Absolute power loves to come in the benign habiliment of profound understatement. When General Yakubu Gowon came to power after the coup of July 29, 1966, he was called the Supreme Commander and Head of the Federal Military Government. Yet his supremacy was heavily contested and the military government was deeply divided. Then the soldiers went to Ghana under the auspices of the new military ruler of that country and they met in Aburi. From that point on, Gowon took on the title of Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Yet with this new sober title, Gowon wielded more powers than hitherto.
When he came to power in succession to General J.T.U Aguiyi-Ironsi, the new Gowon was talking of handing over power to an elected regime by 1971. Then the Civil War intervened and the assignment of nation building came in earnest. After the war, Gowon wore his powers with outward lavishness. We all love his regular movement to the airport, with the white uniform outriders displaying the arts and science of acrobatic motorcycling. The pomp and pageantry of power appealed to our youthful sense. Gowon was young, breathtakingly handsome and power becomes him like a natural accouterment. He too fell in love with power, its dizzying scent, its allure and its tantalizing romance.
He had promised that he would hand over power to an elected government by 1976, just six years after the Civil War. By that 1976, he would still just be a young man of 43, a full general on top of his game. And to walk away from all these at such a young age! He looked across the African continent, hardly was there any President looking for another job. Maumar Gadhafi of Libya, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, Mobutu Sese-Seko of Zaire; all long timers and not one of them were thinking of quitting. In 1974, Gowon told Nigerians that 1976 “is unrealistic.”
At that time when he seemed to be so powerful, power was actually slipping out of his hands. His governors openly defied him. He said he was going to change governors, but one of them said that was not possible. He still had a lot of jobs to perform. He appointed new Federal Commissioners (ministers) and brought past war commanders like then Brigadiers Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo into his cabinet. He instituted public service reforms under the leadership of Chief Jeremiah Udoji who recommended the payment of new salaries to public workers. The oil boom was in full swing and Gowon authorised the payment of salary arrears. Everyone was happy. In 1974, I had just finished secondary school and was offered employment by the Ekiti Divisional Local Schools Board, based in Ikerre, with Chief J.K. Gbadebo as its chairman. My salary was increased from Forty-Five Naira to Ninety Naira per month, thanks to the Udoji Award.
But by the time Gowon appeared so powerful, power was actually slipping from him. His soldiers plotted openly against him. His ministers (Federal Commissioners) contradicted each other and the Head of State was aloof from the reality in Nigeria. Some of his ministers were accused of corruption and new “anti-corruption crusaders” appeared on the national stage. It was not a surprise that Gowon was toppled in the coup of July 29, 1975.
The coup that brought General Murtala Muhammed to power was announced by Gowon’s Commander of the Brigade of Guards, Brigadier Joseph Garba. Muhammed, who had no time for the panoply of power, certainly wielded more powers than Gowon ever did. He fired all the governors, appointed his ministers and left no one in doubt about who was in control.
With the issue of power, it is not always clear who is in control. General Ibrahim Babangida, in a mood of self-satisfaction during his hey days declared: “We are not only in government, we are in power!” Yet power is an unfaithful mistress. It lies coyly with the powerful. But sometimes, it drifts away and moves in with the unknown elements who wield power without the responsibility of office. So by the closing years of his reign when power had drifted away, it took the reality of August 27, 1993 to open the eyes of General Babangida that power was no longer his mistress.
Babangida was a lucky man to ever find out the truth. In the old Oyo Empire, the greatest state among the Yoruba kingdoms of the pre-colonial era, the Alaafin was the potentate. The kingdom was founded by Oranmiyan, an Ife prince, who took the cognomen, Alaafin. At the height of his power, Alaafin authority covered a swath of territories in the present Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ogun and Benin Republic. So provincial rulers would travel to the capital of Oyo bringing tributes to the Emperor. By Yoruba tradition, the Alaafin in those days cannot appear in public, except on ceremonial occasions and even at that, he must appear veiled.
