· Commend Sylva for creating 35,000 Jobs in Bayelsa State
Some prominent leaders in the Niger Delta region on Monday urged Nigerians to encourage the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in its efforts to create jobs, develop the oil rich Niger Delta region and tackle youth unemployment in the country.
The eminent leaders also praised President Buhari for his resolve to make the lives of all Nigerians better.
In a statement in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, the leaders praised the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva for going the extra mile, using his good office to pursue the Niger Delta cause and helping the business image of Nigeria in the international scene.
‘’Certainly, Chief Timipre Sylva has further shown that his politics is driven by character, integrity and development’’ the leaders said.
They emphasized the country’s vast endowments, revenue generation, supports for gas based industries and import substitution for methanol needs of the nation.
The leaders also emphasized Sylva’s approach to the development of the oil and gas sector, foreign direct investment, economic diversification, zero gas flaring and community development
Signed by the Chairman of the Niger Delta People’s Movement (NDPM), Mrs. Ibifuro Thompson Tatua, the leaders commended the management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and DSV Engineering for the growth of the nation’s economy.
They pointed out that the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FIB) for the construction of 10,000 tonnes/day methanol production plant by the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Company LTD (BFPCL, committing equity investment of US$670m was well timed.
The construction phase is expected to create 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and additional 5,000 permanent jobs during the operations phase.
The leaders described the FID, the Gas Supply Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) led joint venture, off-take agreements and contracts for Engineering Procurement Construction and Technology Provider as another benchmark in the history of Nigeria.
‘’It is a good development that is capable of yielding a beneficial outcome’’ the leaders said.
The statement said the Niger Delta leaders would continue to pray for the success of the President Muhammadu led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
President Buhari in July, 2020 approved the development of the Brass Gas Company with the sole aim of aggregating and monetizing all stranded gas in the Brass area.
Notable women in the South-West on Tuesday scolded the leader of the Indigenous people of BiafraI (POD), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu for creating enmity and cutting a bad image for the South-East.
‘’We feel very sorry for the people who listen to the sermons of the mischief maker and the voice of disunity, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu’’ the women said.
Expressing concern over the potential implications of statements credited to the IPOD leader, the women condemned Kanu for his parochial reasoning and hatred for Hausa-Fulani.
‘’The statements portray Nnamdi Kanu as one who is ignorant of the police hierarchy in Nigeria. As it concerns Oyo State and the directives of the Inspector General of Police, we feel very strongly, that it is very wrong for Kanu to urge the CP to flout the orders of the IGP’’.
In a three-page statement issued in Akure, the women harped on the need for unity and mutual understanding within the South-West.
Signed by the Chairperson of Yoruba Women in Government (YWIG), Chief Fumilayo Adesanwo, the women poured encomiums on Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko.
They underscored the IGP’s focused and purposeful leadership, the CP’s academic and professional credentials and her vision to set a record in Oyo State’s security history.
The women also emphasized Onadeko’s demonstrable competence, discipline, loyalty and integrity.
Part of the statement reads’’ Another round of ethnic feuding in Oyo State started last week. One Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers stormed the Fulani settlement in Igangan, Ibarapa to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir’’
This antagonistic position towards Fulani can hardly be described as the best thing to do.
It is very obvious that this action appeared not to have gone down well with Nigerians.
However, the order by the Inspector General of Police that Sunday Igboho should be arrested came as a joy to many.
But much ado has been created over the reported order to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko, to arrest Sunday Igboho.
Indeed, some Nigerians in Diaspora have attempted to denigrate the Inspector General of Police for directing the Oyo State Police Command to arrest Igboho.
For sure, the good people of Oyo State have every obligation to fight crimes ranging from kidnapping, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands at all cost but without promoting anarchy,
Forcefulness, dissent, general bad manners and unruly behavior should not be encouraged in a decent society.
Nigerians should disregard the various lies being peddled by the self-acclaimed Igbo leader against the Inspector General of Police and the Oyo State Commissioner of Police. There is no plan to stop the agenda of the people of the South-West. There is no plan to ferments enmity between the South-East and the South-West.
We commend the Police for doing what they are statutorily assigned to do.
We urge the Oyo State Police Commissioner not to succumb to the propaganda and blackmail daily oozing out of the mouths of some enemies of Nigeria.
We urge the Oyo State Commissioner of Police to ignore calls by the self-acclaimed Igbo leader in Diaspora to resign from office.
It was reassuring to see how thoughtfully the Inspector General of Police responded to the incident.
The police must go the whole hog to put a stop to the acts of lawlessness of some people in the country.
We commend Governor Seyi Makinde for being responsible and responsive to the needs of all.
We urge him to continue to support the police and other security agencies.
We also commend President Muhammadu Buhari for showing that lawlessness and brigandage are alien to our culture
We call on Oyo youths to extend to Hausa/Fulani in the state a hand of fellowship, friendship and brotherhood so that together, they could position the state for economic growth.
