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Emeka Ihedioha, Rochas Okorocha Disgraced at New Yam Festival…… + Okorocha is an embarrassment to democracy- Prof. Viola Onwuliri



Irresponsible, demeaning, distasteful and lawless are words that best describe the show of shame following the needless altercation between Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and Deputy House Speaker, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, at the Iriji Mbaise New Yam Festival, over the weekend. So bad was the situation that President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented at the event by Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, described Okorocha as an embarrassment to democracy and a disaster waiting to happen! Okorocha countered that Imo people have rejected Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because they are worse than the Ebola virus. The Mbaise nation was apparently angry that Okorocha engaged Ihedioha – a son of the soil – in their home turf. The ensuing pandemonium saw Okorocha’s microphone switched off, as people jeered the governor while he spoke. This, to say the least was embarrassing and disgraceful. It is an unbelievable shame that underscores more the culture of intolerance that has crept into the public space. Honestly, the people of Imo State deserve better!

The willful transformation of the 2014 Yam Festival into a political rally of sorts with the governor and the Deputy House Speaker, fighting for supremacy is shameful and unacceptable. One of the hallmarks of political maturity is civility and tolerance. By this unjustified expression of intolerance and bad manners, Okorocha and Ihedioha have brought Mbaise people, Imo State and the entire nation into disrepute, going by their cavalier showmanship, intemperate feistiness and reprehensible waywardness that characterized their utterances at what was supposed to be a cultural jamboree. This was a great disservice to efforts at rebranding Nigeria. Whatever might have informed the torrid exchanges, the actions of the two men; who by virtue of their authority positions and power are supposed to exercise restraint, was a mockery of the admonition that two wrongs don’t make a right.

The shoddy manner, in which the event organizers handled matters, leaves much to be desired even as there was no love lost between Okorocha and the Mbaise nation. Receiving the governor to Mbaise, Ihedioha fired the first salvo, pointedly telling Okorocha that he (Okorocha) would as a matter of necessity hand over to him in 2015, noting that the governor’s exit was not negotiable. Ihedioha also held the governor to task on what he described as “lack of state government presence in Mbaise.” According to Ihedioha, “the major projects in Mbaise are those executed by the federal government. In the few areas credited to the state government, we only see projects that are very poorly executed…It is evident that the governor has run out of ideas, so as a matter of expediency, it is expected that he would hand over the reins in 2015 so we can help out.”

Responding, a visibly angry Okorocha said: “the green cap (referring to Ihedioha’s trademark cap) will not make anybody governor of Imo State and as a matter of fact, there is nobody in the Imo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who is my match in an electoral contest. My three years in office is more productive than the 12 years spent in the state by the PDP. Imo people have rejected PDP because PDP is worse than the Ebola virus.” As he continued his tirade, the microphone was switched off; and went dead again when he said he had laid the foundation for a campus of the Imo State University to be sited in Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency. The crowd booed and jeered dismissing the university as a political gimmick informed by expediency.

The brigandage and confusion degenerated into a free for all between Okorocha’s supporters and those of Ihedioha, but security agents on ground stepped in and whisked the governor away to safety. While many believed Okorocha fled the event long before the breaking of kola nuts and the address of the president, his supporters said he left for another assignment.

From Ihedioha’s perspective, the palpable perception of leadership failure and the deficit in delivery of public goods to Imo people by the Okorocha administration might have culminated in a loss of faith in the governor. But the event was not the appropriate forum for Imo people to wash their proverbial dirty lining in public. Rather, there was no better time than the New Yam festival to rediscover those binding ethos of the Mbaise nation as an integral part of Imo State. The brigandage therefore, amounted to a mindless circumvention of the community spirit and essence of the festival. Trading invectives and casting banal aspersions on each other, at an event that is supposed to showcase those values that define Mbaise nation and Imo State in general, was most inauspicious and must never again be contemplated or tolerated.

It bears restating that what played out could be a prelude to “do-or-die” elections in 2015; especially as the blame game has continued. Professor Onwuliri told journalists after the event that Okorocha was not interested in the festival but just came to create confusion and derail the event. She said: “Since Okorocha assumed office in 2011, he has never attended the Iriji Mbaise until this one that precedes the election year. This is not the ground for venting personal animosities. He even left before the actual ceremony began. He just brought trouble to the event and this is an embarrassment to the state and its people. I am positive that by 2015, we will all have a chance to redress this anomaly.”

Ihedioha, reacting to an Imo state government statement, asking him to apologize to the governor for the embarrassment and disgrace at the event, instead asked Okorocha to apologize to the Mbaise people for defiling their custom and tradition. “The deputy speaker and other Mbaise leaders believed that it was the governor who actually owes the Mbaise people an apology for disrupting the event after coming late in his characteristic manner and defiling the treasured cultural values and tradition of Iri Iji Mbaise,” a statement by Chibuike Onyeukwu issued on behalf of the deputy speaker said.

Ihedioha discounted as a blatant lie, the claim by Imo state government that he did not welcome the governor to the event, noting that though Okorocha had ulterior motives for attending the festival after spurning invitations in the past three years, he still gave him the courtesy of welcoming him as chief guest of honor. The statement clarified: “It is on record that the deputy speaker did not only welcome Okorocha to the event but also enjoined him to accept the kolanut offered to him as chief guest of honor. Ihedioha said Okorocha’s recourse to attacking him simply confirms the fact that “the governor holds him (Ihedioha) in trepidation and is at a loss as to how to address his growing popularity and acceptance among the Imo people vis-a-vis his (Okorocha’s) fast declining rating among the people.”

