Between Buhari’s ‘Good Governance’ and Participatory Democracy

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

The expedition by General Muhammadu Buhari to give Nigerians good governance is giving a deep cut in the head from the way he is going about his government. His mind’s debate figuratively centres on which aspects of governance he should give the constituents.

 

His debate can be seen: He categorically believes that fighting corruption is the best part of governance that he has to promote. Buhari’s sojourn to the Europe and USA to assist him fight the monster called corruption may be seen as a miscalculated efforts.

 

This is said because these foreign continents or countries will not help in that aspect neutrally. They must seek for what their countries must take home as remuneration to their efforts. This is where Buhari has started showing administrative crisis.

 

It is palpable that Buhari has been expressing grievances against the government that he succeeded, without any advancement in harnessing sustainable human development over two months he took over the helm-of-affairs.

 

While he is bent on holding the other government to account, he is invariably losing better policies, by not empowering his government with cabinet members since May 29, he took over. One is not sure whether Buhari thinks that Nigerians should not demand for equitable and sustainable policies; that it is his sole right to do whatever he likes with Nigerians, at his own pace.

 

This is neglecting justice of abuse! It is essential to pinpoint that Buhari has abused and distorted governance to advance his government interest, which have not allowed Nigeria to flourish since two months now. This is neoliberal agenda that Buhari is showcasing to Nigerians, just the same way foreign investors and governments are mounting pressures on him to pursue policies that are in tandem with their rapaciousness.

 

Buhari is unaware that good governance is not mouthing and clattering about fighting corruption, but about its capability to deliver people-oriented government that is based on achieving the people’s fundamental Human Rights. Good governance is not about making reforms for foreign countries to hold Nigeria accountable than Nigerians.

BuahriJONATHAN

Buhari has succeeded in making sure that an aura surrounds him, since he was declared the winner of this year’s presidential election. That aura is that many people think that he is still the military Head of State and not, a democratically elected president, due to his carriage and utterances.

 

One is poised to ask where transparency, accountability, participation and responsiveness exist in this government except the marginalisation of the people not to be represented in the cabinet. What Nigerians are seeing is a government that is nationally and internationally creating dimensions for itself, whereas the affairs of the communities are gasping for breath.

 

General Buhari, without doubt, is dwelling his energy at-a-large on what went wrong with Nigeria and not, what to do next. He is fighting and struggling between two things, which are how to give the people good governance and how to fight the so-called corruption that has bedeviled the country.

 

It is not expected that Buhari will be a successful leader, because his training as a military personnel, makes him focus on the country with bigoted mindset, which is hinged on his past failures and not actually on what he had achieved. (If there was any achievement as a military Head of State).

 

Obviously, Buhari has centered his energy on how to fight corruption, as if that is the height of giving the people good governance, without actually harnessing the root cause of corruption. Sadly, Buhari is focusing on the destination and not, the journey.

 

It is not about individuals being hounded and quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on daily basis since Buhari assumed power, but about putting every necessary measure in place to checkmate further practice of dishonesty in the country. It is sad that Buhari is depending on his eyes, when his imagination is out of focus. His presence rather makes democracy complex than it was assumed to be simple.

 

Nigerians can see that much blame on the woes that have befallen Nigeria, have gone to former President Goodluck Jonathan from Buhari, than to the shabbily Constitution which the military created, of which Buhari was once a Military Head of State.

 

It would be better put that the fear of failing in governance has made Buhari to fail already, because there is the decline of civility: He has no trust for the public and corporations. He believes that everybody is corrupt and he is the only incorruptible person in Nigeria. He has made his government to assume a harsh dimension inlure of tranquility, which is an exceeding mode of state.

 

Let Buhari know that Nigerians need the right kind of governance and not actually the Buhari’s effective governance. Buhari should eschew seeing governance to represent politics and public administration alone. He should see governance to represent economy, state and society.

 

He has to stop creating complexities in the economic, cultural and political interactions for the exaltation of his government. It is pointless for Buhari to expect a general answer to ‘good governance’ when political scientists are having a problem to define an ‘ideal form of governance’.

 

The “Good Governance: A New Public Managerialism” by Coskun Can Aktan and Hayrettin Ozler on February 6, 2009, states: Since Socrates and his student Plato, philosophers and practitioners have been searching for the best way of governance, a morally mature community and the best form of state.

