entered and exited. The departure of friend and foe we have witnessed. The song of peace and unity we have sung as one national family while others have pounded the drums of war and hate. Laughter and sorrow, we have known.

Through it all, our gaze has remained fixed as if it were focused on a star in the firmament. Our road has remained certain for it is the only road we can reasonably tread. We have moved toward a better Nigeria and a greater democracy.

This path has not been without peril. There are many who care not for the journey we take. They embark on a different trek for they hold to a different concept of governance and of the relationship of government to the people.

They do not believe in a nation where every person therein has substantive rights, freedoms and liberties as God intended for all of his human creations regardless of place of birth, ethnic origin, social station or religious creed. These people hate democracy and despise you for choosing democracy over them and their oppressive ways.

They are violent and coldhearted. They love nothing, save the destruction of the happiness and peace of others. They will not go away quietly or in consideration of the compelling logic of democratic governance.

Instead, they set us up in hopes of laying waste to the good society we seek to build. They levy terror against us in vain hope that their violent impositions might cause us to lose our way. They raze villages, destroy homes assault and kill innocent people. They even attack important symbols of a just society including religious institutions, schools of learning and INEC offices as if they can snuff out, through violence, mankind’s will to worship God, seek knowledge or engage in participatory governance.

However, with all that they do, they will not succeed. In trying to pluck a democratic and just society from our hands they are as mistaken as they are evil.

Our democracy was not here established to be destroyed by the terrible likes of people such as these. Those who sacrificed their lives for democracy did not give of themselves so that we would be turned back by terrorists or by those who seek to tear the nation asunder just so they might imperially rule over some small part of it.

Despite the troubles we face, and those troubles are serious, we must stand up for democracy lest we shall find ourselves falling to oblivion. Democratic good governance offers the only reasonable solution to the challenges confronting Nigeria.

Thus, we must stand for democracy today. We must stand for it even more tomorrow. Ask this question 10, 20, 100 years from now, the answer must remain the same: the people of Nigeria stand for democracy and stand against that which would chase democracy from our land.

Thus, we stand against those who traffic in insurrection and violence. We stand against those whose commerce is bigotry and hatred. We contend against those who would render the people ignorant and poor.

We stand for a better way. We celebrate Democracy Day not only because we have come far but to help give us the social fuel and encouragement to continue onward because we have farther to go and even greater things to achieve as one nation and one people.

On this day, let us remember MKO Abiola whose victory in the June 12th 1993 presidential election was stolen from him. Yet he remained steadfast and surrendered his own life so that we all might enjoy the democratic victory that was taken from him. Without his historic effort and sacrifice, this day would not be democracy day. It would be a downcast and disappointing one. Let us also remember all others who also sacrificed so much to bring democracy to this land.

We best honor these people not by reciting their names but by injecting the spirit and hope of democracy into our words and deeds. In becoming better democrats, we also become better at being Nigerians.

I wish all of you a meaningful and happy Democracy Day.

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POLITICS

June 12: PDP Condemns APC, Buhari’s Clampdown on Peaceful Protesters

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns, in the strongest term ever, the violent clampdown by agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhamamdu Buhari on Nigerians who are peacefully protesting on Democracy Day.
The party describes the brutal clampdown on citizens on Democracy Day as a sacrilegious demonstration of APC’s aversion to democracy as well as its barefaced repugnance towards Nigerians, particularly in their demands for their rights.
It is awkward that the APC and President Buhari, who were allowed their freedom when they protested in 2014, would turn around to subject Nigerians to actions of inhumanity including the use of firearms against the people, as being witnessed today.
It is instructive to note that President Buhari, in his supposed Democracy Day address, failed to rein in his security operatives despite the cautions by the PDP. This places the culpability for whatever befalls Nigerians, in the face of the violent attacks by security agencies, on the APC as well as Mr. President’s desk.
The PDP is not surprised that in his over 20 minutes speech, Mr. President never made any commitment towards upholding the democratic tenets of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association and right to peaceful protest, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and our statutes, from which he, as APC candidate, drew huge benefit in 2014.
Our party is cataloguing all the infringements which the APC and President Buhari are rudely imposing on Nigerians and we urge all global democratic institutions to take note of the violent infringements and clampdown on democracy in Nigeria by the APC.
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