Wike: Rivers APC Fighting A Lost Battle Over Assumed Jonathan’s Comment

By Odimegwu Onwumere

A great man or group is not destroyed, defeated or deterred by the past. But this is not the same with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State since it lost the much hyped 2015 gubernatorial elections in the state, of which it had anticipated would be in its favour. Since then, this defeated political party in Rivers has been clattering clandestinely irritating songs of destruction, defeat, and determent in order to cite the public against Governor Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike.

{Wike During 2015 Rivers Guber Campaign}

Only those with discerning spirit would understand the depth of self-political damage the Rivers APC has been going through, yet it does not want to own up. This branch of the bungling political party at the federal level that has stranded Nigerians today with its hoodwinking ‘change’ mantra has been biting anything on its way like a wounded dangerous snake on the run. This glaring ham-fisted political party in Rivers has been sounding like a derailed one that has lost focus but still wants people’s attention with irrelevance it has been dishing out against Wike.

The Rivers APC recently made a remark against Governor Wike and former President Goodluck Jonathan. The remark has however shown that the APC in Rivers State is either ashamed to accept the trampled of its life that Governor Wike gave to it as the then Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) governorship candidate in the 2015 gubernatorial election in the state. The APC barefacedly accused Jonathan while he was of late commissioning the Nkpogu Bridge in Port Harcourt, as part of the second year anniversary of the Wike administration, saying that he imposed Wike as governor on Rivers State as against the wish of the residents.

On the contrary, this is fictitious and blatantly nuisance oozing out from the abandoned and proud APC that came with ‘change’ mantra at the federal level but has held Nigerians and the entire world spellbound with misleading and counter-misleading features not expected of a sound democracy. The APC if perchance had won the Rivers guber elections, would have plunged the state into inglorious affairs just as its parent body is doing at Abuja, the seat of power, with mis-governance and turning democracy into a hoax. It was the Rivers APC Chairman, Chief (Dr.) Davies Ibiamu Ikanya who replayed what he heard that Jonathan said at the event in the media. Nevertheless, some of us who know Ikanya and had related with him on a personal ground, would attest to the fact that he was a gentleman, soft-spoken and a self-acclaimed cleric. Then again, his stance politically, saying that the Jonathan’s comment has exposed the APC’s somewhat earlier stand that the residents of the state didn’t vote for Wike, makes him (Ikanya) a scriptwriter against the wish and application of the Supreme Court of the country that acknowledged Wike governor of the state against all odds that the APC wanted Wike out as governor.

{Amaechi and Jonathan}

We could remember that before the January 27 2016 victory of Wike at the Supreme Court, the Ikanyas had on May 30 2015, when the matter was still at the lower Court, saying, “We remain confident that the Election Petition Tribunal will do the needful and sack him (Wike) accordingly in view of the materials submitted to them, in view of the immorality associated with his occupation of the Government House and in view of the outcry of the people of Rivers State that he does not have their mandate to serve as their governor.” But the Supreme Court on that faithful of January 27 2016 judgment sent the Ikanyas packing with the statement pointing out that Wike was denied fair hearing at the Appeal Court, which had on December 16 2015 affirmed the judgment of the Rivers Governorship Election Tribunal against Wike. With this, it’s not surprising that the Rivers APC celebrates shame the same way divorce makes headline in the recent times. If not, Ikanya would have lacked the locus standi to accuse Jonathan (only that Ikanya was acting on emotions) and note that upon his accusations that Jonathan made Wike governor against Rivers residents’ wish, yet, Wike won the Rivers APC in the APC-controlled Rivers State under the ex-Governor Chibuike Amaechi government, Wike won in the APC-controlled Supreme Court and, Wike won in the APC-controlled Federal Government of Nigeria.