The Alaafin’s palace was a mini-city. In it were many court rooms and when one of the provincial rulers, many of whom were kings also of their domains, appeared at the palace gate, he would be welcomed by the royal drummers and be led to the court room. There the visiting royal would meet the Alaafin on his throne and then he would prostrate before the emperor while the latter blessed him. The palace slaves and servants would collect the tributes and carry them to the vast courtyard of the emperor.
Unknown to the visiting provincial king, he had just been duped. The servants and the palace slaves had dressed up one of their own and installed him on a fake throne. The provincial king, not knowing the truth, thought he had met the real Alaafin, not knowing that he was prostrating to an Ilari, (a special palace servant) or a slave, who was dressed up in the royal robe of the emperor. Neither the emperor not the provincial king may ever know the truth. This practice was common when the emperor was weak or had ineffective control over the bureaucracy of the palace and the dark catacomb of old Oyo politics.
So in the year of Our Lord 2017, are we being led into the wrong court room to prostrate before the wrong emperor? By his antecedents and public profile, General Muhammadu Buhari, the man we elected our President in 2015 is a strong man who should be jealous of his powers. He would not want to share his powers with a shadowy group or surrender it to those his enemies called the cabal, or the mafia, or the group of modern ilari. Now, he must know that power is an unfaithful mistress. She must be kept in sight at all time and better kept on a leash.
In Nigeria, we do not want our President to be less powerful than our President should be. In the words of Babangida, the leader of Nigeria “must dominate his environment.” The President of Nigeria must not only be powerful, he must be seen to be powerful and be ready to use his powers. Now there is a nagging feeling that some people are making efforts to dominate the President and use the enormous powers of his office without his knowledge or his consent.
Those who were plotting to dominate the President have apparently installed themselves in a court room and everyone else thought they were dealing with the real President. They ordered the recall of Adulrasheed Maina, a former civil servant, who was accused of stealing public fund meant for the payment of pensions for retired public officers, back into the country and into his old post in the bureaucracy. Maina had been accused of stealing public fund ranging from N2 billion to N20 billion. Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan wanted him to have his day in court and he was handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Maina proved that he was bigger than that and he soon fled and the government sent the International Police, INTERPOL, after him. Then Buhari came to power with his anti-corruption agenda and Maina remained a wanted man.
On Monday, Buhari fired David Babachir Lawal, the embattled Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and Ayo Oke, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA. Both have pending corruption cases. But the President is still apparently trying to unravel the mystery of the Maina saga. Who invited a wanted man back into the country and rolled out the red carpet for him? Who authorised Maina’s promotion? Who took him off the wanted list of the police, the EFCC and the Interpol?
With all these happening around him, it shows how isolated our President is apparently becoming. Buhari cannot afford to keep power, his unfaithful mistress, out of sight. He cannot simply allow her to sleep around or else there are many Mainas that would happen on his beat. We know that our President is back from his medical vacation. Buhari still lives in Aso Rock. What we are not so sure of is whether power still resides there with him or she has gone out on a flirty adventure.
01 November 2017 THE GUARDIAN
Legacy Group, a non-governmental and political pressure group has described the recent media attacks by Dr Cairo Ojougboh on Governor Okowa as self-serving, unpatriotic and not targeted at promoting peace and tranquility in Delta State.
The group gave this damning verdict during a World Press conference in Asaba, the Delta state capital, even as it urged Deltans to rise up in one accord and reject the falsehood and propaganda spewed by Dr Ojougboh, dismissing the Media outbursts as baseless and biased.
Referring with particular emphasis to the report of their investigations on the issue, the Vice President/National Leader of the Legacy group, Dr Chris Okobah flanked by executives of the group, said; “Our investigation revealed that Dr Ojuogboh asked Governor Okowa to allow him be in control of his Ika South Local Government in terms of elective offices and appointments, without adherence to democratic principles. But the Governor would not acede to such an undemocratic request. Rather, he encouraged him to follow democratic principles, which obviously didn’t go down well with Dr. Ojougboh.”