We call on the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor to call this Igbo self-acclaimed leader in Diaspora to order
Security of life and property is so fundamental. We urge the police to discharge their duties to the government and heroic people of Oyo State and Nigeria.
Lastly, we appeal for professionalism, restraints and understanding on the part of Igbo and Yoruba youths.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR
LAGOS DEPLOYS 1,250 SPECIAL CONSTABULARY TO BOAST COMMUNITY POLICING
…As Sanwo-Olu Urges Lagosians To Support Initiative, Cooperate With Officers
Lagos State Police Command on Tuesday deployed 1,250 Special Constabulary Officers for community policing to boost security in different parts of the State.
Community Policing is an initiative of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Muhammed Adamu, to complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police to effectively combat crime and criminal activities.
Speaking at the passing-out parade of the Community Policing Special Constabulary Officers held at Police College, Ikeja, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, appealed to all Lagosians, especially community leaders and associations to support community policing by cooperating with the officers.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, assured the Special Police Constabularies that his administration will provide everything they will require to carry out their assignment most efficiently and effectively.
He said the passing out parade of 1,250 Special Constabulary officers who have undergone series of trainings specially designed to equip them with the skills required for the job is an indication of the commitment of Lagos State Government to community policing initiative.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also congratulated and commended the chairmen and members of the State Community Policing Advisory Committee and the State Community Policing Committee for their efforts and progress that has been recorded so far in making community policing initiative a reality in Lagos State.
He said: “The issue of security and safety of lives and property have been a major source of concern, which requires deliberate and urgent attention by the government, and the cooperation of all citizens. In an attempt to address this challenge, there was a national consensus on the need to embrace community policing which has been identified as a potent strategy that will complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police to effectiveiy combat crime and criminal activities.
“I want to appeal to all Lagoslans especially community leaders and associations to support this initiative by cooperating with these officers. They are no strangers but people that are known to you within your community. Let us therefore embrace this initiative to improve security and safety of lives and property within our various communities.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also implored the Special Police Constabulary to operate within the operational guidelines that had been given to them.
He said: “You must understand that you have been recruited to perform a very important job which is about improving on the existing security architecture and making it more effective.
“Your major responsibility is to support the operations of the State Police Command through the provision of credible and timely intelligence on activities within the community which might result in perpetration of crime and threat to safety of lives and property.
“In carrying out your responsibility, it is very important that you operate within the operational guidelines that have been given to you. In recognition of the importance attached to the duty you have been recruited to perform.
“I want to assure you that the State government will accord your welfare priority attention. We will also provide everything that you will require to carry out your assignment most efficiently and effectively.”
Speaking earlier, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu who was represented at by Assistant Inspector General (AIG), Olasupo Ajani, warned the Special Constabulary officers not to see themselves as conventional police officers.
He said: “You are expected to be a link and to build a good relationship between police and the general public. As you might have known, you as Community Policing officers are very strong stakeholders in maintaining law and order and the protection of lives and property.
“You should always remember the local knowledge you were taught and make use of it wherever you may find yourselves.
“Lastly, you are warned not to wear any other police uniform except the black uniform issued to you. Do not wear blue or the camouflage uniform of the conventional police officers”
In their goodwill messages during the passing-out parade, representatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Department of the State Services (DSS), community and religious leaders promised to support community policing initiative in their various community and Lagos State at large.
2023 Polls: Okpe leaders give condition to Governorship Aspirants
· List expectations from Buhari, Okowa, others
· Decry imbalance in polity
· Task Delta State Government on Sapele Polytechnic
· Call for All Okpe Summit
Prominent Okpe leaders on Wednesday expressed disappointment that politicians in Delta State seem to be interested in the political zoning rather than the performance of the people they elected.
They said that anyone who feels that he wants to be governor of Delta State in 2023 must react to the Okpe question and issue.
‘’The Okpe Union is prepared to lend its voice and support to policies that will address the developmental challenges of the state. Ultimately, looking into the future of leadership in the state, the Okpe Union shall be open to supporting such personalities with leadership qualities and credentials that will ensure the stability and overall equitable development of the entire state’’.
In an end of year message of the Okpe Union National Executive Council, the leaders asked the Federal Government to institute structures and processes which enhance equitable involvement and participation in the affairs of the country by the component parts.
‘’We call on the federal government and Stakeholders of the Nigerian federation to take the issue of restructuring and devolution of more governmental powers to the federating units of the country seriously. We believe that it is with a restructured Nigerian federation that the current myriads of problems bedeviling the country like security and economic development issues can be resolved for progress. We also call on the federal government to revisit the issue of the Sapele Port which is the only freshwater harbour in Nigeria and therefore attractive to vessel owners the world over’’
Signed by Mr. Patrick Akpotor, President General, Barrister Kingsley Akpederin, General Secretary and Mrs. Atarhe Abuh,
National Publicity Secretary, the leaders advised Orhue 1, Orodje of Okpe Kingdom to use his wealth of experience and connections to help Delta State in general and Okpe kingdom in particular.
