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BusinessDay 11 Feb 2018

22 BD SUNDAY Sunday

22 BD SUNDAY Sunday 11 February 2018 Feature C002D5556 As Sultan, Ooni lead the way to P/Harcourt in time of tensions IGNATIUS CHUKWU …Wike’s aides recount critical benefits to Nigeria, Rivers L-R: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar during a project inspection on Wednesday in Port Harcourt. The emptying of all the topmost traditional stools and royalties in Nigeria into Port Harcourt for over three days last week did not fail to sway all eyes to the Garden City, probably because Nigeria is still regarded as not truly a nation but a gathering of ethnic nationalities. Many wondered what really was the reason for the PH meeting as others wondered whether 2019 was the real issue, but many saw the emergency and tensions all over Nigeria as reason for such a move. Thus, from January 29 to February 1, 2018, almost all the topmost royal fathers from the 36 states of Nigeria remained in Rivers State for the 9th General Assembly and brainstorming on the state of the nation and the way out. The major outcome from the Port Harcourt summit seemed to be a silent communiqué that had strong words for the presidency and the reaffirmation of the traditional bloc to one Nigeria. The lords were also treated to grandeur familiar to their thrones and personal care of the chief host, Governor Nwesom Wike. The government in Port Harcourt did not see the meeting as an ordinary gathering. “This is because these are men occupying thrones that ruled the different peoples of Nigeria before the coming of the white man and colonialism. These men held the power of life and death in their hands just few decades ago. This may no longer be so these days but the nation’s royal fathers still wield enormous powers in the land,” Wike said. As observed by King Jaja of Opobo, Dandeson Douglas Jaja, in his welcome address at the council meeting held in Port Harcourt, when the people running the show lose direction and the ship of nation is threatened, it is the traditional rulers they run to save the situation. This explains the critical importance of the council meeting that held in Port Harcourt, and the overwhelming joy expressed by royal father after royal father who were bitter that the FG did not deem it fit to provide for their meetings and participation in the affairs of the land despite always falling back on the traditional mentors for solutions in times of emergency. This is why they profusely blessed and commended Wike for coming to their aid by accepting to sponsor their 9th council meeting and in a very good way befitting of their dignity, respect and high offices. In doing this, according to the Rivers State Commissioner of information and Communications, Governor Wike was only showing leadership, something he allegedly does at all times. “This is what you get when people deploy their experience. Wike has tremendous wealth of experience. Remember that as council chairman (Obio/Akpor), he won the best and council chairman in Nigeria award. As Chief of Staff he excelled to propel the Amaechi administration in the first term. As minister of state in education, he performed so highly that many wondered if he was the main minister. As governor now, in the first two and half years, he has done more than many governors in Nigeria. That is why the awards have come without soliciting. People watch television and read newspapers everyday of what Rivers State is doing. Things speak for themselves. Nobody will be led by the nose to believe what does not exist.” Okah said Wike is a born leader. “There is no doubt about that. Leadership also requires that you must maintain stability; political and economic in your state, and transfer the same to the centre, if you have the means to do so. He draws a line between political disagreement and stability. If there is anything the state can do to promote stability, he would not shy away from it. He draws Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (2nd L), Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Jaja (l), Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar during a project inspection on Wednesday in Port Harcourt. that line. “We used to see in this state where a sitting governor will not go to the airport to receive the president; not once, not twice, not even sending a government official. But see how Rivers people and their government roll out the drum whenever the vice president is coming to Rivers State. This is who he is. We are all service agents and you must serve the people irrespective of the platform through which you got to that position,” he said. So, whenever Federal Government institutions, public agencies or groups of Nigerians approach Rivers State Government for support to enable them carry out meaningful programmes, what comes to their mind is; “Why is every person coming to my house? Rivers State is not the richest but we believe in one Nigeria. We do not make pretenses about that; what we ask for is a fair and equitable Nigeria where people are given their rights. That is where we stand. “If you believe in this, naturally, you will be your brother’s keeper. So, as often as they come to you, you try to support them. The story being told about Rivers State being unsafe or being cult heaven, etc, is not true. If your place is unsafe, people will not come to you. Will you go to an unsafe place for one billion naira? The people come and now serve as ambassadors of Rivers State. They help to debunk the wrong impression created about the state in newspapers. The hostile messages against us are knocked out.” That conference of traditional rulers came and for the first time, he went on, “Some of us appreciated the enormity of responsibilities that traditional rulers bear. The president has a traditional ruler, the governor has a traditional ruler, and so, the assemblage of these royal fathers means that Nigeria was here. We hosted them well and they were happy. “There is emergency in Nigeria at the moment, a situation the present leaders seem to have taken the nation to. The sections seem to be pulling apart and the centre seems no longer able to hold. Every sane voice has warned that crisis is around the corner. This is why the most important uniting voice is that of all the traditional rulers put together. But, before they speak with one voice, they would have to come together and create a platform. This is what Rivers State provided. This is why all the topmost traditional rulers in Nigeria were all united in condemning the