Okobah equally informed journalists that Dr Ojougboh was said to have have undemocratically demanded to retain his seat as National Vice Chairman of the PDP, South South, but in line with the principles of fairness, equity and justice, all major stakeholders of the party in Delta State, zoned the position to another Senatorial District other than the Senatorial District of the Governor where Ojuogboh belongs.
“If indeed these are the sources of his anger, again we believe it is unfortunate and yes, self deserving”, Okobah averred”.
The group then lauded Governor Okowa’s judicious management of the Paris Club Refund and commended his giant strides even in the midst of economic recession and 16 months downtime of the Forcados Export Trunk Pipeline.
“Governor Okowa has managed to fare well in the area of Road construction, Schools Rehabilitation, Job Creation and Urban renewal and to this end, we will confront anybody who will not take steps to encourage the Government to consolidate on those modest achievements. Here again, the cry of nothing is happening by Dr Ojougboh cannot be said to be a reward for the administration’s hard work and that is our concern as group focused on the overall development of the people,” Okobah aubmitted.
The Legacy group was however quick to affirm that they were not against people or groups asking government to be accountable to the people, neither do they believe that those in authority are infallible, but added that such calls must be done in accordance with acceptable democratic norms and must be borne out of genuine love for development to the detriment of the electorate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we expect citizens to criticise the government when the need arises because it is an essential ingredient of democracy’ but we hold the view that such criticisms must find a reasonable space on the track of objectivity and patriotism,” the group’s spokeman noted.
Dr Okobah while stressing the drive and mission of the Legacy group, informed the mediamen that, as part of their responsibility in monitoring and x-raying the utterances and actions of stakeholders in the state, with a view to evaluating the extent to which they promote or hinder the progress of those in authority, even aa he confirmed that, it was on account of such evaluation that they classified the media outbursts of one time member of PDP, Dr Cairo Ojougboh on the person and office of Governor ifeanyi Okowa.
On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, that President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the bill establishing the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, FUPRE, Senator Omo-Agege hurried to the media particularly the social media to heap on himself the praise of sponsoring and getting the bill passed in the Senate chamber of the National Assembly. His e-rats were also not left out in the show of shame in the social media claiming that their messianic boss has the copyright to the FUPRE Bill.
Their hope to elicit public commendation for the obvious falsehood, was however dashed two days later, when our amiable and pragmatic member representing Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Honourable Evelyn Oboro, during plenary of Thursday, October 19, 2017, stood up under personal explanation, to express thanks to President Buhari for assenting to the bill, and the leadership as well as members of the Green Chamber for their contributions in ensuring that the FUPRE Bill, which she sponsored in 2014 and re-introduced in February, 2016, was passed. This was further followed by a THANK YOU VISIT, which was paid to Honourable Oboro at her Effurun residence on Saturday, October 21, 2017 by over fifty staff cutting across four unions in the university.
Despite the obvious facts which give credit to Honourable Oboro for sponsoring and getting the bill passed, Senator Omo-Agege who has the antecedent for stealing other people’s works, in his desperation to cover his shame got one of his political aides, Aruviere Martin Egharhevwa in charge of Media and Strategy, to issue a watering statement full of contradictions and misinformation about the bill.
Senator Omo-Agege’s continue display of ignorance on the bill, in his narrations in the statement circulated to online media particularly bigpenngr.com and deltanewsroom.com shows clearly how bereft and illiterate he is in legislative matters. This is however not surprising, judging by the fact that Omo-Agege came half way to the Senate through the back door and equally missed the orientation/induction course by the National Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS. It is not late for him to enroll in the institute, where they teach newcomers about the workings of the National Assembly. This will save him of the embarrassment and disgrace of wanting to steal other people’s work.
