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FEATURES

Hon. Emmanuel Ekon in the Eye of the Voter

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In the next couple of days, the political tempo in the country would further heighten with the official flag off of campaigns for the 2019 general elections.

With the successful conclusion of party primaries and the emergence of flag bearers, it is expected that political parties and their candidates would now focus more on issues in their quest for votes rather than resort to name callings and blackmail of opponents.

In Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State, the coast is clear for the All Progressive Party (APC) candidate, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon to unfold his package for the people to judge whether he merits a return to the National Assembly for another four year tenure. Going by his record of performance so far, Hon. Ekon is expected to defeat his opponent in the general election.

Aside the human capital development which has resulted in the training of over 300 youths from the Federal Constituency in different areas of oil and gas in addition to some of them being gainfully employed, Hon. Ekon has done remarkably well in life touching projects across the three local government areas that make up the Federal Constituency. He started with the building of three ICT Centers strategically located in Abak and Etim Ekpo Local Government Council Secretariats respectively while that of Ika was sited at St. Augustine Secondary School, Urua Inyang.

Unfortunately, the Center at Abak was destroyed by erosion. The essence of the Centers fully equipped with desktop computers and internet services was to bring Information Technology closer to the grass root.

During the first term, he assisted over 60 youths to secure employment in the Federal and State Civil service as well as the Army, Navy, Civil Defence, Police, Air Force and the private sector. It was through his instrumentality that the 13 Air Traffic Controllers trained by Akwa Ibom State government between 2008 and 2009 were employed in the aviation sector and posted to various airports across the country in 2013.

As a liberalized Legislator, Hon. Ekon has never limited his scope of representation to his constituency alone. He believes that as far as Akwa Ibom is concerned, any project or programme attracted would have a multiplier effect on all and sundry. With that mindset, he was able to secure 220 laptop computers to Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic and the Federal Polytechnic, Ukana. From the same source, he also facilitated the donation of 30 desktop computers each to Northern Annang Secondary Commercial School, Utu Etim Ekpo, Government Technical College, Abak and Secondary Commercial School, Utu Ikot Ekpenyong.

In the area of community development, the five star legislator built and equipped a Town Hall in Utu Ikot Eboro Community, constructed a three classroom block with a VIP toilet and a borehole at Government Primary School, Ikot Udobong and a Primary Health Center with a borehole in Iwukem Village among others.

Faced with the challenges of infrastructure decay, Hon. Ekon also ensured that some communities were provided with potable water and electricity. He built two community water projects with reticulations at Ikot Akpan Anwa and Nto Mbadum in Ika Local Government Area in addition to providing 500 kva transformers to Ikot Obong Afaha Obong in Abak Local Government Area, Utu Ikot Eboro, Eka Uruk Eshiet, Mopol Base 25, Iwukem. He also added 30 solar street lights each to Utu Ikot Eboro and Utu Nto Obio Ekpo villages while Iwukem got 50.

It is noteworthy to mention that one of the most remarkable impact of Hon. Ekon’s representation is the construction of Iwukem-Ukanafun-Ekparakwa-Azumini dual carriageway. Those familiar with the geography of the area would know what the state of the road was before 2011. Hon. Ekon changed the narrative and fought to ensure that the project was removed from the budget of the Ministry of Niger Delta which had for years appropriated a paltry sum of three hundred million naira but never awarded the job to any contractor for paucity of funds. He personally took the matter to the presidency and got Sure-P to re-award the contract to CCECC. It is still work in progress and he is not relenting until the project is fully completed.

As Chairman Committee on Local Content, he has in the last three years attracted projects and training packages to Akwa Ibom State. The Akwa Ibom Oil and Gas Training and Research Center operated in partnership with Halliburton is his brainchild. The multi billion naira Center offers over 50 courses in oil and gas development including drilling and completions engineering, well interventions solution as well as digital technologies. There is also a proposed deep sea diving training facility for the Maritime Academy, Oron. Still in that capacity, Government Technical College, Abak would also be a proud beneficiary of a well-equipped Woodwork Factory while an Industrial Park is built in Ikwe Community in Onna Local Government all courtesy of the Lawmaker.