While the point is to be made that there is enough blame to go around, it can only be to the utter shame and ridicule of Mbaise nation and Imo State as a people unable to get their act together. Apart from underlining the low quality of leadership in Imo today, it simply reinforces the cynicism of outsiders about Imo citizens who have largely become a band of docile and complacent people, who concur in the despoliation of their land by their passive indifference and cold complicity in the face of reckless, arbitrary and criminal dissipation of their commonwealth by corrupt, inept, clueless and lawless leadership. Imo State should not be embroiled in such destructive, distractive, unhealthy and volatile disputations rooted in ego-offensive personality cults, the type that is setting other states on fire and creating cleavages and tension. A man’s public comportment after all, is a reflection of his character.


– Huhuonline

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Oando Clean Energy, Cross River State, Sign MoU on Renewable Energy Infrastructure




Oando Clean Energy (OCEL),  the renewable energy business subsidiary of Oando Energy Resources and the Cross River State Government have  signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the rollout of electric vehicles for mass transportation within the state at the ongoing 28th edition Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The move in setting up an electric vehicle (EV) assembly plant, is expected to create jobs for local indigenes as well as build a 100MW wind plant for power generation.

Representing the Governor of Cross River State, Bassey Otu at the MoU signing was the state’s Commissioner for Special Duties, Oden Ewa, saying the landmark agreement marked a significant step forward in the state’s journey toward a cleaner and more sustainable future. He said: “The MoU paves the way for the transitioning of our mass transit system to cleaner and less expensive fuels while also allowing for the use of our natural resource, wind, to provide electrification for our people.

“I commend Oando Clean Energy for their innovative solutions that address the impact of climate change in Nigeria and her citizens.”

According to Oando , it said,  as  a company, it has committed to ensuring that this journey to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future is as seamless and as easy as possible.

“This is by putting our confidence in, not only the technology but the partnership and ensuring that the Cross River State government and her people reap the benefits of generating power from sustainable sources”. The statement read.

Oando’s Clean Energy’s scope spans the entire 35 states of the federation and the federal capital, promising to create a cleaner, more viable energy ecosystem for Nigeria and the  people of Cross River.

In attendance at the side event were amongst others, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh;  Minister of the Environment, Abbas Balarabe;  Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Kunle Salako; Commissioner for Special Duties, Cross River State, Mr. Oden Ewa, among others.

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House Of Representatives Issues Warrant Of Arrest On Central Bank Governor, Cardoso, Accountant-General, 17 Others




The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Petitions has asked for a warrant of arrest to be issued on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Oluwatoyin Madein, and 17 others over refusal to appear before it to answer questions on their operations.

It was gathered that the issuance of the arrest warrant was sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by Fred Agbedi, representing Ekeremo/Sagbama Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the committee’s hearing on Tuesday.

Agbedi, while moving the motion, said that the arrest warrant had become imperative following the attitude of the invitees, adding that the parliament worked with time and the CEOs had been invited four times but failed to respond to the invitations.

Agbedi said that the CBN Governor, the AGF and the rest of the invitees should be brought to appear before the committee by the Inspector General of Police through a warrant of arrest after due diligence by the House Speaker, Rep Tajudeen Abbas.

The Chairman of the Committee, Micheal Irom (APC-Cross River), in his ruling said that the Inspector-General of Police should ensure the invitees were brought before the committee on December 14.
It was gathered that the petitioner, Fidelis Uzowanem, had earlier said that the petition was anchored on the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) 2021 report.

Irom said, “We took up the challenge to examine the report and discovered that what NEITI put together as a report is only consolidation of fraud that has been going on in the oil and gas industry.

“It dates back to 2016 because we have been following and we put up a petition to this committee to examine what has happened.

“The 2024 budget of 27.5 trillion that has been proposed can be confidently funded from the recoverable amount that we identified in the NEITI report.

“It is basically a concealment of illegal transactions that took place in NNPCL; they have been in a sink with some oil companies where some companies that did not produce crude were paid cash core, an amount paid for crude oil production.”


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FCTA uncovers illegal oil refining warehouse in Abuja




In continuation of the city cleaning exercise, Authorities of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) with operatives of security personnel have uncovered an illegal oil refining warehouse in Mabushi, opposite Mobile filling station on Ahmadu Bello way in Abuja.


The Director, Department of Development Control, FCTA, Mukhtar Galadima after the operation on Thursday, said the illegal refining site was discovered during the continuation of the city cleaning exercise.


According to him, about three to four plot of lands designated for commercial purposes have been converted to an area where oil and diesel are being adulterated and circulated to other parts of the city.


Galadima explained that the city sanitation task force will look into the provision of the law and make necessary recommendations to the FCT Administration for further actions on the plots used for the activity.


He said there was no arrest but the items used in carrying out the illegal refining have been impounded.


Galadima said, “During the continuation of our city sanitation exercise in Mabushi opposite Mobile filling station on Ahmadu way, we discovered an illegal refining site where oil and diesel are being adulterated, we have done the needful by moving the items to Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.


“From what we have seen so far, about three or four pilot of lands designated for commercial purposes have been converted to unapproved activities, which we believe the owners are fully aware, there will be consequences.


“We are going to look at the provision of the law and make necessary recommendations to the FCT Administration”


He said the administration will continue to go tough on activities being carried out without government approval,  especially revocation of the titles.


Collaborating, Head, operations FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Service (DRTS), Deborah Osho said the city management team during the exercise also discovered that most of the areas in the Nation’s capital have been converted to illegal car mart and motor parks.


She disclosed that fifteen vehicles have so far been impounded since the operation commenced about two days.

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