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OVIE OMO-AGEGE BLOWING HURRICANE AND THE LESSONS OKOWA’S PDP MUST LEARN AHEAD OF 2023

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Court Order

The darkest place in hell are reserved for those who maintained their neutrality in times of moral crisis – Dante Alighieri

If Senator Ovie Omo-Agege decides to run for Delta State governorship in the 2023 elections, the only force that can stop him is the force of God and the will of the people. I don’t see him running, for the stage he currently occupies has grown beyond Dennis Osadebey. He is like a volcanic acid that can’t be curtailed. The Warri blood in him makes him aim for the very best leaving the crumbs for others to scramble for. In all of these, he is never desperate, rather leaving everything to God, chance and political leadership.

Like the King in the chessboard, he allows everyone go ahead first before moving in swag and style, losing little and conquering many. In conquest, he does not jubilate against the conquered and does not sneer at the politically wounded but retreat to his quiet moment and plot how to make them feel like it was a fair conquest. In doing this, he wins absolute loyalty and trust of them all. I have seen it time and time again and one incidence will suffice.

When he appointed a South Western person as his Special Adviser on Media and another one as Special Assistant on Electronics and New Media from same tribe, I wasted no time in condemning it, not because they were wrong choices. I vented my anger because there are tens of Deltans fit for such position and even if there are none, his first list of appointment should come from Delta. I felt like the conquered one who gave my all against my political family for him but now spited as I watch the very tribe we both belong not getting their rightful place.

Something was promised to be done in regards to the media section and what has never happened before was done and I felt like the conqueror (at least for that moment). That is the Omo-Agege political striker to you, fixing every piece of puzzles in their right places.
The wave of political appointment from him has swept both the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). One begin to wonder what his interest is by giving appointment to core PDP members who worked against him but never recognised by their own mother party.

With his vacation in the United States of America, every state in South South have persons currently appointed under him. In his words to me “Fejiro, this my position no be for only Urhobo or Delta o. Na for everyone wey dey South South”.
But he is human and in being so, he makes his mistakes. He errs not because he wishes to. He errs not because he loves to. He errs because he is flesh and blood, subjected to limited knowledge and surrounded by too many distractions. He falters because those who should tell him the truth fear to do so due to what they seek from him. I seek such from him too but morality binds me first to him, after all, that is what brought us close and has bonded us till date. Isn’t that was the quote above said?
The Agege I know should have called all the House of Assembly aspirants that contested and lost in the last general elections for a meeting and assured them of appointments, even if not tied to his office, but other Federal agencies.

Thankfully enough, he has grip of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with his ally, Benard Okumagba as Managing Director Designate. This is where I expect him to push people like Prince Koyoyo and others to serve as Special Assistants to the MD since Efe Duku who also contested has been elevated to his Special Adviser. Why he has not done it, I do not know. For is it not said among them by Vladmir Putin that “there are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel”.

If the above can be said of the PDP in Delta State, it could have been better. But what do we see? Few weeks in Asaba to monitor event points to few people hijacking the appointments meant for those who truly worked and deliver their units and wards during the keenly contested election especially in strong places like Ughelli, Sapele, Ethiope West, Uviwe and Udu LGAs.

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I peeped through the last eighty names of appointees released and saw names of people who didn’t leave their bedrooms on election day or did anything tangible during the build up to the election. I see names of PDP Chairman lover sitting comfortably on the lists and girlfriends of other political kingmakers dancing with appointment letters. The only service they rendered was warming the beds of their sugar daddies, while the young men and ladies who did their best on the political field and others on social media still waiting for the rainbow. Monkey work, baboon chop is the order of the day.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa must be made to know that these same persons who stuff the appointment lists with names of people who never worked for him will be the first to deny him when the Omo-Agege hurricane that is already spreading will begin from next year. I can tell for a fact that people who deserve to get their appointment letters from the PDP government they worked for but neglected will get it from Omo-Agege and there is no worse defeat and pain than the one from a former loyalist turned foe, for they fight with blood and life to crumble that which the former suffered to build.

The beginning of a new election begins the very day a king is sworn in and Omo-Agege knows this. Loyalty will begin to shift from next year and it will depend on what Okowa decides to allow his foot soldiers who are giving him names of their loved ones do to the trust he entrusted them with. There are never friends among them he should know but loyalists and their pockets determine their loyalty. When the Agege hurricane starts, may it not be said that I was alive and as a close member of the governor’s team, who was privileged to see things, hear from the streets but never advised him. May it not be written that when the battle to take over Delta State in 2023 was successfully hatched and executed, Fejiro Oliver betrayed the political family that loves him, even though when they were sharing the luxury Liberty Estate with all facilities built with government funds among themselves, I was not part of it.