Hon. Ekon has also extended his magnanimity to some secondary schools in the state with a proposed multi million naira ICT Centers. The benefitting Schools are: Church of Jesus Christ Comprehensive Secondary School, Atai Otoro Abak, Iwukem High School, Etim Ekpo, Independent High School, Ukana Essien Udim and Science College, Ndon Eyo.

Despite the distractions of the last three years coupled the dwindling economy of the country, Hon. Ekon has remained undaunted. Even his worst critic would attest to the fact that he has not been found wanting in the discharge of his duties. Those who are against his reelection are doing so for pecuniary reasons but the youths the women of the Federal Constituency who have benefitted from his welfare packages are hell bent on returning him to the National Assembly.

Many of them are of the opinion that he has more to offer and that the Federal Constituency and the entire state would benefit more from him than a total greenhorn with no experience. They believe that his short stint as Committee Chairman has been very impactful and from all indications, he has a lot of juicy opportunities for the youths who have formed the bulk of his primary supporters.

Uduak Iniodu, Senior Legislative Aide to the Honourable Member Writes from Abuja

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OPINION

Zayyad Muhammad: Memo to IGP Adamu Mohammed

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Dear IGP Adamu Mohammed, Congratulations on reaching the peak of your career. You are lucky and unlucky at the same time. You rise to the top at a critical moment in the Nigerian polity- election time. The next two months may mar or make your achievements as a police officer, depending on how you approach the management of the Nigerian police and its obligations during forth-coming elections.

In Nigeria, policing is interwoven with politics. During this period, many politicians will attempt to frustrate you, while some will try to manipulate you via political powers. Fortunately for you, you have a Commander-in-Chief, who does not have the traits of a typical Nigerian politician. So, as a fine officer, when you find yourself on a tight-rope, do not cry nor run.

While the pressure of the elections are there, keep in mind that you are being faced with the challenge of managing a police force that is plagued by poor conditions of service, deplorable work environment, lack of incentives and motivation, corruption, low level of public confidence and serious lack of expertise in some specialized fields.

Mr. IGP, the Nigeria Police needs total overhaul and this can be grouped into three core areas- leadership, methodology and, culture & attitude. The Nigeria Police has witnessed various changes since its inception in 1861 when it began with a thirty-member consular guard formed in the then Lagos Colony. From 1964, the NPF has had 20 IGPs, with each coming with his own transformative ideas. However, if the NPF must be responsive to modern public policing standards and demands, reforms in the three areas mentioned above is imperative. For reforms to create desired change, all strategies and goals must be communicated and a buy-in among officers created – especially junior officers. Reforms cannot be imposed on the police. However, the urgency of these reforms cannot be over-emphasized.

The Nigerian police have some fine and intelligent officers who persevere with the many challenges of being a police officer. Some of them inspire the trust and confidence of the public. However, in general, the Nigerian Police direly needs a new direction and different orientation. In addition, it needs modernization and massive reorganization similar to what obtains in private corporations. Mr. IG, you can be one to lay the foundation for the new police.

The police under you can rejig the mentality of ‘absolute hierarchical superiority’ by giving junior officers who are always on the field the chance to weigh in their views. The public expect you to look at things ‘off-the-police-shelves’ to see what the public expects and needs from the police. This will bring imaginative ideas to strike a new resonance among the officers of the police and also bring visible functionality and efficiency in police.

The public expects the police to prevent crime, and maintain peace and public order. However, job of the Nigerian police is dangerous, with high rates of on-the-job injury and death. The police operate without up-to-date and high-tech policing equipment- you cannot fight crime with only guns, broken batons and jalopy pickup vans. The police should be armed with modern firearms and protective equipment, in addition to small tools like tasers, incapacitant spray, telescopic and expandable batons, etc. Communication is vital for modern policing. Thus, any existing police radio spectrums which are subject to serious interference should be gradually replaced by a new spectrum of superior quality. The police should have their entire vehicles and posts/stations installed with Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) system for effective communication, as well as for data and voice transmission. TETRA is encrypted to prevent interception.