‘’The National Executive Council notes the fatherly advice the Okpe Union has enjoyed from the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom since the restoration of the Okpe monarchy in 1945. We thank our Orodje of Okpe, Orhue I, for his leadership and support for the national leadership of the Okpe Union led by Mr. Patrick Akpotor. As an advisory body to the Udogun Okpe which is headed by the Orodje of Okpe, the Okpe Union will continue to avail its services to the revered Okpe institution as it grapples with challenges of Okpe unity and development. In this regard, the Okpe Union looks forward to active participation in the community of ethnic nationalities in Delta State and in Nigeria as a strong voice of the Okpe Nation in collaboration with the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom vis-a-vis the articulation of the Okpe identity, development and the restoration of all aspects of Okpe heritage’’.
They stated that the 2020 National Conference/General Assembly and the setting up of an Electoral Committee to organise elections into the National Executive Council of the union in the early part of next year 2021 remained glorious achievements of the union.
‘’2020 has been a turbulent one in several regards especially from the consequences of the corona virus (COVID 19) which ended up affecting the implementation of some of the programmes that the national leadership of the Union earmarked for the outgoing year. We are however relieved that the Union succeeded in holding its 2020 National Conference/General Assembly which has set in motion a transition template by setting up an Electoral Committee to organise elections into the National Executive Council of the union in the early part of next year 2021 as well as a Constitutional Review Committee which is saddled with the responsibility of bringing the Okpe Union Constitution up to date with modern realities and developments’’.
The leaders reiterated that the stability of the union depended on a good working relationship between the headquarters and the branches.
‘’We thank the leadership of branches and members for standing by and supporting the current leadership by making the erstwhile Acting President General, Mr. Patrick Akpotor the substantive President General as well as extending the tenure of the outgoing National Executive Council by five months to avoid a leadership vacuum and enable the Electoral Committee to conduct credible national elections. The National leadership promises to complete the implementation of the various resolutions of the last General Assembly of the Union which held on the 14th of November, 2020 and to uphold the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution. We are particularly relieved with the adoption of a resolution by the last General Assembly of the Union enabling the National Executive Council as well as committees of the Okpe Union to hold meetings by employing reliable social media like WhatsApp and Zoom for meetings. This has now made it safer, less expensive and more convenient for meetings to be held to address challenges of the Okpe Union and of the Okpe Nation from time to time’’.
They harped on the need for continuous unity of the Okpe Union.
‘’The Okpe Union is the oldest ethnic union of Delta State, Nigeria. In the union over ninety years of existence, it has run its affairs as an autonomous registered organization. We enjoin all branches to remain steadfast and uphold the constitution of the Okpe Union and its traditions that have been handed over to us by the founding fathers of the Union’’
The leaders said the founding fathers of the Okpe Union held the Okpe Nation together along with the Chief Ayomanor Evwida led Udogun Okpe and initiated the process for the resuscitation of the Okpe monarchy by installing Esezi II in 1945.
‘’It is with unity that the Okpe Union established scholarship schemes during the colonial era to train Okpe sons overseas as well as to achieve several collective land mark legal victories of the past. This vision of unity and cohesion amongst members of the Okpe Union handed to us by our founding fathers must be upheld to enable us consolidate on the several successes of the past. The Okpe Union is an organisation registered with the federal government since the early colonial times with its constitution, and with registered branches and members. The Okpe Union can only be governed by compliance with its constitution’’.
They said Okpe Union had played great roles in the development of the Niger Delta region.
‘’The Okpe Union is one of the oldest ethnic Unions in Nigeria and the oldest registered one of Delta State. It was registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria on the 13th of December, 1934, after it officially took off on the 16th of May, 1930. Our founding fathers envisioned creating a platform to be a formidable voice for the Okpe people as well as mobilise the people of the Delta region to collaborate for the Development of the area. The Okpe Union has therefore worked with other ethnic Unions which were later created to ensure stability of the region. We therefore hope to continue partnering with the Delta State government, the Nigerian federal government and developmental agencies at both the Federal, Regional and State levels to achieve peace and development for the country, the region and the state’’.
Assessing Okpe kingdom’s journey in phases, the leaders stated that the union has taken a leadership role in drawing attention to the abandoned Sapele Polytechnic project.
‘’We also reiterate our earlier call to the Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa led administration of Delta State to look into the abandoned project for the establishment of the only higher institution of Okpeland, the Sapele Polytechnic project in Elume’’.
The leaders lamented the deplorable nature of roads in the kingdom and called on the authorities to see that something was done to save the situation which the rainy season complicated
‘’It is also regrettable that many of the link roads for Okpe towns and villages are still in earth road state despite the huge contributions in terms of oil and gas mineral resources in revenue generation to the federal and state governments. Both the NDDC and DESOPADEC hardly think of the rural communities of Okpeland’’ the leaders said.
They stated that the main challenge before the kingdom was the lack of synergy between the political leadership of the two local government areas of Okpeland which are Sapele and Okpe Local Government Areas.