If Ikanya was insinuating that Jonathan apparently used the federal might during the Rivers guber elections for the emergence of Wike as governor, is the Rivers APC which Amaechi is the leader and Ikanya, the chairman, not ashamed that it could not oust Wike in the APC-controlled River State under Amaechi then and now, under the APC controlled Federal Government? If Wike had won at the Supreme Court in a PDP-led federal government, Ikanya would have been saying that Jonathan influenced the court. All the same, before 2014 that Wike and Amaechi had fallen out, the later who was Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum had vowed that Wike would not be governor.

Amaechi even swore with the matrix, “Over my dead body”. Amaechi gave his preposterous defense, saying that Wike who was then the Supervising Minister for Education and he, belonged to the same ethnic group. Yet, Wike defeated Amaechi upon the swank and upon that Amaechi was Governor of Rivers State. Therefore, Ikanya should stop saying that Wike has become a disaster since “Jonathan made Wike governor”. Maybe, Ikanya wanted us to note that with the political precedence between Wike and Amaechi in the state, the former has become indestructible, upon all the perceived plots by the Amaechis to outsmart Wike. But if Ikanya meant ‘disaster’ in the true meaning of the word, we shall come to that.

The truth is that APC is dead in Rivers, a hard truth that the Ikanyas are finding hard to accept hence their extraneous tantrums against Wike. Well, before Ikanya would paint Wike black, let’s take a little retrospection on Amaechi whom Ikanya would at all cost defend as a saint when he reigned as Governor of Rivers State and now. Amaechi ruled Rivers State with unprecedented unedited words and flagrant exposition of his rascality laced with his un-anticipation of becoming who he is today given his once desolate and inconvenient family background. If at all Wike has become a disaster in the state, his would never surpass Amaechi’s, who brashly took the then PDP’s flag from the then acting National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Mohammed, to contest in the April 26 2011 guber elections, under controversial circumstances.

When the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Rivers State was crying that the April 9 2011 National Assembly (NASS) elections in the state were marred by massive electoral fraud, and called for the cancellation, Amaechi and the likes of Ikanya were dancing alanta against the crying party. The Amaechi’s ‘disaster’ continued as his men were declared winners of all the elective positions in that year. In the 2011 elections in Rivers State, Amaechi saw the then Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega as a good man whereas no one listened to the APGA that was shouting that Amaechi was playing the Kangaroo in the politics. Tamunosisi Gogo Jaja, running mate to Sir Celestine Omehia, Rivers State APGA’s gubernatorial candidate in 2011, addressed newsmen and was disappointed by what was called ‘peaceful elections’ in Rivers State, by INEC and Amaechi.

Ikanya should remember that Amaechi and Jega refused to investigate the Rivers 2011 elections, even when Gogo Jaja said that it was saddening to say that electoral irregularities took place in Anambra Central Senatorial Zone, Bayelsa and Delta States, compared to what played in Rivers State. And Jega investigated these mentioned places, without Rivers State.

Ikanya should also remember that Mr. Jerry Godfry and Mr. Precious Barido, who were the state chairman and secretary of the APGA complained in a statement both of them signed of police brutality and criminal intimidation by Amaechi-led government officials during the elections, even as Jaja insisted that the April 9 2011 NASS election showed that the then Amaechi-led Rivers PDP had the highest rigging propensity in the country. Yet, Amaechi continued with his alanta dance ignoring whoever.

What else is the meaning of ‘disaster’ under Amaechi as governor? Ikanya should remember that the INEC said in that 2011 that Amaechi polled 1,178, 529 votes to ‘defeat’ his opponents in the gubernatorial election. The candidate of the APGA, Celestine Omehia came ‘second’ with 112,528, while the ACN, Abiye Sekibo ‘got’ 60,240. Declaring the ‘results’ in Port Harcourt, the Returning Officer in the state, who’s also the Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Joseph (Ajienka), said that 1,401,464 votes were cast, 141,4064 were valid and 27,995 were rejected.