The general management of policing equipment by the Nigerian police is very poor. For instance, most of the vehicles used by the police are in bad states. The processes of vehicle purchase, fuelling and maintenance should be redesigned- outsourcing and workable decentralization are the best options. The Police Service Commission should commission competent automobile firms to supply and maintain for the Nigerian police vehicles which are built to police specifications in factories. Fuelling of vehicles and other policing equipment should also be contracted out to responsible fuel marketers. This will eliminate corruption and usher in easy administration.

The biggest problem facing the Nigerian police is culture and attitude. The police need to create and cherish a strong culture among its rank and file. The Nigerian police should seek the services of Public Relations experts/firms to develop a modern PR plan for it- one that should go beyond the traditional police’s PR method- public display of achievements. Instead, its officers and men would be trained in many areas including, basic professional behaviour in the public, how to attend and talk to people, association with civilians and even posture when in public view, etc. One of the most critical aspects that need urgent attention is smart dressing. Every officer in the Nigeria police should dress smart and neat- this will reflect the meaning of the yellow colour in the police flag- Discipline & Resourcefulness and the elephant in its crest- Steadfastness & Reliability. A major benefit of culture andattitude reform is that it will help engender better community policing.

Above all, as a matter of urgency, you have to get your team well prepared for the forth coming elections which are about a month away. The police have a huge role to play in the elections if it must be successful. The time is short but in colloquial parlance, it is the baptism of fire for you. It is believed you are up to the task.
Permission to fall out sir!

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OPINION

2019: Chaos or election?

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By Luke Onyekakeyah

I raised this alarm last May in this column on whether or not we are heading for an election or chaos. Reason is that the history of wars and turmoil in Africa is the history of power struggle. From Angola’s 27 years civil war to the collapse of Somalia and the unending crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), among others, all the crises were fueled by power struggle. Politicians with overvaulting ambition stoked the upheavals. The interest of Nigeria should be paramount; it should be over and above any personal or sectional interest. All lovers of Nigeria should rally to save this country from avoidable crisis.

Nigeria has had its unfair share of political crisis that led to a three-year fratricidal war from 1967 to 1970 in which over a million citizens perished and millions dislocated from their homes, especially on the defunct Biafra side. Whatever would spark off another conflagration should be avoided. Politicians should be wary not to endanger this country once again. Politicians sowed the seed that led to the unfortunate civil war. Why are the politicians leading us to yet another dangerous precipice?

The confusion arising from last week’s unilateral suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari, has raised the tempo of uncertainty that the forth-coming general elections may be anything but free, fair and peaceful. That is a very sad development for Nigeria, a country battling with myriads of social, economic and security problems amid a scheduled general election.

Nigerians are befuddled that a crisis of this magnitude that could engulf the country in avoidable conflagration could be stoked at this eleventh hour to the long-awaited 2019 general elections, with the presidential election barely two weeks ahead. What sort of ill wind is this? Why are the embers being fanned vigorously? The sudden removal of Onnoghen is an ill wind that blows no one any good. President Buhari should be patriotic and save this country from avoidable crisis. For it is said that there are two people that matter in a country namely, the one who turned a forest into a country and the one who turned a country into a forest! Some people have labored to establish Nigeria as it were. Let there be no one who would turn this country into a forest.

Nigerians were shocked over the weekend when news broke that President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Buhari announced the suspension at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday, January 25, 2019. He said the suspension was as a result of the order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), directing him to suspend Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial. Legal pundits are analyzing the legality of the order.