Sunday 11 February 2018 C002D5556 BD SUNDAY 23 Feature Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike acknowledging cheers from traders at the Mile One Market during his project inspection with traditional rulers of Nigeria on Wednesday violence in the country, especially the farmers/herdsmen clashes and challenged the Federal Government to rise to the challenge and stop pretending that nothing was happening. All of those who addressed the conference spoke in the manner; the need for Nigeria to stand against this menace, against cannibalism, against criminality (either as herdsmen or cultism), and against threats to the nation. “We must thank them for being able to speak up. They spoke with one voice and unambiguously. They have placed on record their loyalty to one Nigeria and have urged the authorities and the agencies of government to act decisively to save the nation, not minding whose egg is gored. In fact, to drive the point home, the Sultan of Sokoto demanded for action, a probe, and said even if he was found liable, that the hammer should fall on him. There can be no sterner way of putting the message out, no clearer call on the FG to act, now. “The most attractive thing for us as a state however is that beyond what was said, they went to monitor some of our projects. Project tour for us is medicinal; it is what you are seeing, beyond stories, beyond photos. The royal fathers went with their regalia. It was exciting. Most people who had not seen them before, and who could not see them in their hotel rooms and event venues were able to see them in their communities. Imagine royalties such as the Ooni of Ife, Amanyanabo of Opobo or Sultan of Sokoto and many others that are rare to see.” Moving from one project site to another was like bringing VIPs to a lot of Rivers people, he said. “The applause and cheers during the project sites showed that the people were happy and comfortable to receive them. It showed that the people were happy with their governor. The royal fathers went to Judges’ Quarters in GRA. The judges would own the houses for life. They also went to the NBA axis, to Court of Appeal, the Federal High Courts, the Federal Industrial Court, etc, to see what the governor has done. They went to the Mother & Child Hospital fully funded by Rivers State government. They also went to Pleasure Park along Aba road and saw the new developments that are going on there. “The royal fathers are regal and royal indeed and are mostly elderly, so they would have no reason to fail to call a spade a spade. They have been hearing that Gov Wike was being called Mr Project and they have had the ample opportunity to confirm this affirmation. There would be no further illusion as to what is capable of running his state in a time such as this. The Sultan particularly said that of a truth, he saw a neat city, and that he felt no pangs of recession. This is the handwork of a man on duty. “At the end of the day, the traditional fathers really appreciated the efforts of the Rivers State Government to L-R: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar during a project inspection on Wednesday in Port Harcourt. work for the people. We really appreciated their sacrifice and their coming.” A Government House report said the top traditional rulers of Nigeria commended Gov Wike for executing people-oriented projects for the benefit of Rivers people. The Prominent Traditional Rulers that joined the Rivers State Governor for the project inspection include: Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar; Eze Imo, Dr Samuel Agunwa; King Edmund Daukuro of Bayelsa; Emir of Kazuare, Alhaji Hussain Adamu; Alayemore of Ido Osun, Oba Aderemi Adedapo; the Tor Tiv, Prof James Ayatse; and Emir of Fika, Alhaji Muhammadu Idrissa; and the Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Jaja, among others from the 36 states of the Federation. Governor Wike supported by commissioners from relevant Ministries led the royal father to the various sites. Speaking at the different project sites, Governor Wike stated that majority of the ongoing projects in the state would be completed by December 2018. The governor stated that the Mile One Market was initiated to replace a burnt market on the same location and also address the challenge of street trading. Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) told the Traditional Rulers that the National Industrial Court will help develop Rivers State as a judicial hub for Labour related cases. Commissioner of Health, Prof. Chike Princewill in a brief at the Mother and Child Hospital stated that the hospital will be on stream at the end of March, while 75 percent of equipment has arrived the hospital. Speaking on behalf of the traditional rulers, Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria and Etsu Nupe, Yahaya Abubakar, said the projects are making life more meaningful for the people. He said: “We had the opportunity to see different projects that the Rivers State Governor is carrying out. We support and encourage him to continue with the people oriented projects. “This will go a long to benefiting the Rivers people and visitors to the state. He is executing people oriented projects and we pray Almighty God to guide him “. So, why were these powerful men in Port Harcourt? It was clear that the nation was at an emergency and such group of leaders needed to take a stand for the subjects and populace to interpret. The task seemed done. ‘Government should make environment... Continued from page 19 our spouse. For every business, there is this five percent that you can’t even share with people. But in Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, you can share that because we have this binding oath on us that we can share and whatever we say remains there. So, you can share those fears and because we have the opportunity of sharing those fears, we find out at the end of the day we are better off. The E.O. I belong to is committed first to their families and to their community and by extension their employees. Since I joined this body, I have a better relationship with my staff. At times people come here, they don’t know between me and my staff who is the boss because we try to encourage them. We hunt for talent and where necessary we make them shareholders. So the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation is about growing business for long term. We are constantly trying to bridge that gap. And there is something we are about to start here in Nigeria called the Accelerators Programme. For young entrepreneurs who are not able to meet up the $1 million match, we bring them together and start coaching them. They become a member of this family. They can attend some programmes. We will network with them, bring them into our fold with the hope that we grow them to also become millionaires and big time businessmen and entrepreneurs. What is your reaction to the faceoff between the executive and the senate over non-confirmation of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members of the cbn? These are some of the challenges I am talking about having consistent policies and standardized ways of doing things. Because these are what every other person is looking at. I have had the opportunity of seeing how Nigerians are being mirrored by investors, not just what you read on papers but the real people who have the money and want to come in. Many of them are still not certain. So, we need to begin to set up ways of doing things so that from anywhere like the Ease of Doing Business, even though it has improved, we need to keep doing more. I am glad to also say that currently I’m writing a book about how investor-friendly Nigeria can be. I am happy that Forbes has agreed to publish my book. Sometimes this year, it is going to be out. I am using my story as a baseline to portray what is possible for African businesses and what opportunities are available in Africa. I hope that by the launch of the book, we should be able to bring more investors into the country because a lot of them are watching. They have the money but they want to be sure that their investments are safe.

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