‘’It is the desire of the national leadership of the Okpe Union to organise an Okpe Development Summit to coincide with the celebration of the founding of the Okpe Union 91 (ninety one) years ago. It has been observed that there is hardly any synergy between the political leadership of the two local government areas of Okpeland which are Sapele and Okpe Local Government Areas. Some of the over a century old road networks in Okpeland for example crisscross these two local governments. Despite the existence of link roads, moving from Sapele Council Area to the Okpe Council Area can be herculean because of their poor state. It is therefore important for the Okpe Nation to have a development summit which will bring together all Stakeholders of the Okpe Nation to brainstorm on how best to make our land achieve social and infrastructural development’’.
The leaders described Okpe language as distinct.
‘’The Okpe language is a distinct language recognised by Ethnologue which is the international body that recognises and registers distinct languages the world over. The Okpe language is the only language indigenous to Sapele and Okpe Local Government Areas of Delta State. Unfortunately, the Okpe language has deteriorated in official recognition from a government officially utilised newscast language in Bendel State times to one which has been abandoned by the Delta State Government. It is currently not a subject in the schools of Okpeland despite the mother tongue policy that it is the language of the place that is to be taught in the schools. The Okpe Union calls on all Stakeholders to join hands to rescue the Okpe language from going into extinction as the pressures hindering its development increase further. We hope that in the year 2021 and beyond, we shall all bring to the table our ideas and proposals for an action plan to save the Okpe language. We are glad to reveal to all Okpes that our traditional leader, Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe is at the forefront of these efforts to save the Okpe language’’.
They urged the people of the state to come together and work for the progress of the state.
‘’As the year 2020 comes to an end, we wish all Okpe people, and the people of Delta State and Nigeria, a prosperous new year 2021.
We remind all Okpe people throughout the world that the Okpe Nation is a unique one in Delta State. It is the ethnic nation that is most connected to the other ethnic groups in the state. The connection of the Okpe people to the other ethnicities in Delta State is highest both in terms of ancestry and history of migration as well as intermarriage. The Okpe people are therefore expected to be a force to unify the various peoples of our Delta State. We therefore enjoin all our people to always present themselves as peace builders. Our people must close ranks with the other ethnic nationalities and help our Delta State achieve its development potentials in the modern era’’.
Niger Delta leaders restate support for Buhari, Akpabio
Leaders of the Niger Delta region on Wednesday described the appointment of sole administrator in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as legal and ethical.
They also described the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio as a pride to Nigeria.
‘’We are determined to support the current effort of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Effiong Okon Akwa to sanitize the Commission and effectively develop the oil rich region’’ the leaders said on Wednesday.
In a statement in Port-Harcourt, the leaders commended President Buhari for his commitment to assisting and dealing with challenges in the Niger Delta region.
Signed by the Chairman, South-South Front (SSF), Chief John Harry, the regional leaders condemned the orchestrated attack on the person and leadership of Senator Akpabio by some misguided individuals and their backers.
They praised Akpabio for sticking to the administration’s policy of transparency and accountability, promoting the best interests of the Niger Delta people and initiating the first-ever comprehensive reform of the NDDC.
The leaders expressed disappointment that some elders, politicians and youths in the region seem to be interested in board appointment rather than the performance of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
‘’Some governors, elders and federal lawmakers in the region are not focused as we think they should on the level of development in the region. We should not quantify development of the region in terms of board appointment but in broad terms. We have to think about completed and on-going projects’’ the leaders said.
They described the calls for Akwa’s removal as puerile.
‘’As notable leaders, we are concerned with the unity and transformation of the region. We are very proud of Senator Godswill Akpabio. He has given good account of himself in politics and public life” the leaders added
High-ranking federal government functionaries, prominent traditional rulers, professionals and leaders of political parties in Nigeria are expected in Aghalokpe, Delta State on Friday, April 9, 2021.
The 70th Anniversary Celebration of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe is billed for April 9 and 10, 2021.
According to a statement by the Chairman of the 70th Anniversary Organizing Committee, Chief Kingsley Omokri, there will be Mass at the College Chapel, inspection of college premises and distribution of anniversary crested books to students of SPCC, Aghalokpe and pupils of SPCC Nursery and Primary School on Friday, April 9, 2021.
Major programmes at the gathering, Chief Omokri said, include the commissioning of renovated projects by old students, anniversary lecture, award ceremony for those that have distinguished themselves and launching of a book titled ; SPCC Aghalokpe: The Hidden Pearl of the Ethiope.
‘’There will be free medical service for the natives of Aghalokpe, Aragba, Oviri, Ekpan, Okpara-Waterside and Igun on Saturday, April 10, 2021’’ the statement said.
.’’A novelty football match between Old Boys Association of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe and Old Boys Association of Urhobo College will take place on Saturday, April 10, 2021’’ the statement added.
Founded in 1950 as the fourth secondary school in Warri Province (later renamed Delta Province in 1952), St Peter Claver’s College was the first secondary school in Sapele.