 

The story goes further that Platon in his works, “the State”, “Politics” and “the Law”, contemplated on the ideal state and ideal political governance. He also couldn’t help to pose the question: “who guards the guardians?” Indeed, the states and governments in history usually based their power on coercion rather than persuasion in order to derive the consent of their subjects. Even policy sciences as a scientific branch of politics search for policies to have people conform to rather than searching for ways to increase public control over policies.

 

Are these not what General Muhammadu Buhari is doing?

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

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UNEP rescues Ogoni

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

The Ogoni people are in shadow of the negative impact of crude oil explorations by multinational oil companies in their land. The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Plc (SPDC) is at the centre of the environmental degradations that Ogoni is suffering till date.

 

The company operates in Ogoni without any development or implementation of environmental assessment methodologies. It does not take into account the economic, socio-cultural and conservation values of the environment in Ogoni.

 

The observation with Environmental Impact Assessment Laws is zero, so also is the implementation of health safety and environmental management systems and quality assurance control, as oil production begins in the Delta in 1956.

 

While Ogoni Suffer

Nigeria as a colony of the rapacious British Empire, the imperialist gives the SPDC the unlimited right to explore crude oil anywhere in Nigeria. This Right is given in 1937. Scrutiny is that not less than $700 billion profits are made by the FG from results of oil exports to foreign countries since 1960.

 

An inference is that 2,976 oil spills have been recorded in the Delta between 1976 and 1991. The SPDC does not give a hoot to launch inclusive waste management programmes or put-into-practice a continually update of fully operational oil spill prevention programmes. The Ogoni people suffer environmental risk assessment. They experience ultimate results of accidents as regards to lack of mitigation measures.

 

There is hardly any design for National oil spill contingency plan for control, containment, and cleanup. Ogoni being the third party among the FG and the SPDC, do not experience a review in practice to effectively address in a timely manner the damage oil explorations are causing the area. Gas flaring is a scourge in Ogoni.

 

Ogoni voice are heard

Twenty-five years ago, a voice emerges among the sons and daughters of Ogoni; a people in the Niger Delta region with a population of close to 832,000 (according to the 2006 National Census) and covering close to 1,000 square kilometres in Rivers State, southern Nigeria.

 

A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) examination characterises Ogoni as the third largest mangrove ecosystem in the world. An internationally acclaimed writer, satirist and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa emerges from this ‘mangrove’ in 1990.

 

He is peacefully protesting against the oil pollutions and severe environmental degradations in Ogoni, being caused by the oil companies, especially the SPDC. The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) is born and is one organ through which the activist informs the entire world of what the people are suffering in the hands of the oil companies and the Nigerian military government.

 

In that regard, Ogoni Bill of Rights is created. This is the people’s self-determination manifesto, to streamline the activities of the foreign oil companies in the area; the Bill also helps other ethnicities in the Niger Delta region, to formulate manifestos around the activities of the oil companies in their respective communities.

 

With MOSOP being led by Saro-Wiwa, over 500,000 people joined in the struggle, in protest against the ruinous activities of the oil companies, especially the SPDC. In 1993, the once untouchable SPDC, which is in collaboration with the FG to taint Ogoni-land in the name of oil explorations, is coerced to stop drilling in Ogoni.

 

Ogoni intimidated

With Nigeria in the hands of the military, the SPDC lies against Saro-Wiwa and his staunch cabinet members numbering eight, of murder. The Nigerian military government does not give Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine a civil trial, having had them arrested in May 1994.

 

They are condemned and are executed in 1995, upon international communities’ outcry. Aggrieved by the decadence of their land and preceding several extra-judicial killings in Ogoni conspicuously engineered by the FG, a matter is instituted against the SPDC at the court, which after a lengthy legal battle of 14years, the SPDC succumbs to pay $15.5 million, regarded as remuneration for the families of the deceased persons.

 

United Nations intervention

Not satisfied with the money paid by the SPDC, Ogoni people are bickering and tinkering that their polluted land must be cleaned up; an issue that the FG is lackadaisical about till the intervention of the UNEP.

ban ki moon

(Ban Ki Moon)

It is palpable that with the UNEP in Ogoni, the FG has been on policy to conserve biodiversity in order to sustain the use of forest resources. It is also bent on preserving benefits accruing from soil, water, and wildlife conservation for economic development.

 

Nigerians express cheerfulness when the country’s priority programmes include the extension of National Parks and Reserves and the compilation of the flora and fauna. The Nigerian Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) is on top of these reviews.