If these truth be my crime, that politicians who work are desirous of their appointments like Omo-Agege has done and is still doing for his party men is my crime, so be it. If political treason is to speak truth to power that girlfriends of party chieftains should not be appointed but sincere youths who gave their all be appointed, then let the judgment for offenders be pronounced on me.

When the die is cast and Okowa is out of power, be it known that most of them will not be there for him.

In 2010, when Fmr. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan election was annulled, he didn’t believe it. As he left government house for the then House of Assembly Speaker, Sam Obi to take over, it felt like a dream to him. He went to the House of a top political contractor to stay, with his world shattered.

Sam Obi took over office, looked around the office and called for cabinet meeting, which he dissolved. While with some party member, Uduaghan called his phone; he looked at it, smiled and refused to answer. After sometime he called back and Uduaghan asked him why he has not been taking his calls and he replied “Your Excellency, you were not also picking my calls when you sat on this seat”. Uduaghan became humble for his destiny lies in the hands of the man that was once his subordinate.

The above scenario I’m very sure Okowa should be privy to, on how Sam Obi became just powerful in three months.

The new Prado Jeeps and Toyota Corolla that Uduaghan bought and refused to share to appointees were ordered to be shared by him. When Uduaghan finally found his way back, he learnt his lessons, the lessons of a lifetime that all his political books never taught him, even though people who should have called his attention refused to do so out of fear of being blacklisted by him.

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The lesson to learn by Okowa and the Delta PDP is to stop taking the people who staked their all for a ride. The lesson to learn is that power is transient and can only be sustained when the genuine people are empowered and those who deserve reward are not short-changed.

In 2015, few months after Uduaghan left power, one of the first stinker he got was from a popular news reporter who lashed out on how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have invited him. Uduaghan was shocked, not because the story was false but this was a reporter that he made to build a duplex in Asaba and other benefits associated with his job. In his days as governor, none of these reporter will do so for they were loyal not to him but his pocket. You do not buy loyalty, you earn it.

If the reason for the governor not asking questions from unbiased persons on those who truly worked and deserves speedy inclusion in his government but listen to words from those who will help to ruin him once the time is ripe, I will leave him with this fable.

Years ago in an ancient kingdom, a servant offended the King and in anger, he ordered him to be thrown to his wild dog. The servant begged the keeper of the dog to allow him take care of it for seven days before he is thrown into the cage to be eaten up. The keeper agreed.

For seven days, he cleaned and fed the dog, taking care of its wound. On the seventh day, the King ordered that the big cage be brought before him, with the dog inside, which was done. The servant was then brought forward from his prison and thrown inside the cage. The dog went to meet him and stretched his paws towards him while playing with the man. The king and everyone around was shocked and ordered the servant be brought out.

“Why didn’t the dog devour you?”, he asked the servant.

“My King, I served you for seven years and for one error, you forgot all the times I saved you and all the good deeds I did for you. I served this dog for only seven days and even when he was hungry and I was his meal, he remembered the little good works I did for him”, the servant answered.
In tears, the king ordered that the servant be elevated to Chief Servant which is modern day Chief of Staff.

As the Agege whirlwind of appointment and political patronage sweeps across the land, may the fable above be a constant reminder that loyalty not caused by political or wealth influence remains the cradle by which dynasties are built.

DELTA STATE BOARD OF INTERNAL REVENUE CHAIRMAN APPOINTMENT
The race for the Executive Chairman of the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR) rages as Monday Onyeme rounds off his tenure next month.

Ordinarily, there should be no competitor, for Onyeme has led the board more than anyone who has ever held the position. This is the first time in history that DBIR has not only been transparent but scandal free.

As the Chairman of the board, the IGR has not only been maintained but became the saving grace when oil prices fell down in the beginning of this government. The board needs someone like Onyeme back to consolidate for a Stronger Delta. Onyeme did not come to the board a poor man and will not leave richer than he came. Unlike his predecessors who acquired wealth after leaving, he already had his hotel and establishment all booming before he was drafted in to rescue the board that was almost crumbling. Today, Delta State is better off.