Yours Truly had written after Wike won the 2015 guber elections, saying that: Even though that Wike may not be a better option for Rivers State, it behooves on all residents of Rivers State to advise Amaechi to cover his face in disgrace and stop crying foul. Amaechi is no longer dancing alanta because he feels that someone who knows the game better than he had thought he knew has outsmart him and took the trophy.

{Davies Ikanya}

If the ‘disaster’ that Ikanya meant was about criminal gangs we hear of their activities in some parts of the state, we might revisit how they operated in the state under Amaechi as governor. The truth is that Amaechi as governor, whom some of us supported and criticized, lost touch with residents of Rivers State and became the Lord of Manor that must be venerated and worshiped. Wike nonetheless saw this in 2014 and had to buy the minds of the residents while addressing newsmen during the commissioning of his Governorship campaign office in Port Harcourt, and the APC in the state was afraid to present a guber candidate because of Wike. Although Wike defeated all the governorship aspirants at the PDP primaries in November 29, 2014 through a controversial means. But all of that have been quashed by the Supreme Court. The Ikanyas have shown that they do not respect the Supreme Court, when they continue to say that Jonathan imposed Wike on Rivers State as against the residents wish.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Tradition Illiterates {POEM}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

As a people,

we no longer understand ourselves better.

Our cultures that made those before us

understood each other better

have been pummeled.

{ Ofo na Ogu: The Epicenter of The Igbo Cosmos}

We have lost our memories,

since we lost our cultures.

Now,

we have no future,

no cultures and traditions

to shape a better society

of our future.

Mahatma Gandhi tells me:

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts

and in the soul of its people.

In our case,

we were directly and indirectly

being indoctrinated to have contempt for

and disrespect our cultures and traditions.

As a good teacher knows

the importance of connecting with the students

Ndigbo would’ve been better

with our aboriginal cultures and traditions.

We no longer have them in our hearts and souls;

we have turned cultures and traditions illiterates.

{© Odimegwu Onwumere; May 23 2017.}

 

Meningitis: Nigeria Kidding with Local Production of Vaccines

Successive government at all levels had raised the issue of opening local production of vaccines many times that never saw light of the day. However, with the outbreak of meningitis and the recent call by health workers for vaccine production in the country, the government may not turn a new leaf given its antecedents, Odimegwu Onwumere writes

What will it cost Nigeria to produce vaccines?

“This Meningitis outbreak shows that the Ministry of Health has no solid plan of action to help prevent such widespread outbreaks. It is disheartening that here in Nigeria, we wait until there is an epidemic or an outbreak before we start running helter-skelter to try to manage it,” cried out Dr. Nini Iyizoba, a contributor to national and international health discourses.

Iyizoba’s thoughts came when over 8,000 cases of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, CSM, and about 800 deaths were reported in Nigeria by April 17 2017, amidst were 336 children. This precarious disease that was reported late 2016 with the authorities showing lackadaisical attitude, escalated this year, especially in the North-west and North-central zones, compelling the once ostensible lame-duck authorities to pronounce it as contagion in six states of Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Sokoto and Yobe – informed the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

According to science, meningitis is a serious disease in which there is inflammation of the meninges, caused by viral or bacterial infection, and marked by intense headache and fever, sensitivity to light, and muscular rigidity; and most affected age group is 5-14 years of age. The source added that those in whose hand it’s to handle such a case were motiveless given that, “Meningitis is quite common in sub-Saharan Africa and countries like Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Chad, Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso etc which make up the ‘Meningitis Belt’.”

Apart from the 2016-2017 presence of the disease, health establishments educated that this is not the first time that the country was experiencing meningitis. “In 1996 alone, Meningitis killed more than 11,000 people in Nigeria. In 2009, almost 600 people died. In fact, just two years ago, a meningitis epidemic affected almost 10,000 people and killed over 1,000 people in Nigeria.  And now, again, in 2017, it’s happening all over again,” enthused Iyizoba, adding, “How can we not be prepared? Why should we be caught unawares? It is occurrences like these that make people theorise about the lack of empathy for the poor or average Nigerian life.”