FOR THE RECORDS
1. FUPRE Bill assented to by President Buhari emanated from the House of Representatives. It was sponsored in 2014 by Honourable Evelyn Oboro during her first tenure in the Green Chamber. The bill was passed by the House, sent to the Senate for concurrence and transmitted to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, who could not assent to it before the end of his administration in 2015. In February, 2016, Honourable Evelyn Oboro re-introduced the bill and in less than three months, the bill was passed in the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate for concurrence. At this point, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was just a month old in the Green Chamber having arrived in January, 2016.
2. FUPRE Bill, which President Buhari assented to, is a House or Member’s bill sponsored by Honourable Oboro and not an Executive bill from the executive arm of government, nor Senate Bill as erroneously presented by Omo-Agege. It is a false presentation by Senate Omo-Agege of the FUPRE Bill gazetted 2016 SB 226 in his name, “Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege”. To properly clarify this, please see attached National Assembly Journal of 7th July, 2014, No. 12, Vol. 11, where the FUPRE Bill was listed as the first item. It was also on 1st February, 2016 of same journal listed as the first item with No. 06, Vol. 13. This is further supported by attached letter of the House of Representatives dated 24th May, 2016 and addressed to the Clark of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Contained in the letter were three bills including that of FUPRE, that were passed by the Green Chamber and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.
3. By the rules governing the National Assembly, when a bill is passed by a particular chamber it is sent to the other chamber for concurrence. Before the passage of the bill everything including Public Hearing would have conducted. When the FUPRE Bill got the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege craftily staged managed a Public Hearing, to deceive some Urhobo traditional rulers that the bill was his handiwork. He was also alleged to have arm-twisted management of the institution by collecting from them the sum of Twenty Million naira for the purpose, visitation to the University and so on. Senator Omo-Agege cannot pretend that he is not aware that Honourable Evelyn Oboro in 2016 wrote a letter to the Senate President about the FUPRE Bill, that he was about claiming the bill to be his personal bill.
4. The last time we checked, the FUPRE Bill Senator Omo-Agege is parading is word for word of the bill Honourable Evelyn Oboro sponsored and got passed at the House of Representatives. This has been his style. Let us not forget in a hurry, how same Omo-Agege who came to the Senate in January, 2016, almost laid claim to have been the one that influenced the Agbor-Abraka-Eku-Sapele Road Dualisation awarded by the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration, until the lawmaker representing Ethiope East State Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Evance Ivwurie, who made frantic effort that led to commencement of work on the road, cried out.
SOME BIILS SPONSORED BY HON. EVELYN OBORO
1. 8/112/26 HB. 381 Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun Bill, 2016 Passed by both Houses
2. 14/6/2017HB. 382 Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Passed by the House and Transmitted to the Senate for concurrence
3. 9/6/2016HB. 458 National Agricultural Land Development Authority Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Bill consolidated with HB. 771 and Awaiting Second Reading
4. 11/10/2016HB. 459 Trade Malpractices Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Bill consolidated with HB. 368 referred to Committee on Commerce
5. 26/4/2016HB. 460 Nigerian Law Reform Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2015 Referred to Committee on Justice
6. 26/9/2017HB. 1135 Nigerian Red Cross Society Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017Introduced 27/9/2017 and Awaiting Second Reading
In conclusion, we want to categorically state that, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and his gang may have stolen the works and mandate of other of people but, they cannot get away by stealing anything that belongs to Honourable Evelyn Oboro. She cannot be intimidated by him despite his boast to deal with her as a woman. Politically, Omo-Agege has never participated and won any political party primaries as well as any general elections. The mandate is he claiming today, is one he desperately and wickedly got through the instrumentality of a corrupt and failed system. Senator Ovie Omo-Agege should bother himself with the resistance he is getting from Delta APC over his attempt to ascribe to himself the leadership of the party.