Its proprietor, His Lordship P. J. Kelly, Catholic Bishop of Benin Diocese which included Warri/Delta Province during British Colonial Times, envisaged St Peter Claver’s College as the equivalent of St Patrick’s College, Asaba, for the Catholic Community in Warri Province.
SPCC moved from Sapele to Aghalokpe in 1953.
· FOREIGN JOURNALISTS
· INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CORRESPONDENTS BASED IN NIGERIA
· NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS (Publishers, Editors, Correspondents and Reporters)
I welcome you all delegates from various branches and affiliates as well as the members of the Okpe National Executive Council to this year’s 2020 Annual National Conference of the Okpe Union. The last Annual Conference of the Union held in 2018. That of 2019 could not hold due to some unfortunate circumstances that we could not handle efficiently. We are grateful to God and to all those who have been steadfast in ensuring the continuous functioning of the Union despite several difficulties in the course of this year 2020.
2 Brief Surgeon into the History of the Okpe Union.
The Union was founded by our forefathers officially in 1930. It was registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria in 1934 under the Land(Perpetual Succession) Ordinance No. 22 of 1924. We celebrate our founders’ day 16th May of every year. The Union which started in Lagos, has grown to several towns, cities and countries of the world. At a point especially between the 1970s and the 1980s, the union could boast of no less than sixty branches. Though there has been a drawback in its growth in recent decades, we have started experiencing some revival of the Union due to increase in communication from especially new media as well as the dedication to duty of the current leadership. We hope that with the growing interest amongst our youths in the affairs of the Okpe Union, we shall achieve a turnaround for our Union.
In 2016, we agreed to relocate the Okpe Union National Headquarters to Orerokpe. The past four years have indeed been remarkable in the affairs of the Okpe Union as it is the first time that we have experienced a National Executive Council whose members are elected from the various branches in the country. The efforts to implement the relocation of the headquarters is still ongoing as the legal procedure to accomplish it is still a work in progress. The registered office of the Union is still the Okpe House, No. 65 Moshalashi Street, Obalende, Lagos. It is our sincere wish that with unity, a befitting edifice will be built in Okpe Kingdom in Delta State that will house the National Headquarters of the Union.
The Okpe Union at Ninety Years Anniversary
It is regrettable that as our union, the Okpe Union marked its ninety years anniversary this year 2020, circumstances beyond our control especially the incidence of the global pandemic, COVID 19 did not enable us to have the elaborate celebrations that we had planned. We hope that next year 2021 when the Okpe Union shall be 91, we shall have the intended celebration.
Current Challenges of the Union
The Okpe Union has several challenges at the moment. The Union is experiencing challenges of reforming it from the age long analogue ways of doing things to that of the digital information technology era of smooth interaction and communication. In today’s reality for example, it is no longer necessary for decision making process to be by physically travelling hundreds or thousands of kilometres to meet. With contemporary communication technology, members of executive and committees of organisations are able to meet in secure platforms like WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and many others without the risks, inconveniences and expenses that physical meetings entail. Delegates in this National Conference are therefore called upon to fashion out a way of breaking from the analogue past through resolutions and constitutional amendment to put the Union on the part of progress consistent with modern realities. In the same vein, sections or articles of the constitution relating to notices of National Executive Council meetings, national conferences/meetings and such others should be reviewed accordingly to enable electronic transmission and modern media as communication means. We should also consider the possibility of voting through similar means as the reality for example of COVID19 has made this necessary.
Secondly, the Okpe Union has the challenge of funding. The Union must find a way of conveniently funding its activities without the current near dependence on individual members of the National Executive Council. The current subscription from branches of five thousand naira annually is a far cry from the funding requirements of the Union.
Thirdly, though I have alluded to this earlier, the constitution of the Union needs thorough reworking for it to meet the requirements of a modern ethnic union regarding administrative structure. The Union Constitutional framework must also provide for how the various people of the communities of the Okpe Kingdom can be incorporated into the Union. This is the only way that the Union can ultimately become relevant to the Okpe people generally in contemporary Nigeria and Delta State today.
One immediate challenge currently is the transition of the current National Executive Council whose tenure is constitutionally due to end by the 17th this month November, 2020. As the NEC was not able to set up an Electoral Committee for the purpose of organising elections in our last meeting of the 29th of August, 2020, this National Conference as the highest decision making organ of our union has to set it up and also determine the transition framework that will be in charge of running the Union at the national level from the 17th of November, 2020. It is also necessary that this conference fixes the date and modalities for the next elections. Let us consider the possibility of the electoral committee which we shall set up adopting on line voting for the next elections.