 

What the FG is doing

The activities of the Nigerian government in the area of protecting the atmosphere include wiping away the utilisation of ozone depleting substances (ODS), monitoring background atmospheric pollution and the total column ozone, data bank automation, a greenhouse gas inventory, climate change research and training, promotion of environmentally friendly energy practice, and participation in the Global Environment Monitoring Systems (GEMS), since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

 

The UN is hammering against the sources of gaseous emissions, a situation the FG promised on Friday, 25 March 2011, that it has set agenda for ending gas flaring and unveiled what is regarded as “ambitious $10bn gas revolution” and to create 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.

 

The FG made this disclosure during the formal launching of the Gas Revolution in the country. Then President Goodluck Jonathan, says: “Today’s event marks the beginning of what I believe will be a fulfilling journey towards the restoration of Nigeria to the league of nations which have successfully leveraged on the advantage derivable from the abundance of natural gas, to positively impact on the lives of present and future generations of their citizens.”

 

Warning to Nigeria

The UN, however, benchmarks 2010 for compliance to end gaseous emissions. Reviews on emissions that include those of vehicles, generating sets, and aircraft are fad. The UN through its agency such as UNEP, is creating awareness campaigns at all levels that Nigeria should make use of adequate effective technology, ensuring efficient energy use, maintain effective databases on industries and their compliance status, maintain a register of technologies, vehicles, generating sets, aircrafts, introduce and enforce emission control certificates for vehicles, generating sets, and aircraft by 1999, eliminate ODS consuming processes, enforce laws relating to the siting of new industries, install a minimum of primary treatment for all new industries, build secondary central treatment facilities in all major industrial estates in cities such as Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Port-Harcourt, Warri, Ibadan, and Enugu by 2005.

 

The Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform – an arm of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs – continues in the above to ensure that in Nigeria, there is 100% waste segregation, recycling and re-use by 1999. The platform also enlightens Nigeria to promote research in Best Available Technology Effective for Local Adoption (BATELA), make eco-labelling compulsory for all products by the year 2000, promote commercialization of sanitary landfill and incineration as appropriate, encourage citizen empowerment in pollution control, introduce green technologies and promote Environmental Management Systems (EMS) in all industrial facilities, create an environment fund for soft loans as economic incentives for environmentally friendly industries, and promote tax rebates for industries installing pollution abatement facilities.

 

 

UNEP report on Ogoni

Ogoni people are in a bid for a second round of their struggle, but UNEP shows commitment in making sure that the environmental degradations caused by the multinational oil companies in Ogoni is resolved.

 

It is a request by the FG that the UN agency investigates the extent of pollution in the region. The UNEP report, on presentation to then President Jonathan, is adjudged the most detailed scientific study on any area in the Niger Delta.

 

The presentation of the report is made to President Jonathan on August 4, 2011. The UNEP criticises the SPDC and the Nigerian government for contributing to 50 years of pollution in Ogoni-land. The report of UNEP details that 10 out of the 15 examined sites which SPDC has said it has wholly remediated, still has pollution above the SPDC and government remediation charges.

 

UNEP report finds out that, what the people takes as potable water has carcinogens, such as benzene, up to 900 times above World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. The report also reveals that at some places in Ogoni-land, the soil is polluted with hydrocarbons to a depth of five (5) metres.

 

The report further confirms that the neglect of environmental pollution laws and sub-standard inspection techniques of the federal authorities have led to the complete degradation of the Ogoni environment, turning the environment into an ecological disaster. Therefore, UNEP holds that one billion dollars should be spent to clean-up Ogoni.

 

UN innovation

The intervention of the UNEP saves the Ogoni from the damning neglect it is suffering over forty years and brings the attention of the world to the area. The report confronts the FG and the oil multinationals with the perils the Ogoni people are suffering, because of their nefarious activities in the land.

 

The report makes the world to truly understand that the once supported productive farm lands the people enjoyed, fishing and related activities, are all damaged by the incessant pollutions that are being experienced in the area, which compels the people to gumboot SPDC out of the place 25 years ago.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

 

Before Diezani goes to prison

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

The name, Diezani K. Alison-Madueke, is making wave in the media since 2013, but in the wrong direction, especially in the social media. Anyone who does not review an issue before buying into it, would take the criminalisation of the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, to be true.

 

One does not read in-between lines these days on the name, Diezani K. Alison-Madueke, without seeing a mention of this stolen billion dollars or that laundered billion naira associated to it. Her issue had kept some of us in the media thinking.

 

The irony of it was that you would also read that she left for the London or USA or Germany to plead with the international community to beseech on her behalf, so that Major General Muhammadu Buhari, would not imprison her.