Comrade Harry Odafe
Media Aide to Honourable Evelyn Oboro
Distinguished legal luminary and leading chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC Rivers State, Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs has congratulated elder statesman and a political titan in Rivers State, Chief Bekinbo Soberekon, on the occasion of his birthday recently.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs gave the congratulatory felicitations during the birthday celebrations of the septuagenarian Chief Soberekon in Port Harcourt, describing the renowned Kalabari Ijaw politician and two-time gubernatorial candidate in previous governorship elections in Rivers State, popularly known as, ‘Soberekon for the Masses’, as a great man and pillar of the struggle for equity and fairness, who has devoted his whole political life for the emancipation of Rivers people.
Chief Lulu-Briggs, who expressed his goodwill felicitations, in an exclusive chat with newsmen said, “Chief Bekinbo Soberekon is an enigma. He is like a father to me and I mean father in every sense of the word. He is a man whose feelings you can almost touch and when he says something he goes for it. He has a passion for the youths and he wants young people to have a better life. This struggle for him is not just an Ijaw struggle but a Rivers struggle. It is a struggle to emancipate all of us from the things that have held us hostage and he has led from the front and been at it tirelessly, relentlessly to this day.
“Am so very glad that the Ijaw Project organization has decided to honour him on his birthday. It just goes to tell you that the work he has been doing over the years has not gone unnoticed. And even the young ones whom he has been fighting for over the years have recognized that they have a leader and a pillar and want to achieve that success to make him a happy man.
“He is a great man. I am happy to be sitting close to a great man”, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs enthused.
Responding to the many goodwill birthday wishes and his feelings about attaining this admirable height and seeing all the people gathered to celebrate him, particularly the celebration put together for him by the Ijaw Project organization, a highly appreciative and elated Chief Bekinbo Sobrekon, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all those who deemed it fit to grace the occasion, even as he reserved special praise for Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs, whom he described as his son and a godly man, to have found the time, in spite of his very busy schedule to honour the event with his presence.
Chief Soberekon said, “I feel on top of the world today because I have been honoured by these young people, including Dumo Lulu-Briggs. I have been looking for these young people to have a new life and I know what can give them a new life, which I’ve been rooting for since. I see it possible now and God will do it now. So you can see how I feel, I feel on top of this world, because I’ve seen who and what can make these young guys get what they’re looking for. They are suffering like the hills. I have said it and I know. If I know the guy I’m talking about, he would make sure they are happy people. Happy people is what Bekinbo Alilibo Soberekon is looking for, happy people in Rivers State. Rivers people are sad and sick, so I’m a very happy man today, because I have seen the man who will bring back hope for them. I wish my birthday can come back again and again so I can say this whole thing over again,” the elder statesman gushed.
On the speculations that age and his many bruising political battles may have diminished his verve and passion for the struggle, Chief Soberekon had this to say, “I cannot be tired, never. See, they called me ‘Sobrekon for the Masses’, I did not call myself ‘Sobrekon for the Masses’. It’s the young people who called me ‘Sobrekon for the Masses’ and every moment of this struggle gives me joy and I wait for that moment that will make them happy. My advice, is for young people to take life and their destiny in their hands, to go for it for themselves. Even the Bible said it, go for it and you’ll get it. I want the young people to go for it, fight for it and God will support them. This is where I stand, this is what I stand for. Even when it’s so impossible, I believe in it, if you can fight for it then go for it. This is what it is,” he charged.
Contrary to the claims by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s media aides that thousands of persons decamped from the All ProgressivesCongress, APC to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, investigations by our reporter show that what happened at Orogun on Saturday October 14 was simply a ruse.
While one of Okowa’s media said there were five thousand APC decampees, another said three thousand. The factual distortions first established the falsehood and propaganda inherent in the claims.
It was also gathered that only a handful of persons numbering about fifty were at the purported crossover ceremony and it was a HIRED CROWD from neighbouring communities, certainly not from Orogun. The other persons who formed the gathering that gave the false impression that thousands decamped, were actually Okowa’s followers who followed him all the way from Asaba.