I must on behalf of the National Executive Council also bring to your notice the events of the 3rd of October, 2020 in which His Royal Majesty, Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe swore in a nine member interim Committee to take over the administration of the entire Okpe Union and purportedly dissolving the elected National Executive Council. The imposed NEC is made up of two members of the Okpe Union and seven non members. The Okpe Union Constitution does not contain any provisions for such. It does not provide for any role for his Royal Majesty. As the Royal father of the Okpe Nation, we have always received advice from our Orodje. However, it is clear that our royal father by the decree of the 3rd of October, 2020, has overthrown and suspended the constitution of the Okpe Union which is a registered organisation under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its legally recognised independence. There is no law whether of the constitution, federal Act, or State law which empowers His Royal Majesty to do so. We expect this National Conference of the Okpe Union to respond to this development with all sense of responsibility so as to determine the limits of the role of our royal father in the face of the fact that the Okpe Union is a registered organisation under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its registered constitution. Allowing the overthrow of the Union is the beginning of the destabilisation and destruction of the Okpe Union which our forefathers handed over to us as independent of the Palace. We must collectively protect the respected traditional stool of the Okpe people from coming down to matters which do not fall within its legal jurisdiction. In its more than ninety years history, the Okpe Union has always had its autonomy and mechanisms of internal dispute resolutions.
Some Recent Developments in Okpeland that the Union should be abreast with.
Within the last four years, we have noticed some not pleasing developments in our dear Okpe Kingdom relating to economic development. The dwindling economic fortune of Okpeland of recent calls for urgent attention. Many companies and establishments which have accounted for the employment of our youths and teaming population have either been relocating out of Okpeland or folding up outrightly. In 2017, one of the highest employing companies in Okpeland and Delta State located in Sapele, Eternit Ltd folded up and relocated its proposed huge infrastructure installation to Emenite Ltd, Enugu for the inability of the investors of the company(which include the Delta State Government) to raise the sum of one billion naira only. Our area lost the thousands of direct and indirect jobs thereby. Similarly, Sapele City has lost the sister companies of the seaboard group. The largest of all, the African Timber and Plywood is in a sorry state now as production is hardly taking place there now despite the reported take over by the Delta State Government. The exact investment structure of the company is currently shrouded in misery. If properly structured and managed, we believe the African Timber and Plywood Company, Sapele can employ a large number of our teaming youths. The NTA Amukpe has ended its operations reportedly because of seven hundred thousand naira for equipments. Many smaller companies and enterprises have gone under too. The factors militating against the growth of smaller enterprises in Okpeland include poor power supply as well as the current activities of government backed touts who harass vehicles bringing goods to and from the area especially Sapele on the pretext of stickers and other charges. It is said that trucks from different parts of the country are scared of bringing goods to our area and many a time ask that the goods will be dropped at neighbouring cities.
Another area that is disheartening is the abandonment of the Sapele Polytechnic, Elume which the Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration approved and commenced construction. We hope that there can be a strong resolution here in this National Conference today to call on all our Okpe politicians to close ranks to project a common front to the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to revisit the issue of the only higher institution proposed for Okpeland.
Also it is shocking to realise that the entire Okpe Local Government Area still does not have a bank. The bulk of the salaries of council workers, primary school teachers, the Udogun Okpe accounts, and the several towns and villages around Orerokpe are sufficient to attract a commercial bank to Orerokpe if we can get the political, traditional and trade union leadership of the area to act in concert.
To improve job creation and enhance economic activities in Okpeland, there needs to be a multi faceted approach. The power sector has to improve, the conduct of our youths has to encourage investors and the agricultural sector like palm trees, cocoa, fish breeding, livestock and the like have to be exploited. The Okpe area has comparative advantages in many of these areas and the hydra headed problems of unemployment and poverty have to be addressed from this robust perspective. I urge this confidence to table a strong resolution calling on the government of Delta State as well as the administration of the two local government councils of Okpeland to intervene in the issue of hindrances to businesses regarding free movement of goods to and from , the Okpe Kingdom which have brought down businesses enterprises and activities in the area. The Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration of Delta State needs to revisit the matter of the proposed Sapele Polytechnic as there is yet to be a higher institution in the two local government areas of Okpe Kingdom.
About Some National Issues in Nigeria.
Permit me to address a few issues that are of national relevance in our country Nigeria. On the recent End Sars protests nationwide, we urge both the federal and state governments of our country Nigeria to achieve synergy in ensuring that the Nigeria Police Force is restructured in such a way that guarantees the protection of lives and property of Nigerians while at the same time respecting the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians. The issue of police reforms must be taken holistically.
Of great importance to the country at large and especially to areas in the country with so much water resources is the current controversial Water Resources Bill at the National Assembly. Firstly, it is a misnomer for there to be an attempt for the central government in a federal system to make provisions for a legal framework which attempts to cover the entire field of water resources management. That can only be tolerated in a unitary system. One problem of the Nigerian governance system is that after transition from military administrations in Nigeria which are basically unitary with concentration of powers at the centre, we as a country neglected to firstly restructure the country to a federal system. The adoption of a new imposed constitution is not sufficient in getting back the country to a federal system. The existing water resources legislations have already violated the federal nature of the Nigerian system of government. Much of the contents of the controversial Water Resources Bill like control of rivers and other water bodies as well as underground water are purely within the jurisdiction of the state governments and communities of the local government councils. I urge this general assembly to pass a resolution calling on the various ethnic nationalities of Nigeria especially those of the Niger Delta to close ranks and present a common front not only to prevent the passage of the current Water Resources Bill but also to evaluate existing ones which have already violated the agreed federal principles for the governance of Nigeria at independence.