 

The recent nuisance making the rounds on her name was that she was begging to refund a certain billion dollars to Buhari, in order to allow her be. Then, one is flummoxed to ask, why the criminalisation of Diezani K. Alison-Madueke who until her tenure as Minister of Petroleum Resources, never plunged the country into fuel scarcity, especially during the season of yuletide.

 

This scintillating beauty called Diezani K. Alison-Madueke (Nee Abiye-Agama) born 6 December 1960, had always distanced herself from such devious accusing fingers on her. One is not sure if it is only in Nigeria that this woman is a ‘criminal’ because as the first female President of OPEC, elected at the 166th OPEC Ordinary meeting in Vienna on 27 November 2014 and sundry, this international body is not accusing Diezani K. Alison-Madueke of pilfering into its coffers as the president.

 

As once Nigeria’s minister of transportation on 26 July 2007 and was later moved to Mines and Steel Development in 2008, until her appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources on April 2010, Diezani K. Alison-Madueke was the perfect minister of all. It was on quote that Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.

 

What might be working this far against Alison-Madueke was propaganda. But in Nigeria, one is forced to say that tribal ulcer and cancer are the worst. There is yet to be democratic civilisation in Nigeria. As if he was the Auditor General of the Federation, the first person to cast the dye against Alison-Madueke, was the loquacious former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Lamido Sanusi.

 

Sanusi was saying that there was missing $20 billion oil money, without giving recourse to how the Nigerian state had explored crude oil from the South-East and South-South zones, since 1956 and the north benefitting from the proceeds since 1967 it bounced on superintending Nigerian affairs, without any commensurable development in these zones.

 

Rather, the northern accomplice, West, started deafening our ears through its propaganda media, of how the north had been impoverished during Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, as if northerners have not ruled Nigeria for nearly 40yrs, and the outcome of their rule is the poverty we can see around the country till date.

 

Sanusi did not care to tell Nigerians and the international community of how his fellow Northerners have grown fat with the oil proceeds in the Niger Delta. It’s obvious that 90% of oil blocs in the Niger Delta, were being controlled by northerners.

 

The northern propaganda machine against Alison-Madueke, cooked up by Sanusi, sold that lie to the minds of unsuspecting Nigerians, that Alison-Madueke was a ‘thief’. The question many of us are asking is, was it Alison-Madueke who certified the oil blocs from the Niger Delta to some northern personalities like Rilwanu Lukman, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), Abduklsallam Abubaker, Danjuma, and the rest of others?

DiezaniAlisonMadueke

(Diezani Madueke)

What the Sanusis would not see about Alison-Madueke, it was the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu who last year saw the good works that Alison-Madueke was doing in office and wrote a full-page essay on her, published in The Sun.

 

Kalu classified Alison-Madueke as (1) The Quintessential Minister of Petroleum Resources and, (2) The Mother of Local Content. In his wisdom, Kalu attested to, that Alison-Madueke had done very well in line with her occupation.

 

We know that Kalu doesn’t clap for the wrong things. He appraised Alison-Madueke as one Minister of the industry who had expressed clear dignity to work from the day-one on her duty post, by localising and indigenising the industry, particularly as it matters to the local content proposal.

 

However, when the Jonathan presidency opened up on the audit report by PriceWaterHouseCoopers (an independent firm) on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money, it was obvious that Alison-Madueke was vindicated. Although, the report which had been ready since September 2014, was not published, but a highlight of it relayed by the then presidency, did not indict Alison-Madueke.

 

(Wait for Part 2).

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

Clerk, Tompolo and the economic terrorism in South-East and South-South

Clerk, Tompolo and the economic terrorism in South-East and South-South

 

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

The other day, Chief Edwin Clerk who is regarded as Ijaw leader having also served as Minister for Information, advised General Muhammadu Buhari not to allow the amnesty programme instituted for the purpose of rehabilitating ex-militants in the Niger Delta to go on errand.

EdwinClerk

(Edwin Clerk)

Just immediately this news filtered into the air, came another that Government Ekpemupolo, the former Commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), popularly known as Tompolo, has called-upon ex-militant leaders in the area to an emergency meeting.

 

What was wretched about the meeting was how the media presented Tompolo in its press briefing. In some quarters, we read that the meeting was being summoned because of Buhari. After reading that biased side of the news, one was compelled to address the issue, so that the group is not cited against Buhari.

 

While any form of unlawful approach to national issues is bad, one does not think that the MEND and its leaders do not have a right to convene a meeting given sections in the Constitution which allow for free gathering, as far as the intent is not to cause public disorder.