Buhari did not stop there; he went ahead to swear-in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad from Bauchi as the acting CJN. Onnoghen is from Cross River State in Nigeria’s South-South Niger Delta Zone. The ethnic colouration bolstered the general perception that President Buhari has been filling all strategic arms of government with his own kinsmen. The suspension of Onnoghen, a man whose appointment was not favoured by Buhari in the first place, is seen as the last straw that breaks the camels back in the light of the elections at hand. Why did the President do this now?

Following the suspension, a flood of protests, agitations and outcry have greeted the polity from both within and outside the country. At the swearing in ceremony of the chairmen and members of the Election Petition Tribunals numbering 250, by the new Acting CJN, Tanko Mohahmad, only one Justice out of the 25 Justices of the Supreme Court was reportedly present, the rest boycotted the event in a show of solidarity with Onnoghen. Right now, the entire legal fraternity in the country is outrage at what they call unconstitutional action by Mr. President. Both the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) have called emergency meetings to discuss the anomie.

Also, the National Assembly (NASS), which has been on recess, is reconvening to deliberate on the burning issue. The restive Niger Delta militants that have sheathed their swords for a while are fuming and threatening fire and brimstone on oil industry facilities in the area. And the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) announced the suspension of its electioneering campaigns for 72 hours in protest.

The international community is not keeping mute. The United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) governments have expressed serious concern about the development, which they fear would affect the coming elections. There is fire on the mountain, one would say. Except something is done urgently to douse the tension, we may be in for evil days the end of which no one can fathom.

It needs to be stressed that no one is saying that Onnoghen should not be disciplined if he had run afoul of the law. Not at all. What people are saying is that due process should be followed. Legal luminaries in the country are in agreement that there is a constitutionally laid down procedure for disciplining a legal officer of Onnoghen’s status. Flouting or shortchanging that process, as the President Buhari has done is tantamount to what they call a ‘coup’ against the constitution and the judicial arm of government in a democracy. Whereas, there is national outrage over the President’s action, the presidency, on the other hand, is busy justifying the unprecedented action of Buhari. Can Nigeria wriggle out of this self inflicted problem? The coming days and weeks are indeed uncertain. But can Nigeria survive a political upheaval amid the ravaging Boko Haram war in the North-East and the nationwide insecurity?

It is sad that rather than preach peace in the run up to the polls, some unpatriotic elements are out to cause mayhem. How to tackle the myriad of problems confronting the country should be the focus instead of diverting attention to the destablisation of the judiciary, a critical arm of Nigeria’s democratic government.

What is happening give credence to what those who know Buhari think that he can’t easily be brushed aside as was the case with Jonathan in 2015. Buhari’s exponents think that he will deploy all the forces within his power, including the power of incumbency, to counter the opposition to win the re-election. The unilateral and unconstitutional suspension of Onnoghen is a clear testimony that Buhari is not Jonathan, who patriotically refused to orchestrate crisis and bloodshed in 2015.

Nigerians want peace and not chaos. As things stand now, except Buhari and the APC adopt a “no bloodshed mantra,” adding political crisis to the already degenerate killing fields across Nigeria may spell doom for the country. That way, the prediction that Nigeria could not survive the 2015 elections may only have been postponed to 2019. President Buhari should not let this happen under his watch.

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FEATURES

THE ADVENTURE OF A CULT ACTIVIST TURNED SPEAKER

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By Alhaji Aminu

Once upon a time, there was a cult activist in the campus. His rascality and gross disrespect to constituted authorities easily gave him out to absurd notoriety in the campus. He was thus identified as a student noted for gross indiscipline and moral deficiency , This was evident in his routine misdemeanor and poor performance in academic tasks.

His reckless and careless lifestyle only attracted him to friends and members of his cult kingdom, who appreciated his carefree, unruly corrupt social status, and this crowned him the king of the jungle., a position he fancied but to the detriment of academics. This was contrary to the expectations of his poor parents.

He was later found wanting and lost. He could not pass his test nor exams. His life was grossly darkened because he dropped out of school. His friends rejected him except those who belonged.,..