A massive crowd of loyalists and party faithful who thronged the streets of Orogun and marched in unison to pay a solidarity visit to the Senator representing Delta Central in the Nigeria Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, in his residence in Orogun, just days after the purported decamping of the so claimed 5, 000 APC members decamping to PDP, effectively put a seal on the lie and affirmed once and for all that Orogun was and still is for APC and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was fully on ground and in control.
Eyewitnesses said people in Orogun could not have trooped out, talk less of decamping to PDP on the said day. Feelers from the community show that the people are angry with the government of Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa who they allege has done nothing to improve their lives, either through empowerment or provision of social infrastructure.
According to them, the Okowa administration is virtually non-existent in Orogun and its environs as the past two years of his administration has left the people in the worst forms of neglect and frustration.
Fuming, a youth of the community, Sunday Umukoro said, “if the cheap propaganda by Okowa’s incompetent media aides was concocted to embarrass our own Senator, the plot was a woeful failure”
According to him, on that same day as early as 7 o’clock in the morning, to the pleasant surprise of Omo-Agege, the people of Orogun community made up of three villages, not wanting to associate with Okowa who they heard was heading their way for the said decamping, gathered in Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s house in solidarity. Men and women, old and young were all there in thousands from dawn to dusk.
Another member of the community who responded to the inquiries of our Correspondent, said the decamping story does not in any way affect the confidence in Senator Omo-Agege. “Obaisi did not even notice them. We were all at the Urhobo House in Ughelli where he once again carried out a highly successful empowerment programme for the people of his constituency. He gave tricycles, sewing machines, block moulding machines.
Why would he be worried over the infinitesimal movement of someone who was never a registered member of the All Progressive Congress? Or the coming of the Governor who the people shunned his visit to stand with their own with all joy?”
Moving to Orogun community, according to our reporter who visited as at 5pm, hours after Governor Okowa had gone with his entourage, the people were still singing and dancing at the compound of the Senator.
When a dancing youth was asked questions on the purported decamping of 5,000 people, he replied, ” pictures do not lie! You have seen all of us here uptil this moment. Let them show you the pictures of the said Orogun people”.
An APC faithful, Evangelist Felix Ogbajini challenged the Governor to invest his time in more ‘fruitful’ ventures other than the “arranged” decampees.
“Rather than bandying lies, we strongly advise the Okowa’s spin doctors to worry about his battered credibility, clannishness and corrupt leadership.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on his own should in all sincerity be concerned about how to provide Deltans with good governance and delivering the dividends of democracy. Delta state has a lot of challenges especially under him. For example, the issue of the blank 2017 budget is there waiting for him to address.
Ogbajini alleged that the present state administration has impoverished Deltans more than ever experienced, in spite of the Governor’s prosperity for all mantra. He said Okowa should be worried that the people are lagging far behind even with the funds that have come into the state within the last two years.
“Okowa should be taking a trip round the state to see the death traps the roads he claimed to have worked on with billions of naira have become, not this dance of shame in Orogun with his sycophants.
Has he given a thought to the minds of the people over the sale of Delta Line, stopping of scholarship, WAEC fees, nonpayment of salaries, using of DESOPADEC as a conduit pipe etc? He should if he hasn’t”.
On his part, Senator Omo-Agege who appeared unperturbed by the story, assured the people of Orogun and all Urhobos of Delta Central Senatorial District, that he will continue to provide vibrant, effective and result-oriented representation.
Distinguished Rivers born philanthropist and well respected socio-cultural advocate, Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs has been conferred with the highly coveted ‘Extraordinary Lover of Humanity’ Award by the prestigious Heritage for life Foundation, the globally recognized Non-Governmental Organisation, founded for the sole purpose of enhancing the progression and the appreciation of the arts and culture in Nigeria, with the main objective of educating and mentoring the younger generation and creating a global atmosphere where they can thrive and reach their full potential.