What should be immediately done by the this National Conference and Branches of the Okpe Union.
As the President General of the Okpe Union elected along with us the other members of the outgoing National Executive Council on the 17th of November 2020 Union, Chief Robert Onome, has accepted the imposition of an unelected interim Committee to take over the affairs of the Union in contravention of the constitution of the Okpe Union, this general assembly of the branches of the Union should act decisively to save the Okpe Union.
The Okpe Union constitution provides as follows:
“The Union shall not be governed nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the government of the Union or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of this constitution”.
The road to the disability and destruction of our union has begun if strangers to the Okpe Union are permitted to take over the union. The Okpe Union is an organisation which has membership. It is not every Okpe person that is a member of the Okpe Union. The reported interim National Executive Council by the Orodje decree of the 3rd of October, 2020 has only two members of the Okpe Union out of nine. By the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution, such members who have permitted themselves to be part of what overthrows the Okpe Union constitution are guilty of gross misconduct. This conference is called upon to look into this too. The Okpe Union Constitution has no provisions for the role any external powers within or outside Okpe Kingdom. This National Conference must be decisive in protecting the Okpe Union.
To buttress the need to act firmly, it is important for us to understand that we have a duty to reach out to our royal father, the Orodje whenever we are not happy with any of his decisions.
Believing in the Divine rights of Kings which presupposes that kings make no mistakes and therefore cannot change their decisions at this age is not supportable. The dark notion Divine Rights of Kings has been condemned to the dustbin of the dark age. It is even a burden too heavy for monarchs as it will restrain them from correcting errors which they later realise thereby causing their societies underdevelopment. This account for the incidence of modern monarchies being transformed into limited offices. They only reign but never rule now. This explains the refusal of successive governments of Nigeria since 1976 to provide constitutional governmental roles for traditional rulers in the Nigerian constitutions.
For immediate attention is the matter of transition. I had earlier alluded to the fact that the tenure of this outgoing executive is to end in three days time which is precisely the 17th of November, 2020, this National Conference being the highest decision making organ of the Okpe Union, is duty bound to put in place a transition template which includes the setting up of an electoral committee to organise an election for a new National Executive Council of the Okpe Union. The outgoing National Executive Council could not set up the electoral committee in the last NEC meeting where this Annual National Conference date was fixed. A Union of the status of the Okpe Union worthy of its name and history cannot afford to permit a vacuum in its leadership.
Lastly, delegates need to know that all the trustees of the Okpe Union registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission have passed on. This conference is required to approve other names of prospective Board of Trustees members for subsequent registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja.
Once again, I welcome delegates to this auspicious gathering of representatives of the Union from various branches. With unity, we shall surely realise the dreams of our forefathers who founded this Okpe ethnic organisation to protect the interests of the Okpe people.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to “urgently instruct Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to withdraw the proposed executive bill to amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] Act, which if passed and signed into law will severely undermine the commission’s independence, and render it a ‘toothless bulldog or toothless tiger’.”
The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption headed by Professor Itse Sagay had last week reportedly raised concerns that “the government is pushing a bill to amend the EFCC Act, 2004, which will demolish the anti-corruption infrastructure of Nigeria, and confer an enormous power of control of the anti-graft agency on the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.”
In the letter dated 19 September 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The bill, which is apparently designed to undermine the independence, integrity and freedom of action of anti-corruption agencies, ignores the seriousness of grand corruption and its impact on Nigerians’ human rights, the rule of law, principles of good governance, development, as well as the threat corruption poses to the country’s constitutional order.”
According to SERAP: “By pushing to turn the EFCC into a department in the Federal Ministry of Justice, and effectively bring it under the control of the Attorney General; and to subject the appointment of the agency’s head to the approval of the Directorate of State Security, your government would seem to indicate that it is not interested in combating corruption and halting its putrefying effects.”
The letter, read in part: “We would be grateful if the requested action and measures are taken by your government. Should the proposed bill be passed and signed into law, SERAP would take all appropriate legal actions to challenge its legality, in the public interest, and to ensure that anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria can operate independently and effectively.”
“SERAP contends that Nigeria’s constitutional and international legal obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone inevitably create a duty on your government to establish independent and efficient anti-corruption mechanisms.”
“This bill is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”
“SERAP notes that corruption threatens the injunction that government must be accountable, responsive and open; that public administration must not only be held to account but must also be governed by high standards of ethics, efficiency and must use public resources in an economic and effective manner.”
“Under the proposed bill, the limited independence that the EFCC enjoys will be substantially undermined, as the commission will now effectively become a body of the executive government, thus creating heightened risk of political interference in the work of the commission.”
“The government would seem to be secretly pushing the proposed bill to amend the EFCC Act, as there is no public consultation or public hearing regarding the contents of the bill.”