The reward for a good job is more work. When music is nice, you play it twice and even thrice. Onyeme is nice music to the ears and should be played twice.
These little things matter…

Fejiro Oliver, an investigative journalist. He tweets with @fejirooliver86 and IG handle of @elahuva

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Opinion

Man Makes Vegetable Soup Of Huge Snake Killed In His House

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A man with the Twitter handle caesar_mayor has shared pictures of a huge snake killed in his house.
Having killed the snake, he made  vegetable soup with the reptile, and shared pictures.
Some snakes are considered a delicay in Africa, and other parts of the world.
There are people who hold the opinion that the meat of a snake tastes like chicken.
Nigerian man cooks and eats huge snake he killed in his house
Nigerian man cooks and eats huge snake he killed in his house
Nigerian man cooks and eats huge snake he killed in his house
Nigerian man cooks and eats huge snake he killed in his house
Nigerian man cooks and eats huge snake he killed in his house
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Nigeria/Russia Relations: The missing link  

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Russia

By Hussaini Monguno

On November 15, 1884, 14 mainly European countries gathered in Berlin for a meeting which lasted to February 26, 1885. The aim of that conference was to split the continent of Africa and share it to the Europeans who were scrambling over it.

The countries represented were; Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands. Others include; Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden-Norway (unified from 1814 to 1905), Turkey, and the United States of America. Of these 14 nations, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal were the major players in the conference, controlling most of Africa at the time.

Russia, though present at the conference, was not interested in the greedy project of acquiring Africa by force of arms. The Russians held firmly to the guiding principle of their policy as advocated by one of their founding fathers, V.I. Lenin who advocated equality and peaceful coexistence amongst all the peoples of the world.

It was this same message of equality of mankind that led Khrushchev (the former Soviet leader) to move a motion to end all forms of colonialism by 1960 at the plenary of the XVth session of the United Nations General assembly. The passage of the motion led to the crumbling of colonialism, and sovereign African states began to emerge one after another. Nigeria took its turn to gain independence in 1960.

The Soviet Union – precursor to Russian Federation – built into its foreign policy architecture a sensitive and positive response to assist Africa in building an egalitarian society for themselves.

In the case of Nigeria, the warm response from Russia was instant. Nigeria became independent on October 1 1960. In less than two months – on November 25, 1960 – the two countries established diplomatic relations.

The founding fathers of Nigeria said the foreign policy of the country was based on Africa as its cornerstone. Ordinarily, this should have drafted Nigeria very close to the Russians who took it on themselves to fight for the decolonization of Africa. Ironically, this was not the case because the first Republic leaders were under the heavy influence of the colonial masters.

The colonial masters induced Nigerian leaders to launch heavy, unfriendly propaganda against Russia in Nigeria during the early and mid-1960s. In contrast to this, nations like the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, Italy, Spain and other countries in Western Europe at large enjoyed positive propaganda which made them seem as ideal and friendly.

The system of governance in most African countries including Nigeria was fashioned after their former colonialists and gave preference to the interests of the colonial masters. With this mindset, the environment was not conducive to friendly Nigeria-Russia relations.

During the early 60’s, the main interest of the Soviet Union was to expand its political influence among the countries of Africa and have more states converted into socialist-oriented nations in the then ideologically polarized world that was popularly referred to as the cold war. Nigeria being a capitalist state was not inclined to change its orientation. Its colonial master and allies were opposed to Nigeria and any of its former colonies having cordial relationship with Russia which they came to identify as a strong iron curtain – not be allowed a space of further expansion in Africa. Any manifestation of or link to the communist ideology was met with censorship and repression.

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But there was no let-up on the part of Russia. They seized every opportunity to advertise their goodwill to Nigeria. When the civil war broke out in Nigeria with the Eastern Region declaring itself an independent state of Biafra, it was Russia that came to bail out Nigeria with arms to put down the insurrection. At the time, both the United States and the United Kingdom refused to sale arms to Nigeria. In fact France went a step further by recognizing Biafra as a sovereign state.

The Nigerian Civil War opened the eyes of Nigerian leaders to the reality of world politics. Nigerian youths became eager recipients of Soviet scholarships for higher education in the Soviet Union. This was a major opportunity for the Soviet Union to establish itself in sub-Saharan Africa’s major country.

Immediately after the war, General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s Head of State, paid a State Visit to Moscow in 1971. President Olusegun Obasanjo also visited Russia in 2001 and on June 24 2009, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev became the first Russian President to visit Nigeria.

These top level visits are too far in between and do not reflect the several challenges confronting Nigeria-Russia relations.

For instance, in order for agreements among nations to become operational, they are to be passed by the National parliament and that forms their legal framework. The agreements signed with Russia during these visits are yet to be ratified by the parliament with particular reference to the Abuja agreement of 2009 which covered six critical areas: Viz- Investment, cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy, understanding in the field of exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes, transfer of persons sentenced to imprisonment, declaration on principles of friendly relations and partnership between Nigeria and the Russian Federation and several other agreements on the eventual establishment of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation (ICESTC) between the two countries.