The award ceremony took place on Friday, October 13, 2017 at the Muson Centre, Lagos State, Nigeria and Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, decked out majestically in his now synonymous and resplendent traditional Woko attire with Bowler hat to match, received the meritorious Award with great humility, from the Chairman of the Event, a distinguished industrialist and role model, as well as a former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom) and an award honouree of the Foundation himself, Dr. Christopher Kolade, CON.
A congratulatory statement issued by the Grand Rivers Alliance, GRA, a pan-Rivers State socio/political group, and signed by its Chairman Rt. Hon. Iyk Oji, JP, warmly felicitated with Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, whom the group described as, “our brother, friend and leading chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC Rivers State, on his meritorious award as “Extraordinary Lover of Humanity”, by the Heritage For Life Foundation.”
According to the statement, the group said that, “We are happy that the selfless philanthropy of Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs has received the recognition of the Heritage for Life Foundation…The fact that our own Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs has been so recognized and deemed worthy of such a prestigious award by an organization whose vision is to build a true legacy by which future generations would be raised and nurtured into worthwhile adults in a vibrant society, did not come to us as a surprise, as we have followed his impressive trajectory of uncensored philanthropy, humanitarian deeds, youth empowerment and knowledge based initiatives over the years, with satisfaction.”
The statement which further expressed the profound appreciation of the group to the Heritage for Life Foundation for identifying the sterling qualities of Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs to confer him with the award and honour, equally prayed that the good Lord will always bless the distinguished business mogul and frontline Rivers politician with grace, guide and protect him at all times, enlarge his coast with greater wisdom, humane kindness and divine abundance and give him a long, prosperous and fulfilled life, as he continues to touch lives, spread joy and bring hope for the peoples.
Expressing his gratitude for the prestigious award by the Heritage for Life Foundation, the award recipient, in a statement issued by Uche Woke, his Special Media Assistant affirmed that, “Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs appreciates the honour and has extended his heartfelt thoughts of goodwill to Rivers sons and daughters who are struggling through thick and thin to make a living and to the wives of God, the windows. He prays God to instil in all men the spirit of love, oneness and empathy and to remind us to always be of help to the needy. God bless Rivers State, God bless Nigeria and God bless you all,” the statement concluded.
Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs, with the conferment of this prestigious award, joins a distinguished list of outstanding and legendary Nigerians, whose names and great deeds have already been etched in the annals of the country’s chronicles, including Chief Emeka Anyaoku (Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth), Chief Obafemi Awolowo GCFR (Former Nigerian Nationalist-Posthumous), Chief H.I.D Awolowo (Posthumous -Matriarch of the Awolowo Dynasty), Chief (Mrs.) Leila Fowler (Proprietress, Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls), Otunba (Dr.) Micheal Olasubomi Balogun CON (Group Chairman , First City Group Limited), Chief Henry Kanu Offorny OFR (First African Executive Director of shell production Nigeria -Posthumous) and Dr Felix Ohiwerei OFR (Former Chairman of the Nigerian Breweries), all of whom have been past recipients of the ‘Extraordinary Lover of Humanity Award’ over the years.
Joy laden with emotions, praises and prayers were part of actions that culminated in the ecstatic moment when Hon. Engr. Emeka Nwaobi, Member representing Aniocha North Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, doled out millions to give scholarships to 24 indigent and less privileged undergraduates of Aniocha North origin, studying in various tertiary institutions across the country.
Nwaobi, alongside the Chairman of the occasion who doubles as the Delta North Senatorial PDP Chairman, Chief Moses Iduh, presented the cheques of N100,000.00 each to the beneficiaries at the Oligbo Royal Palace ground, Issele-Uku, venue of the presentation of cheques to beneficiaries of 2017 edition of Hon. Emeka Nwaobi’s Scholarship Scheme, which held on the 7th of October, 2017.