 

The Federal Government has always underestimated the importance of emergency planning to develop the South-East and South-South. The weakened-MEND’s intent could probably be in favour of Buhari government and should not be looked at through the periscope that the so-called ex-militants who are mainly from the Niger Delta, are planning against Buhari government.

 

Let someone say it loud that crude oil in the Niger Delta area is the way of life of Nigeria. Yet, successive Nigerian governments have not tolerated and dialogued with the many demands of the people. Look at the politics of UNEP Report in the polluted and devastated Ogoni-land.

 

TomPolo

(Tompolo)

The Nigerian state only has opportunities to double its revenues accruing from the Niger Delta, but not to triple-check the developmental needs of the people. The Nigerian government had not done conspicuous things to protect the people of South-East and South-South from the poverty it’s superintending and imposed on the two zones which are the eagles that lay the golden egg that Nigeria is greedy for.

 

If we think that terrorists have no concern for human life, what do we make of the Nigerian government that is only interested in the oil in the Niger Delta and not to develop the area? This is the terrorism the Niger Delta people are experiencing in the hand of the Nigerian state. The truth is that there are people who support the economic terrorism that the South-South and South-East are experiencing in Nigeria. The irony is that such people or groups think that they never got involved in terrorist attacks and are looking up to North-East. This is the big problem!

 

The economic attacks of the South-East and South-South christened national cake, is shaking the foundations of the zones biggest buildings. Someone is looking for terrorists in the North-East undermining what the national government is doing in the Niger Delta, yet, championing that the foundation of Nigeria cannot be uprooted.

 

The MEND’s resolve might not be to go back to the creeks again, but to address the economic sabotage the Niger Delta has been enduring under the Nigerian state since oil was found in the area in 1956. Who could believe that Buhari is seeking for loan to rebuild the so-called ravaged North-East by Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri Islamic terror merchants, but no one cared to rebuild Biafra land, (comprising Niger Delta) ravaged by the renegade Yakubu Gowon-led Nigeria.

 

Buhari is today talking about probe, but it will be the height of corruption to single out Dr. Goodluck Jonathan government for probe. Buhari should probe the 90% Niger Delta oil bloc that’s managed by the Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri people for over four decades now. Buhari has to also probe those who made this oil a national cake, without making their cows, groundnuts, farmlands national cake, either.

 

Singling out Jonathan government for probe, will also be an aberration of a saintly locus standi, since the probe is centred on the ‘missing oil money’. Like the goons called terrorists that do everything to get all of the planes down out of the sky, especially the one that collapsed the towers of the World Trade Center, the Nigerian government has unwittingly watched the collapse of the Niger Delta area through its economic terrorism in Niger Delta. Thousands of the people from this area are being killed as a result of the federal government’s economic sabotage of the area. The federal government has used isolation to break the South-East and South-South spirits.

MEND

(Ex-militants)

The media should tell the world that MEND, perhaps, is in a meeting now to sustain Niger Delta for its own existence, so that the area will not be extirpated by the environmental degradation the federal government has caused it. The federal government might send troops of soldiers as it once deed against a people in a struggle for ‘Resource Control’ and call it military and diplomatic onslaught, but the federal government cannot stop the people from airing their minds on the predicaments they are suffering in Nigeria.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

What is Ikpeazu doing about the Roads in Abia?

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

It was the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Abia State, Mr. Godwin Adindu, who made it known: That the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu had directed that any illegal structure in Aba, the much touted commercial city across the Niger, would be demolished.

 

Ikpeazu’s determination towards the decision was hinged as part of the government efforts to earnestly give the Enyimba City, a facelift it so deserves. Apart from that! What has solemnly endeared the governor to the people since then is that he gave property owners in the Aba conurbation and the general public a notice in that respect, and did not take the people unaware.

ikpeazupics

(Gov. Ikpeazu)

Ikpeazu’s worry and resolve to rebuild Aba, has born Aba Urban Renewal Office. This may be part of compute to fight dishonesty in the Aba area, which is the enemy of development and of good governance not only in the state, but across the country. It could be seen that the governor wants to get sleaze rid of, anywhere it exists. This is his administration’s objective; and the people can be seen coming together to help the governor achieve his vision for the state.

 

In Adindu’s press briefing, “The property to be demolished include but not limited to buildings on service lanes, illegal shops, illegal fences and such other structures that constitute a blockade to the free flow of traffic and drainage.”

 

It is obvious that the people have started to enjoy the government of Ikpeazu, no matter who has taken the election that declared him governor to the tribunal, no matter who is making assassination claims in order to rubbish the reputation of the governor.

