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Silverbird Extraordinary Man Award’ on Wike is a borrowed garb – Eze

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The recent conferment of the “2020 Extra Ordinary Personality Award” on Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, by Silverbird Group, has ignited a litany of fierce criticisms from critical stakeholders in the province of politics.

Opinion leaders and political and public affairs analysts have bare their minds, lamenting ceaselessly with grieve and lashing at the communication company for throwing standards to the dogs and sacrificing competence and meritocracy on the altar of mediocrity for short-term reward in the search for a suitable candidate whose records merit the trophy.

With the constructive opinion of Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, taking the lead, a summation of citizens’ views clearly suggest that the Governor was considered for the conferment on the singular basis of the quantum of dividend and financial reward accruable to the organisers from the N78 Billion Naira refunded to Rivers State of late for federal projects executed by former Gov. Chibuike Amaechi.

Recall that since the refund, Gov. Wike, who may have been lost in the euphoria of the whooping sum, has suddenly turned himself into a ‘Point of Sale’ machine, and like the Biblical prodigal son, he has embarked on a careless spending spree, dispensing Rivers money at his own behest to address the needs of other states, tub-thumber  and praise singers, to the utter detriment of Rivers people who have cried their voices hoarse in demand of a little thought from a government which they call their own.

In a statement made available to media houses, Chief Eze, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), condemned Gov. Wike’s excessive avarice and sheer greed in hoarding the common patrimony to self and denying the people their basic due.

The party chief queried the footing on which the Governor was considered for the nomination, stressing that Wike lacks in every local standard of measurement for the performance of a public servant especially, the holder of the exalted office of a State Governor, to be named an Extraordinary Man.

He said it is unbecoming of a responsible communication company like Silverbird Group that should be serving as a moral compass to allow itself to be swept from the sound mandate of shaping public opinions into the waste bin of encouraging laziness, avarice and mediocrity in public service for a a reward.

It pricks the conscience to learn that the media in Nigeria is fast losing its flavor to the overbearing influence of corrupt public office holders like Wike, who finance their way to gain undue media recognition in a bid to sway the public into believing their bogus achievements which exists only in the figment of their imaginary world with support from some unprincipled journalists.

Eze said the media should be more alive to issues of public concerns especially, those touching the core of the Journalism profession rather than offer attention to the tricks of busybodies who have almost conscripted the profession into the idiotic and niggling struggle to advance their political czar in a bid to obfuscate the sufferings and pains of the public.

He called on Silverbird Group and others to learn to beam their searchlights more scrupulously in the quest  to hunt appropriate individuals and public office holders who have distinguished themselves with the requisite credentials befitting of awards and honours, stressing that conferring trophies on the basis of merit will spur people to do more for public good.

Chief Eze called on Journalists to always maintain an optimum standard of professionalism in the discharge of their services and warned them against being inveigled into a situation in which they find themselves as partisan agents of wrongdoers and deceitful politicians in the pursuit of their selfish vendettas.

Referring Gov. Wike to the thought of John Maxwell, “leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another”, Eze counseled the Governor to be a bit more prudent in his tactless handling of public funds, adding that the sizeable chunk of money lavished annually in lobbying for awards and trophies would make a whole lot of difference in governance and public life if channeled into meaningful ventures.

Matshona Dhliwayo was very much on point when he posited that “simple people pursue power, average people pursue fame, but extraordinary people pursue ideas”. To be extraordinary, Eze said one must pursue sound ideas that profit humanity and not the incessant purchase of undue human recognition, awards and honours, which have gulped billions of Rivers money whereas, a sizeable number of issues of public concern requiring funding have continued to be treated with brazing laxity while others are deliberately left unattended.

He called on Wike to imbibe the attitude of subjecting himself to learn the art of governance from those who have made indelible marks in public service because and according to Sheryl Sandberg, “the ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have”.

Dismissing the honor as inappropriate, Eze reasoned that the SilverBird Group erred in her choice of Wike as recipient of such an award, pointing out that such error is fundamental and amounted to acknowledging and encouraging poor performance, incompetence, laziness and docility in public service.

He said according such an honour to Governor Wike for making Rivers State the capital of Poverty and unemployment in Nigeria shows that the SilverBird Organisation has lost touch with reality.

Lamenting over the composite failure of Gov. Wike on all locally and globally known parameters of rating  performance in public administration, the  party Chief described the Rivers State Governor as a flamboyant disgrace to governance, noting that his failure led to the exclusion of Rivers from the recent N123.348 Billion performance-based grant of the federal government to states, under the States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for results, reiterating that the Silverbird Group must have compromised.