He went on cult exile and was shamelessly treated as a fugitive. Guy man fell mugu. Things fell apart, only those who knew him deeply could recognize him. His thin structure reduced his ostrich like neck to nothingness .
This
Life was tough and hopeless for the young cultist. Sadly he was driven into drug addiction . People lost confidence in him and could not help him.

Then came a messiah sent to Akwa Abasi Ibom State. A man with a large heart. A father to the needy and fatherless. A husband to widows. A succour to the down trodden. His name was Godswill Obot Akoabio, a man of valour and candour.

He sent for the fugitive cultist, and told him son, from today, thy sins are forgiven. He rebranded him and called him his special assistant SA. He Built a befitting house for his poor sick mother who lived in a one room, He changed his orientation and lifestyle. He spoke to the then VC University of Uyo, professor Akpan Ekpo and pleaded that the fugitive be allowed to complete his law program in the university.
The prof accepted with studied silence

Yes, governor Akpabio then went ahead to clean up the guy, rebranded and completely uplifted the once cult activist from glory to glory in politics.

If he did not like him, he could have as well stopped him from getting into Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. But he further helped him to become a member and the Honourable Speaker , the number three man in the state.

It is sad that today the fugitive turned speaker has the temerity to insult distinguished Senator Akpabio. The speaker neither respect himself nor his office.

This infantile speaker takes passion in spewing blatant lies against the former governor and his dear wife. The rate at which this infantile speaker reduces the exalted office of Mr speaker to a ridiculing epitaph of controversy and scorn is regrettable and unacceptable. We know he is acting on the effect of tramadol .He is no longer constructive and focused. He talks like an ordinary motor park agent. He has thrown reputation and integrity to the gutter. He talks about mbiam like a Bush doctor. Yet he can not substantiate his submissions. Majority of his friends who knew where he was before Akoabio picked him to the present level are not Happy with him.

Reports has it that his uncontrolled youthful exuberance is also responsible for the many cases of sex scandals between him and some members of legislative wives association and his own wife. What a shame ?

His recent vituperations on the former first lady and wife of the immediate past Senate minority leader, Her Excellency Mrs Uloma Akpabio is condemnable. How did this infantile braggart get to his present level is an open truth. He used to refer to the former first lady as his mother and destiny helper. He would not have been accepted back in school due to cult activism but not for the former governor and wife.

Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly financial record is stingy and questionable under his watch. He will be asked to account for the huge financial irregularities that he master minded. By then the tramadol effect in his brain shall let him be. His present boss will not be able to help him as his boss shall also be struggling to rescue himself from the clutches of EFCC. after the expiration of his immunity on May 29th, 2O19.

Need someone advise this infantile speaker to have a deep rethink over his fallacious and spurious rampage. The worst sin is the sin of ingratitude. Those who bite the finger that fed them will leave to regret. This is act 1 of the adventure of a cult activist turned speaker.
Gaskiya !!!
….

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NEWS

Pastor Charis, Uma Ukpai, Nathaniel Bassey, Ors for Restoration Convention 2019

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Pastor Charis Essienobong, Senior Pastor and Founder, Restoration Grace Ministries will speak at the Restoration Convention 2019, with the theme: “Alive Again”.

The yearly event, which begins from Monday, January 14 to Sunday, January 20, will feature ministrations by Pastor Nathaniel Bassey, Prospa Ochimana, Pastor Ity Charis, The Classical Choir and The Restored Voices Choir, among others.

According to the organiser of the convention, Pastor Charis Essienobong, “this year’s theme alongside the pastor’s restoration conference is targeted at bringing to life anything that is dead around, within the life of believers and God is ready to release fresh light for His people.”

Other ministers of the gospel expected at the event include Pastor (Mrs) Idy Charis, Rev (Dr) Uma Ukpai, Bishop (Dr) John Ekong of the New Ark of Covenant Ministries and the Founder and Presiding Bishop of Victory Life Ministries International, Bishop Mike Bamidele.

The week-long power-packed event will be rounded off with Super Celebration Service on Sunday, January 20, 2018 from 8am at the church auditorium.

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