“Specifically, section 15 subsection (5) of the Constitution requires your government to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.”
“Similarly, articles 6 and 36 of the UN Convention against Corruption require your government to ensure the existence of an anti-corruption body specialised in preventing corruption and combating corruption through law enforcement which must be granted the necessary independence and be able to carry out its functions effectively and without any undue influence.”
“Further, articles 3 and 5 of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption require your government to respect human rights, the rule of law, and promote social justice, as well as establish, maintain and strengthen independent national anti-corruption authorities or agencies.”
“SERAP is gravely concerned that the proposed bill by your government will endanger the commission’s independence and integrity, as well as seriously undermine its ability to effectively prevent, investigate and prosecute cases of grand corruption and economic crimes.”
“The repressive Companies and Allied Matters Act [CAMA] 2020 was rushed through the National Assembly and passed apparently without any public consultation or public hearing. This secretive approach to passing and signing legislation is antithetical to any basic notion of the rule of law and democratic governance.”
“According to Professor Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, your government is reportedly pushing a bill to amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] Act, 2004.”
“The committee has stated that ‘the Executive Chairman of the EFCC will be replaced with a Director-General who is effectively to be appointed by the Attorney-General.”
“‘Section 11 of this proposed bill provides that nobody may be appointed or seconded to the new Agency being proposed, unless he is first screened by the Directorate of State Security and approved by the said Agency. Under the proposed Act the Annual Report of the EFCC is not to be submitted to the National Assembly until it has been passed through the Attorney-General for onward transmission to the National Assembly.’”
SERAP therefore urged President Buhari to:
Urgently instruct Mr Malami to withdraw the proposed bill in the public interest, and to publicly commit to upholding the independence, integrity and effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in the country, including the EFCC;
Publicly uphold constitutional and international standards on the independence, integrity and effectiveness of anticorruption agencies, including the EFCC;
Take meaningful and effective measures to promote and strengthen the independence and effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in the country, and ensure that they are free from any undue influence;
Ensure that heads of anti-corruption agencies are appointed through a process that ensures their apolitical stance, impartiality, neutrality, integrity and competence
For more information or to request an interview, please contact Kolawole Oluwadare on: +2348160537202
SPN CALLS ON NLC AND TUC TO HARMONIZE THEIR MOBILIZATION AND STRIKES OVER THE STRUGGLE TO REVERSE PETROL PRICE AND ELECTRICITY TARIFF HIKE
SPN ADVOCATES SUSTAINED WARNING GENERAL STRIKES AND MASS PROTESTS
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) reiterates its condemnation to the recent hikes in petrol price and electricity tariff; the increase in petrol has seen price move up from N148 per litre to N162 per litre while electricity tariff has been increased by over 100%.
The Central Working Committee (CWC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have issued two different ultimatums to the government that could lead to indefinite strike actions and mass protest. The TUC had earlier had their NEC meeting and resolved to issue the federal government a 7-day ultimatum to reverse the price of petrol and electricity tariff failing which indefinite industrial actions and national protest will begin on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. On its part, the NLC arising from its CWC meeting on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, had issued the federal government 14 days to reverse the hikes in electricity tariff and petrol price without which indefinite strike will commence on September 28, 2020.
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) welcomes these responses of the two trade union centres (NLC and TUC) but we call for harmonisation of both responses. We call on the Ayuba Wabba led NLC leadership and Quadri Olaleye led TUC leadership to meet to harmonise their positions. There is the need to bring the full weight of the trade union movement to bear in the struggle that lie ahead.
We urge the NLC to mobilise their affiliates to join the nationwide protest being planned by the TUC on September 23 and the TUC should also do same for the NLC action starting on September 28.
We call on NLC and TUC to be prepared for a protracted struggle, and not a quick dash. SPN is advocating, as a first step, a definite 48 hours general strike, with an active nationwide mass protest that will involve the trade unions, pro-labour organisations and community organisations in mobilizing and taking important decisions regarding the struggle. An indefinite general strike poses the question of power and the working class must be adequately mobilized around an alternative socialist program to achieve the goal of attaining power and transforming society to meet the needs of all.
We have had at least 9 general strikes in the last 22 years over petrol price hikes and yet the price has moved from N20 per litre in 1999 to N162 per litre, a whopping 700% increment. Petrol and electricity price hikes should not be seen in isolation from the entire neo-liberal capitalist policies, it is part of a pro-rich economic agenda that undermines the interest of the vast majority working masses. If capitalism is not defeated in the long run, the working masses will constantly come under attack of different magnitude and dimension.
Hence, we advocate the forming and building of a pan Nigerian mass working class political party armed with a socialist program by workers, youth, trade unions, artisan groups and pro-masses organisations to challenge the bourgeois political parties (PDP, APC etc). This is the only way the working class will sustainably fight and win political and economic freedom. SPN is prepared to be part of all initiatives aimed at emancipating the working masses from slavery and economic crises.