Adequate knowledge and clear understanding of culture, history, language, mentality, world-view, capabilities and potentials of other nations are crucial to foreign policy making. There is weak indication that the two countries have sufficient and adequate perception of each other. This in part is responsible for the lack of the political will to fully implement their existing bilateral agreements.

We have had serial disappointments with the western world from their refusal to help in the fight to keep Nigeria one and their current refusal to help with weapons to put down the Boko Haram insurgency under the spurious claims that the Nigerian military is abusing human rights. The supply of military equipment and materiel notably the MI-35 attack helicopters by Russia have played a high value addition in our fight against Boko Haram. Unfortunately majority among the Nigeria political elites are under strong influence of London and Washington whose interest is to distance Moscow from the affairs of African countries.

Still, there has been increased trade between Nigeria and Russia since the civil war experience. Dramatically, the Soviet Union became Nigeria’s best friend and ally such that by the time the civil war ended in 1970 Nigeria had opened its doors to other Soviet imports such as consumer goods and industrial manufacture.

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The most significant highlight of the growing economic cooperation between the two countries was the award of contracts to Soviet companies for the establishment of the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex and for the laying of oil pipelines across the country in line with the articles form economic and technical cooperation agreed upon by the two countries.

The project was however not completed as scheduled, and has continued to suffer several setbacks over the decades due to what should be seen as a lack of political will and adequate appreciation of the potential of the steel project to radically transform the economy of Nigeria and its capacity to be the foundation for the industrialization of the nation.

Similarly, ALSCON, Nigeria’s only aluminum smelting plant, handed over to Russian aluminum giant, United Company RUSAL PLC was closed down in 2014. Again, nothing much is heard of Gazprom, the Russian national energy giant, the biggest in the world, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the exploration and exploitation of the nation’s huge gas reserves with a new joint venture company to be known as NiGaz Energy Company, which will also take part in several other critical infrastructural development projects, including the training of Nigerians among others. Both companies were expected to invest up to 2.5 billion dollars in the joint venture.

These are very good signs for Nigeria-Russia relations and should be pursued with vigor because they can lead to slow but steady growth of bilateral trade and the promotion of direct contacts between Nigerian and Russian officials and institutions, agencies and companies, opening up of opportunities for further cooperation in the area of energy, metallurgy, oil and gas and promotion of bilateral cooperation in the cultural sphere.

Nigeria needs Russian technology to boost industrialization just as Russia needs Nigeria as a market for its industrial products and military equipment. All issues on the privatization of ALSCON to Russian RUSAL including the legal tussles require diplomatic solutions in a manner that will bring the company to function at its maximum capacity.

The volume of on-going trade between the two countries still remains very low – a paltry $350 million. This is ridiculous given the rich economic and trade endowments of both Nigeria and Russia. Worse still, there is a consistent huge imbalance in favor of Russia.

Inadequate information on business opportunities in Nigeria poses one of the major problems. Foreign investors including Russians have no access to update and reliable information on business prospects in Nigeria. If and when Russian businesses discover, for example, the rich agricultural products that are available in Nigeria, they’d wonder why they had not known about these all along.

In Nigeria, there are exceptional high-quality agricultural products such as oranges, mangoes, citrus, sweet honey that could easily rise to the top of the market demand in Russia.

There are many options available for the two countries to expand and deepen mutual trade and diplomatic ties in the interest of the two countries, world peace and prosperity. These options must be speedily pursued.

–      Monguno is member, Board of Directors, FCDA-Abuja-Nigeria.

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Man United, Barcelona Battle Over Victor Osimhen

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Victor Osimhen

The duo of Manchester United and Barcelona are said to be battling for the signature of Nigerian and Super Eagles forward, Victor Osimhen.

According to a report by French regional newspaper La Voix du Nord, the Lille forward might no longer be at Lille at the end of the coming transfer window.

According to reports by La Voix du Nord, the Nigerian international has many suitors and Man United is just one of the top teams keeping tabs on him.

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Man United are currently in the transfer market for a quality forward ahead of the winter transfer window in January, the likes of the quartet of Aleksandr Sobolev, Callum Wilson, Moussa Dembele and Mario Mandzukic are already on a list of probable strikers coming to Man United.

Interestingly, Osimhen, who will be handed Ligur 1 player of the month trophy during Lille’s home game against Bordeaux on October 26, was first linked with United after winning the top scorer award at the U17 World Cup in 2015, but Derek Langley, ex-head of youth player recruitment, denied the reports.

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