 

One observation is that Ikpeazu and his team are very bold, yet humble, in the state ambitions. It’s perceivable that Ikpeazu is on a mission to win the fight against poverty in Abia State and progress on moral standards in government and society, hence to develop a formidable foundation for good governance.

 

One area that the governor has launched himself to the public no matter who is crying otherwise is that Ikpeazu has a penchant for character change in the politics of Abia State in order to give a fertile ground for reforms. Abia people and Ndigbo at large are known for their abstemiousness against radiant rubbish. They have also wisdom to balance a sensible thinking. And this is perceived to be what Ikpeazu is showcasing in Abia State within his few days in office, not minding the agents of distraction.

 

Those that followed Ikpeazu and his speeches during his electioneering campaign would attest to the fact that he has started rebuilding Aba, as he had promised. With his move, there may be good governance in his administration. Ikpeazu is without doubt pursuing governance in the state with eager feet, hands, head and most importantly, unrepentant squad for change.

 

Knowing that road is a progress, ever on and on, Ikpeazu has started showing that Abia wants progress and, it is progressing. He is in a bid to get nearer to the place where Abia people want to be. His body language suggests he knows that going forward will get the people nearer to their destination: The right road.

 

As part of his vows, from Over-rail in Aba to Abiriba in Ohafia Local Government Area of the State, Ikpeazu’s name resonates loud. A recent visit to Omuma axis of Aba, the testimony among the Keke NAPEP occupants was that Ikpeazu would do better.

 

It is conspicuous that with his years as a scholar, Ikpeazu has acquired enlightenment in the long road of difficulty. He had promised to commission the Abiriba ring road in Ohafia, within his first 100 days in office with street lights and adequate drainage, and the people of Abriba are testifying to that.

 

It calls for celebration that within Ikpeazu’s first week in office, he is showcasing about five agendas that include trade and commerce, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure and environment. But his first 100 days in office was orchestrated towards road construction and rehabilitation.

 

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is showing to the world that development and good governance are not actually based on a state that has the best economic growth, but wider views and committed spirit of the pilot to work. With the governor’s liking for freedom of communication, hence the works he has started doing in Abia State that Nigerians can see.

 

Of a truth, Abia people should give the governor the maximum support that he needs to pilot the affairs of the state. They should not be like an investor who doesn’t have hope that the government he (investor) is investing in will pay back its debt.

 

Abia State should eschew a crisis of confidence, no matter who is citing Ikpeazu against the people. Abia people should not have negligible patience in Ikpeazu. He needs the people’s overwhelming ideas to rebuild his energy, just as he is putting enough energy to rebuild a place like Aba.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

UNAIDS checkmates HIV/AIDS

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

There is apprehension in Nigeria over the number of people living with HIV/AIDS. Only in Taraba State, approximately 110,849 people are living with the virus. Yet, only 27, 000 are currently receiving treatment. And at the national frequency of 3.5 million, only 700,000 are currently on treatment.

 

The National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Mr. Edward Ogenyi, made this known to the media on June 29 2015, in Jalingo, at the origination of a five-day Demand Generation Activities for HIV and AIDS Service Uptake in Taraba.

ban ki moon

(Ban Ki Moon)

Information from the United Nations (UN) designate Nigeria, as a principal in the number of children having HIV/AIDS, with her 60, 000 children contracting the disease as of 2012. The source shows that more than 34 million people are living with the viral disease globally, while Nigeria is the second highest in the world.

 

Intervention

The UN in 2000, first set goals to combat HIV. And fewer than 700,000 people received fundamental medicines. The international body made sure that fewer than 800,000 of the 3.2 million children living with HIV worldwide had access to antiretroviral medicines in 2013.

 

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS reveals that global asset in HIV goes up from £3.1bn ($4.8bn) in 2000 to more than £13bn ($20bn) in 2014. The statement goes further that the global answer to HIV forestalls 30 million new HIV infections and almost eight million AIDS-correlated deaths since the millennium.

 

Within the confines of the time, latest HIV infections falls from 2.6 million per year to 1.8 million and AIDS-associated deaths go downstairs from 1.6 million to 1.2 million. It is conspicuous UNAIDS sets to get HIV treatment to 15 million people by the end of 2015, which it says has already been met, while it targets 2030 to end the AIDS epidemic.

 

Prevalent of HIV/AIDs

The UNAIDS checkmates the Nigerian Government and says that Nigeria is being half-hearted in committing in the neighbourhood of resource allotment to wrestle the disease, adding that sites all over the world providing services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV increased from 675 in 2010 to 5,622 in 2013.