“I must confess that I am totally ashamed by the act of the Board and Management of SilverBird for trying to embarrass my good friend, Wike in such a manner by endowing him with an award which the Nigerians know he doesn’t merit”, Eze said.

Eze said available reports suggest that Rivers State lost out of the N123 Billion FG largese owing to the failure of the state government to meet the simple eligibility requirement from states to publish online approved annual budgets and audited financial statements which has always been shrouded in secrecy given the mountain of illicit transactions perpetrated by officials of the state government under the watch of Gov. Wike.

He said owing to the wide maladministration occasioned by the bunch of mediocre occupying sensitive public offices, the state has lost several high profile local and global opportunities with the potential of developing the State economy and reasonably contributing to the improvement of the fortunes of Rivers people who have continued to roam in a leadership-induced poverty in the midst of plenty.

Admonishing Wike to save the little integrity left of him by formally rejecting the award, The party stalwart slammed the Rivers State commissioner for Information & Communication, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, for being overly servile and sycophantic even on issues that require a good sense of judgement.

Nsirim had, in his usual obsequious flattery, which has done more harm to Rivers people, lumbered exaggeratedly that the shelves of Wike’s trophy cabinet are “splendidly decorated with an array of multiple plaques, silverware, mementos, and other memorial items of recognition from multi-sectoral professional and academic establishments”.

Eze queried the essence of a plaque and silverware-filled trophy cabinet of a Governor when his people have continued to suffer in abject poverty and perpetual deprivation of basic needs. He said the fact that the state is highest in employment index of the country should be a source of reasonable concern to people of goodwill especially, the media, part of which responsibility is to prod government and its officials to positive action.

Aside Gov. Wike’s display of obvious disinterest in meeting the series of promises he made on employment given the huge number of workers that retire on monthly basis, the Governor has refused to allow promotion in the State Civil Service since he assumed office.

While a chunk of pensioners have been denied enrollment into the State Pension Scheme, those already captured have left their fate in God, as the Governor and his agents have refused them their pension allowances, emoluments and sundry entitlements for several years.

These acts of deliberate wickedness and many more singles-out Gov. Wike as unfit for any positive human endowment and cast a strong doubt on the merit of the award investiture on him by the Silverbird Group or any other group in future, save that as usual, he lobbied and in fact, offered the highest bid than every other competitor or better still, the award was conferred on him following his track records of  astonishing wickedness and penchant for sophisticated espièglerie.

“Without a dint of sentiment, I am actually lost in thought as to the particular criterion on which Silverbird Group confirmed Gov. Wike fit for such award when Rivers state tops in unemployment rating; when workers have been continued to be denied promotion; when pensioners are on the street every day protesting and demanding gratuities; when the state Secretariat is in a complete deplorable state; when he has blatantly refused to implement the new minimum wage; when students have been denied scholarships and bursaries; when transparency in budgetary implementation has taken flight etc”.

“It pricks the conscience to believe that mere recoating of roads and building a few flyovers; ordinary things that even the worst military government has done in the past is what merited Wike the award.” This is really funny.

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Hon. Onari at 55: An icon and pillar of the progressive movement – Eze

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Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has felicitated with former Rivers Lawmaker, ex Admin. Secretary of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Office and Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Rt. Hon. Onari Brown.

In a statement made available to media houses, the party chieftain said Onari’s  stunning credentials and impressive antecedents speak of his unwavering commitment towards the development of society for the good of all of humanity.

Describing him as a man with a heart deeply rooted in compassion and love for humanity, Chief Eze said Onari, a consummate administrator remains an icon, an enigma, a study in resoluteness, benevolence, audacity, resourcefulness and above all, a composite gentleman with the fear of God.

The party Chief said his creativity in leadership and commitment to public service has earned him a place in public esteem and has positioned himself as an emerging force in public administration. Given his soaring profile, Onari is one man whose pride of place in the politics of Rivers State is unarguable

Asserting his thought on Rt. Hon. Onari Brown, the exceptional leader of our time, Rt. Hon. Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi stated, [in his birthday message to this great leader stated and I quote, “It is NY prayer that from this day, the hand of the Almighty shall guard abs guide you in a new dimension, and build you into the image of His thoughts towards you.”

In describing Onari, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, one of the outstanding Pillars of the APC in Nigeria said “Onari is a quintessential gentleman who rose through the ranks to become a reference for God’s amazing grace and mercy has continued to live a life of purpose and impact, even as he is deeply committed to the business of touching lives.”