Failed promises on vaccines

Experts have judged that if there were local vaccine production plants in the country, it is apparent that the number of the affected would not have risen as drugs would be at doorsteps to help in the outbreak. But over the years the authorities have deafened people’s ears that they would be building drug plants and manufacture vaccines in Nigeria that never come to be. Hence, Nigerians have taken the government’s overtures on production of vaccines in the country aftermath of the epidemic as a tale by moonlight.

Many believed that what the authorities have always preferred was what it did recently: Buy and share drugs. In the voice of Iyizoba, “About 500,000 doses of Meningitis C vaccine have been distributed to affected areas in the North for immediate vaccination. Approximately, another 800,000 doses are being expected from United Kingdom to help support the ongoing vaccination programmes. That brings the total to about 1.3m vaccine doses for a country that has a population of over 180m people.”

In several occasions, individuals and organisations such as the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) have pleaded with the federal government to redirect its focus on local production of vaccines. But the government wouldn’t do this given the many years it had been clamouring for erecting vaccines and drug production plants in the country.

The government would always prefer to import vaccines even when there were suggestions that the Federal Vaccine Laboratory, Yagba, can help Nigeria vaccines-wise go a long way if reinvested in. Before its comatose condition, this outfit produced vaccines that were sent to foreign countries.

Many failed calls on local vaccines

In July 2013, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), had called on the federal government to gear up in producing domestic vaccines, but that call seemed unattended to.

NMA’s call was in order to curtail the sprinting of hepatitis in the country, which was viral. It was the then President of the association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele who made the call on the occurrence of the 2013 World Hepatitis Day. It is evident that the call died immediately it was made.

Even when Dr. Enabulele made it known at the occasion that hepatitis virus A, B, C, D and E were accountable for the millions of death in the country, because they caused sensitive and unremitting infections and inflammation of the liver, the government did not bellyache.

Failed attempts to produce vaccines

In June 2012, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the local production of vaccines with an aim tailored towards everyday accessibility of routine vaccines in the country. While Jonathan might have meant well for the health sector with his government taking-off with Biovaccines Nigeria Limited, which was a joint project company between Federal Government and May and Baker Nigeria Plc, that project did not meet the direction it was intended to reach. If it had reached, the health sector and the government wouldn’t be gasping for air on where to get vaccines for the control of outbreak of meningitis in the country as they are doing today.

At the opening of the Health Canada-NAFDAC Mentorship Launch aimed at building the Agency’s capacity in the area of vaccine regulation on March 26, 2013, the then Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii said that the country was ready to start local production of routine immunisation vaccines for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis/whooping cough (DPT), polio, measles and yellow fever. With these words by Orhii – “We want to start manufacturing vaccines. We are starting on a right footing of vaccine production in Nigeria by beginning with capacity building of NAFDAC officers” – up till now, there is nothing on ground to show for the mouthing.

From the month of June 2012, there was expectancy that Nigeria would have a world-class vaccine plant where the production of Yellow Fever vaccines would be fad in 18 months, but this expectation also bit the dust.

Lying on vaccines

Opinions were that the government has been toying with the hope of Nigerians of benefitting from a well designed local vaccines production, given the statement by the MD/CEO, May and Baker Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okaforthat could not have come to pass till date.

“Our job is to revive that entity using our knowledge, expertise and resources to produce and distribute vaccines in Nigeria once again and consequently end the era of 100 per cent dependence on foreign vaccine producers to immunise our citizens against vaccine preventable diseases that ravage our society.”

Okafor made it known that the requisite industrial capability had been attained. But Nigerians have been wondering why they still gasp for local vaccines today, if that target has been met. Hear Okafor again, “Our major priority now is to commence local vaccines production as soon as possible. The Biovaccines business plan is being reviewed and will be presented to the Board as soon the latter is constituted. We plan to commence construction of a new vaccine plant at the new site in Ota, Ogun State with a view to starting production of Yellow Fever vaccines within 18 months.”