 

The irritation, the body says, is that there is lack of leadership at state level to address the issue in a realistic way. The UNAIDS discloses this through its country Director for Nigeria and the UNAIDS Focal Point for the ECOWAS, Dr. Bilali Camara, at a training workshop on May 25 2015, on the determined 90-90-90 treatment target.

 

Dr. Camara opines that foreign donors provide $600m (N118.2bn), which represents 50 per cent of the funds required for the treatment programme, while Nigeria provides 25 per cent of the funds required; the body adds that the fund is nauseatingly laughable to close the treatment gap in the country.

 

The UNAIDS target for 2030 to eradicate the scourge, Nigeria is unlikely to be following. Dr. Camara reiterates that Nigeria needs more domestic funding to successfully undertake HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country. The Taraba government approves of N500 million to fight the blight in 2015, but hope of hounding the bane is dim with such a repulsive fund by the government.

 

Tackling transmission

The UNAIDS is in top gear in inspiring the world to accomplish its united hallucination of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

 

It unifies the exertions of 11 UN organisations – UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank, and works closely with global and national partners – to augment effects for the AIDS reaction.

 

The UNAIDS in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), the former says that Nigeria requires $1.2bn (N236.4bn) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS in the country.

 

The UNAIDS and Airtel Nigeria nonetheless, on 19 February 2015, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to purge Mother-to-Child spread of HIV in Nigeria, at the Corporate Headquarters of Airtel Nigeria, in Lagos.

 

In its humanitarian gestures, the UNAIDS stops at nothing to assist any partnership with the NACA, other government agencies and the Civil Society, to advance Nigeria’s struggle at purging mother-to-child spread of HIV.

 

Dr. Camara, says, “Eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV and keeping their mother alive do not only improve the wellbeing of children and their mothers. They impact positively on the general maternal and child survival.”

 

Save Nigerians

Looking for a way to save Nigerians’ lives, the Federal Government (FG) under the presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on 16 October 2012, commences an initiative with the tag, Saving One Million Lives by 2015.

 

The occasion is well attended by representatives of UN agencies, governors, ministries and many dignitaries. Then President Jonathan, says, “Saving One Million Lives will be the new yardstick for measuring health sector performance in Nigeria.”

 

Jonathan understands the porous nature of the health sector and is looking for ways to curb the menace of which the initiative is one. The FG keys in on the UN Secretary-General’s Every Women, Every Child campaign geared towards cultivating international thrust on child and maternal survival.

 

There is the UN Commission on Life-saving Commodities for Women and Children. There is also an Abuja conference on indispensable commodities; part of a promise the UN Commission renews, recommends and implements on Life-saving Commodities for Women and Children.

 

“The Commodities Commission recommendations and implementation plan – issued in New York – stated that with increased supply and demand, as well as correct use of 13 specific commodities, more than six million lives of women and children across the world could be saved by 2015,” reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

 

Innovation

The UNAIDS walks round the clock in making sure that Nigeria is not left behind in the global target against HIV/AIDS. On 27 February, 2015, during the world commemoration of the Zero Discrimination Day, the UNAIDS shows its support for Nigerian government’s obligation to ending stigmatisation of/and unfairness against people living with HIV.

 

Dr. Camara, says, “I would like to thank the National Assembly for crafting the humanly sensitive bill and President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the anti-discrimination law. This law is a big boost to improving Nigeria’s AIDS response because it gives back human rights and dignity to people living with or affected by HIV and ensures that the country ends the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”

 

It is palpable that if not for the pressure by the UNAIDS on the country, the HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act 2014, would not have made it illegal to discriminate against people based on their HIV status. The UNAIDS goes around, supporting such law in order to achieve a more compassionate environment for people with the virus to go about their lives normally.

 

In June this year, the UNAIDS and the UNICEF, sensitise people of the “Reformulated HIV treatment” which they say, will save more children’s lives. In a joint statement issued by the bodies recently, quotes the UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Michel Sidibe, as saying that treatment innovations, such as the one that replaces unpleasant and bad-tasting medicines, are a real breakthrough.

 

Mr. Craig McClure, UNICEF’s Chief of HIV/AIDS section, says, “We expect the medication to greatly improve treatment access for more children and support UNICEF’s equity-focused programming aimed at reaching the most disadvantaged children throughout the world.”