While to another APC Leader and Chairman, NIMASA Board, Rt. Hon. Asita Honourable said this, “It brings me great joy to celebrate you today. I pray the Almighty God to bless you and wraps His mighty hands of protection around you on this special day and always “

Eze postulated further that one thing that differentiates and distinguish Hon. Brown amongst other leaders of his class is that he wears humility and loyalty as a cloth and today pride himself as one of the finest disciples of the political family of Rt. Hon. Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and one of the emerging powers in the politics of Rivers State

Chief Eze said after Onari served as the Director of Administration; (APC) 2019 Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and  even when he could not be given any platform or recognition considering his inputs in the formation and stability of APC, he kept his cool and continued to work assiduously for the progress and good of a party on which ideology he believes until four years after when he was appointed as the Executive Director in Nigeria Ports Authority.

He said Onari’s qualities are true definitions of loyalty and the kind of patient a leader must posses. Unlike most of his colleagues who decided to jump ship immediately they were not considered for an appointment.

 

Background and Educational Qualifications of Rt. Hon. Onari Brown:

 Eze highlighted and postulated that Hon. Onari Brown was born on 13th February 1966, in Obonoma, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State and attended Government Secondary School, Ke, Degema Local Government Area, Rivers State where he obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1983.

He also attended Rivers State University of Science and Technology Port Harcourt from where he got his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Management in 1990.

From the same Rivers State University of Science and Technology Port Harcourt, he had his Master of Business Administration (MBA) Management in 2009 and proceeded to obtain Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) in 2013.

He is a Fellow, Chartered Institute of Public Diplomacy and Management.

 

Working Experience:

Accordingly, Onari Brown has a summary of twenty three (23) years of Post Qualification working experience in the Banking, Energy Servicing and Politics/Public Service Sectors. He worked with Oceanic Bank International (Nigeria) Limited various branches across the country in Treasury, Marketing and Operations from 1993 to 2000. He worked with Mipet Services Limited Port Harcourt, as the Head, Personnel/Administration from 2000 to 2004.

He was also a Supervisor, Finance, Budget, Economic Planning, Education and Special Duties in Akuku-Toru Local Government Council, Abonnema 2004 to 2006.

His Political Journey:

On the Political arena, Onari Brown was a Member Representing Akuku-Toru Constituency 1, in the Rivers State House of Assembly from 2007 to 2015. He served as Chairman and or Member of various Committees, some of which were on, Commission and Agencies, Commerce and Industries, Information and Training, Agriculture and Urban Development.

As a Member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) he served on various Committees, key among them were: the All Progressives Congress (APC) 2019 Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) where he was the Director of Administration; All Progressives Congress (APC) State Congress Committee, Edo State; where he was the Chairman and All Progressives Congress (APC) Membership Registration Committee, Edo State; where he was the Secretary.

Hobbies And Inspiration;

His Hobbies include Reading, Sports, Nature watching and International Affairs while his inspiration is Amazing Grace.

Congratulating him on his birthday, Eze expressed thanks to President Buhari and his son, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, for duly recognising the great qualities of this unassuming leader whose love for Progressives members is infectious.

Eze wished him the best in all future endeavours and prayed God to continue to give him the requisite foresight needed to make indelible footprints on the sands of time in his service to fatherland.

“Happy birthday my brother, friend and leader and may our great God not only bless your new age but grant you more fruitful years for better services to humanity”, Eze said.

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LAGOS, POLICE HALT PLANNED PROTEST, COUNTER RALLIES IN LEKKI OVER THREATS OF VIOLENCE

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The Lagos State Government has issued a stern warning to various opposing groups planning to embark on protests at the Lekki Toll Plaza on Saturday, advising them to shelve the plan. It is not an auspicious moment for such action, the State Government told the groups planning opposing rallies.

The position of the State Government was made known at a joint press conference held at the Press Centre on Thursday by the Attorney General of Lagos, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, and Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu.

The Government said it acknowledged the rights of the citizens to a lawful assembly and freedom to express their feelings as guaranteed by Section 39 and 40 of the Constitution, but it said the rights did not give any citizen the freedom to block highways and prevent other citizens from moving freely within the State.

Onigbanjo said the Government would not allow any group to push the State, once again, to the edge of carnage, strongly advising those organising the “Occupy Lekki Toll Gate” and “Defend Lagos” protests to desist from the planned action. He said the State Government’s respect for the citizens’ rights to protest should not be seen as a licence to break the laws, warning that any individual or corporate organisation that incites an action leading to the destruction of public and private properties would be prosecuted and be made to pay damages.

He said: “Attention of the State Government has been drawn to the planned protest scheduled for Saturday February 13, 2021 at the Lekki Toll Gate for and against the opening of the Admiralty Toll Gate. The State is aware of Sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guarantees the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. However, such right does not permit the violation of the rights of other citizens in the State.