Millions of money that never produced vaccines

The initial plan for the vaccines plant in Ota was to give hope in Nigeria that there would be enough and quality vaccines that are also secure and inexpensive, and create job opportunities for Nigerians.

Okafor even captured it thus: “By going into local vaccine production, Nigeria will be putting the health security of her citizens in its hands. Immunisation is a national health security issue. No country can afford to leave the health security of her citizens in the hands of foreign organisations.

“The venture would also save Nigeria substantial savings in foreign exchange and logistics costs of vaccine importation. Currently, the federal government spends over N6 billion to import vaccines every year, excluding what is imported by states and local governments.

“Local vaccine production will ensure Nigeria’s participation in an industry that is at the cutting edge of science by helping to transfer technology to Nigeria and build capacity for primary healthcare delivery.”

It is hoped that the federal government would stop making further overtures on local production of vaccines but just go into action.

Odimegwu Onwumere is based in Rivers State. He contributed this via apoet_25@yahoo.com

 

Because S/he Is Married {POEM}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Because he is a married man
We leave him bereft of love.

Because she is a married woman
We leave her bereft of love.

We become selfish in the ways
We express and show love to each,
Even in the ways we accept love
Because traditions and cultures
Make us believe the taboo
Of showing love to the married.

The married man travels overseas
And courts as many spinsters as possible

While the wife at home
Becomes an outcast if she accepts love
From the men in her neighbourhood.

Love and time cannot be hidden
Only cultures and traditions
Tell us who we love, and the time to love,
Whereas in our hearts, we are battling with desire.

© Odimegwu Onwumere (May 18 2017).

Our Heart Of Love {POEM}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Okafor Franklin Ekene tells me on Facebook:
The eye can see love
But true love belongs to the heart.

Robert Green tells me in ‘Seduction’:
We are bisexual,

only cultures and traditions
checkmate our impulses.

We have seen many loves
we didn’t express
And do not forget.

Our hearts are a museum of love affairs
And only the heart knows where our love belongs.

We share similarities with each other
Yet yearning for great love our heart envisages.

© Odimegwu Onwumere (May 18 2017).

Thin Line In Love {POEM}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Like a vehicle running in-between a gutter
Our love stands in-between a thin line.

We are afraid not to break the thin line
Since we discerned we are in love.

We are afraid to cross the thin line
That most times, we stay for weeks
Without speaking to each other,
And do not forget each other.

It is a love founded on truth and great passion
But the thin line is a hitch and we cannot break it.

She sometimes provoke me to go my separate way
When she is dying of fountain of passion herself.

She is happy and I’m happy that we love each other,
Only the thin line is holding our love not to totter.

© Odimegwu Onwumere (May 18 2017).

Apparition {POEM}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

We heard he sent a letter to the Senate

On January Nineteen Two Thousand and Seventeen.

The Senate didn’t see him but saw his letter;

He then left for London for a Ten-day leave,

To treat himself.

He stayed for over Fifty days,

Showing care to us in attitude,

Not in action, through his messengers,

Whereas the country is bereft of action.

Some who visited him in London

Said he spoke to us.

We only heard his message

But did not hear his voice.

They told us that he was back,

And we waited to see him

On TV address us, to no reward.

To continue to reddish-purple us

They showed us pictures of him

Attending a Mosque,

When no one else

Confirmed seeing him live.

They continue to tell us that

He’s fit and healthy to rule us

But he took another leave

On May Eight Two Thousand and Seventeen,

For London.  Another leave? Now indefinite.

The dismaying aspect is that

He speaks to a few persons

Who see him – {he doesn’t see?}

Not everyone has entrée to him

Since the painted shell began to rule us.

Now our country has gone down

The same way of his failed health.

The apparition has become vanishing dew

And a great mystery of our time.

© Odimegwu Onwumere; May 8 2017.

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com