 

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, says: “The world has delivered on halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic. Now we must commit to ending the AIDS epidemic as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

 

Amnesty: A battle between ex-militants and Niger Delta

By Odimegwu Onwumere

 

There is a quiet war of supremacy between the entire informed Niger Delta people and the so-called ex-militants from the oil rich region, due to Amnesty Programme instituted for former Niger Delta militants.

 

This surreptitious battle between the land and the people was intensified as soon as General Muhammadu Buhari recently appointed P.T. Boroh, a retired brigadier general, as the Coordinator of the programme, replacing Kingsley Kuku.

BuahriJONATHAN

(Buhari *left*, Jonathan *Right*)

While a minute number of Niger Deltans christened ex-Militants are enjoying and their arrowheads benefiting immensely from the programme, the entire Niger Delta land remains besmirched by environmental degradations caused by government oil exploration activities.

 

This programme might have brought peace to the minds of those whose aim was perhaps to cause uproar and then wait for ways to benefit from the troubles they caused, but there is yet to be peace in the entire oil producing communities of Niger Delta.

 

Imagine that the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report only on Ogoni is yet to be implemented since 2011 it was handed over to the then presidency of Goodluck Jonathan. The UNEP report whispered that only for Ogoniland, it required an initial capital injection of US$1 billion to clean up the pollution caused by the Nigerian government in collaboration with oil companies in the area, which will take 35 years to achieve.

oil exploration

(Oil pollution in Niger Delta)

That was coming after the UNEP team engaged in a 14-month period examination of more than 200 locations, surveyed 122 kilometres of pipeline rights of way, reviewed more than 5,000 medical records and engaged over 23,000 people at local community meetings in the area.

 

And, here is the government talking about amnesty when the entire Niger Delta is in ruins. While the so-called ex-militants and their cronnies are smiling fat due the amnesty programme, the country’s oil production stands at over 2.6mbpd, as against 700,000bpd, when the militants disturbed oil production activities in the region.

 

It was the then Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, and co-ordinator of the Niger-Delta Amnesty programme, Kingsley Kuku who made this known.

 

Kuku added that the government had saved 2.6million barrels of oil daily which respectively amounted to N6trn since the beginning of the amnesty programme. Did you hear that? The amnesty programme is invariably not for the gains of the Niger Delta people but for militants, owing to the unruly disposition they have held against the Federal government of Nigeria and the oil firms.

 

It is obvious today that the minute number benefiting from the amnesty programme would not want the international pressures that saw to the implementation of the programme to be lengthened to the resuscitation of the Niger Delta; where people are being killed daily by intractable diseases as a result of pollutants they have come to live with consistently around the residences.

 

Hardly are the people talking about the wellbeing of the entire Niger Delta region, but the welfare of the ex-militants and their cronnies. That there is amnesty in the Niger Delta does not mean that peace is now reigning. What many of us had expected was how to sustain the entire Niger Delta communities and not the deafening approach freshly heard on how to sustain and strengthen the amnesty programme, thereby there is a total negligence of the hen that layed the golden egg.

 

Much as we know, the Niger Delta will outlive the amnesty programme. So, the question today is how long the programme shall last, whereas the people and their land are suffering untold ruins accruing from negligence that has metamorphosed to total decadence in the Niger Delta. Whereas the so-called ex-Militants want an unambiguous pronouncement on amnesty quota system, Niger Delta region hence suffers inattention from the federal character.

MEND

(Ex-militants)

The ex-Militants are today regarded as Survivors and not Criminals, courtesy of former president of Nigeria, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who on assumption of office in May 2007, included the Niger-Delta as part of his administration’s seven-point agenda. The effect of the programme is the economic terrorism the federal government has continued to embark on the Niger Delta to the detriment of the farming lands and rivers in the area, while massaging the backs of a few persons with the poppycock named amnesty programme.

 

It will be foolhardy for somebody to say that the programme has realised its purpose. Then, you ask, which purpose? The purpose of selecting few persons for trainings and whatever somewhere whereas their land is being damaged for economic interests in the hands of government?

 

Just as telecommunication companies continue to build their heavily laden radioactive masts around neighbourhoods circulating cancer and other obdurate diseases and pay the residents pittance for allowing them lands to build their masts, it is true that the arms-struggle that was once experienced in the Niger Delta saw to the institutionalisation of the Niger Delta Ministry and a talk on 13% Derivation Fund, but in earnest the Niger Delta Ministry has become Niger Delta Misery. It is titular! Just there in name, but not people and land oriented. Go round the Niger Delta and weep, but millions of dollars were said are paid to ex-militant leaders for handing in their weapons to the government in 2011.

 

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.

Tel: +2348057778358

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com