“While the State recognises the importance of exercising the rights to peaceful protests, the same cannot extend to blockage of roads or actions preventing other members of the public from enjoying their fundamental rights to move freely within the State. Any individual or corporate body that incites or condones any act leading to the destruction of public and private properties shall be prosecuted under the extant laws and in addition to any penalty the court might pronounce. Such person or body will be liable to compensate for any damage, which may arise as a result of the action or inaction of such person or body.”

The Attorney General also said the public health crisis occasioned by the spread of deadly variants of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) should discourage anyone attempting to assemble people for the planned protests, urging all groups to consider COVID-19 protocols that limit public gathering not to be more than 50 persons.

Onigbanjo, therefore, directed the State’s Police Command to stop opposing groups from holding rallies in Lekki and any other parts of Lagos.

Odumosu said the security intelligence gathered by the Police Command indicated the “Occupy Lekki Toll Gate” protest and planned counter rallies would degenerate into a breakdown of law and order, stressing that the police will not allow any group to carry out the action.

The police chief said adequate arrangements on the deployment of security forces had been put in place to stop any violent protest, gathering and procession in any part of Lagos, stressing that the Police Command would rise in protection of law-abiding residents from any form of the violence.

He said: “The Police Command has gathered credible intelligence that some hidden agents of destruction and shadow parties that orchestrated the last EndSARS violence have concluded plans to cause another mayhem in Lagos and spread the same to other parts of the country, tactically and spontaneously, like the recent violence.

“Premised on the available intelligence and due threat analyses carried out on the planned protest, the Police Command perceives such proposed protest as a calculated attempt to cause pandemonium and massive destruction of lives and properties under whatever guide; such will not be allowed to hold in Lagos.”

Odumosu appealed to the general public to advise their wards to ignore mobilisation for the protest and gathering in flouting the existing peace and security situation of the State. He said the police would resist the protest with necessary force, while respecting the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Omotoso said the steps taken by the State Government on the planned protest was not to take away the fundamental rights of the citizens, but to prevent re-enactment of the event that led to destruction of public and private assets last October.

The Commissioner sued for peace, urging the organisers of the planned protests and rallies to allow the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry conclude its investigation on what transpired between the military and EndSARS protesters.

“We believe this kind of tension and anxiety being brought forward by the planned protest will not allow the panel to do a thorough job. If the authorities allow the protest and counter rallies to go on, there would be a breakdown of order and Lagos is not ripe for such action. It is on this premise that the State Government is appealing to all parties to thread with caution. Both sides have the right to express their feelings, but the time is wrong,” Omotoso said.

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SANWO-OLU MOURNS JAKANDE

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has mourned the passing of the first Civilian Governor of the State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande.

Jakande, a renowned journalist and elder statesman, who governed Lagos State during the aborted Second Republic between 1979 and 1983, died on Thursday at the age of 91.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, in a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, on Thursday said the late Jakande will remain one of the best public office holders in the political history of Nigeria based on how he transformed Lagos State and Nigeria during his tenure as Honourable Minister of Works.

The Governor said Alhaji Jakande popularly referred to as ‘Baba Kekere’ brought a lot of development to Lagos State as governor between October 1,1979 and December 31, 1983 in line with the five cardinal programmes of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), founded by the late sage and former Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

The Governor also described the former Minister of Works as an epitome of honesty, dedication and selflessness, who used his elevated positions for the betterment of the people he served.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said the late Alhaji Jakande is one of the few Lagosians and Nigerian leaders that demystified politics by bringing governance closer to the people.

He said Jakande left with impeccable records in Lagos State and that is why he remains till date, a reference point for governors in Lagos and other parts of the country.

He said: “On behalf of the Government and people of Lagos State, I want to express my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and associates of the late Alhaji Lateef Jakande as well as members of the progressive community.

“No doubt, the death of Alhaji Jakande is a colossal loss to Lagos State and Nigeria. He made lots of positive impact and contribution during his lifetime to the growth of our dear State by introducing housing and educational programmes that targeted the poor, building new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools and providing free education for all.”

“Baba Jakande within his four years in office established the Lagos State University. His government constructed over 30,000 housing units,which were of great value to the masses.

“Having distinguished himself as ‘Action Governor’, Alhaji Jakande was appointed Minister of Works in 1993 where he replicated his developmental programmes, by building thousands of housing units in different parts of Nigeria as Federal Low Cost Housing Estates.

The Governor added that the late Jakande’s selling point is not only in politics but journalism, his chosen profession.

“Alhaji Jakande also made remarkable contributions to the media industry as a respected journalist and media manager. He used the power of the press to influence positive changes in the country’s social and political landscape.”

The Governor reminded Lagosians that the best way to immortalise ‘LKJ’ as late Alhaji Jakande is popularly known, is to ensure that good governance the deceased advocated spreads to every facet of the Nigerian society.

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