In an emotion stricken appearance, one out of the 24 beneficiaries who responded with thanks to Hon. Nwaobi’s gesture, Miss Bidokwu Juliet, said, “Hon. Emeka Nwaobi has lifted a major burden of school fees and purchase of books from our parents. The scholarship of N100,000.00 to us will go a long way in paying school fees and solving other major academic challenges like accommodation and text books. It beat my imagination when I heard I was selected without being a member of a political party or having anything to do with politics. We are grateful, and it is our prayer that God will replenish him and keep him victorious in all his endeavours”.
The Chairman of the Day, Hon. Iduh posited that he was not surprised at what Nwaobi could do as someone who is Godly and passionate about turning around the fortunes for the downtrodden.
Iduh clearly stated that Nwaobi has done more than enough, as he continued to hold sway in the House of Assembly, adding that God can never make mistakes having divinely returned his mandate to him.
The Chairman affirmed that Nwaobi had performed based on the giant strides evidence on the ground and had been able to attract state government’s presence to Aniocha North to the extent that almost all the communities are developmentally touched.
Overwhelmed by the accolades and intermittent ovations for him, Nwaobi returned all glory to God, the giver of power and grace.
He said that the scholarships scheme for the indigent in the society was part of what he promised God that he will continue to do from inception as a Member of the Delta State House of Assembly, stating that in spite of economic recession and loads of pressures he would not deviate from that divine agreement he entered into with God.
The man popularly referred to as the ‘Oji Chukwu Bulu-Uzor’ said, that since he has been working in line with that divine agreement to use his monthly salaries in feeding indigent people in Aniocha North Constituency, God has also given him the grace to sustain his scholarship scheme for the less privileged undergraduates from Aniocha North, which he said is part of his empowerment Programmes.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee for the Actualization of Hon. Nwaobi’s Scholarships Scheme for 2017, Monsignor Buchi Aninye, represented by Prince Dr. Henry Emelue who is also a member, has commended the Honourable Member, while giving account of their unbiased work.
According to him, “It is exciting and heartwarming to know that 24 students of Aniocha North origin, studying in various tertiary institutions have been carefully selected and will today receive the sum of N100,000.00 each to assist them in the pursuit of their education. The beauty of it all is that no town in Aniocha North is left out. The recipients of this award should therefore justify this kind gesture by studying hard to excel in their various fields of studies”.
In another development, over 5000 politicians defected from APC and Accord to PDP. It was a moment of truth as the returnees, mostly youths and non-indigenes across the local government area, regretted their decisions for leaving PDP and pleaded for amnesty.
The defectors through their leaders, Mr. Chukwunweike Okeleke a.k.a Anwi for the youths and Mr. Oliver Akubueze for the Non Indigenes affirmed their resolve to work in harmony with the PDP leadership to forge ahead politically and support the Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and the Member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Engr. Emeka Nwaobi beyond 2019.
They confirmed that after a passionate appeal to them by Hon. Nwaobi to come back to PDP with a view to supporting the re-election of the Governor in a landslide for second tenure and having seen the manner in which he was attracting development to Aniocha North, they had no other option but to take a step of faith and return back to the PDP their original home.
“We are pleased with Hon. Nwaobi and Governor Okowa for the monumental projects they are daily citing in Aniocha North. We were deceived into leaving PDP, but we have now learnt our lessons. In the same vein, we have abandoned Accord and APC and returned to the true and sincere party, PDP. On this note, we hereby endorse Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Hon. Engr. Emeka Nwaobi for second terms in office”, the two defecting leaders chorused.
The occasion was massively attended by both party leaders and members across the local government area. Meanwhile, various groups from various communities of the LGA came with their dance groups to appreciate Hon. Nwaobi and Governor Okowa for the developmental presence of government in their areas. Of particular mention were the people of Ukwu-Nzu who came specially to show appreciation to the duo of Okowa and Nwaobi for turning the gory looking Ukwu-Nzu road to a city class reference point.
Reported by Chijioke Ugbolue