Vanguard Newspaper 14 April 2018
12—SATURDAY Vanguard, , APRIL 14, 2018 How Governor is boosting skill acquisition in Taraba By Hassan Mijinyawa The Proramme of skills acquisition under the administration of Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku is of strategic significance, considering the mounting challenges of unemployment in our time. Coupled with social ills such as criminality and prostitution among women and youths, it is inevitable to give skills acquisition great primacy. Moreover, the restiveness of youths has given every serious government cause to tackle the vermin headlong. This is not by happenstance, but Governor Ishaku has planned it carefully right from the outset and it formed part of the Rescue Agenda of his administration. Indeed, upon coming into office in less than two weeks precisely on the 10 June 2015, Governor Ishaku initialled a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bank of Industries (BOI) for N700 Million, with the bank providing N350 Million, while the Taraba State Government provided half of the amount under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSE). On 4 April, 2016, government disbursed the money to beneficiaries of cooperative societies. It was an indication that the administration was preparing for a greater programme that would further impact women and youth to reduce unemployment in the Taraba landscape. The administration moved swiftly by setting up institutional structures known as the Grassroots Team and the Rescue Team Watch to combine with relevant Ministries like the Rescue Team Watch to combine with relevant Ministries like Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation and Education to give impetus to the actualization of the programme. The Grassroots Matters Team comprises of a Special Adviser and two Senior Special Assistants coordinated by the Special Adviser (Manifesto Implementation) who collates and •Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku consolidates monthly reports for submission to the Executive Governor. Because it is an effective representative of government at the grassroots, it conducts a monthly Town Hall Meeting, organized in one electoral ward to another of the 168 wards of the 16 local governments and Yangtu and Ngada Special Development Areas of the State. Driven by the desire to reposition the State, Governor Ishaku in addressing the people of Taraba said, “This administration will strive to create and maintain an enabling environment conducive for the optimal participation and sustainable engagement of key stakeholders and partners. It will develop a sensitive and responsible political class, a vibrant and purpose-driven bureaucracy, a veritable resource base, and a robust broadbased economy. “In line with this promise, the empowerment of Women and Youth assumed a centre stage. Scanning through the 168 wards, it chose in its first phase 336 youths to train in tailoring, shoemaking, soap making and woodcraft. Other training areas are carpentry, weaving, welding, hairdressing and computer studies. The philosophy behind this, the governor explained, was “our resolve through the Rescue Agenda to embark on aggressive and deliberate measures to reduce the rate of unemployment among our teeming youths.” Government voted enough money for trainers and trainees as well as securing starter packs to give beneficiaries a head start in the market by enabling them to be instant employers of labour. During the graduation of the 1 st Batch of the Skills Acquisition and the inauguration of the 2 nd batch trainees under the post Secondary Schools Youths Empowerment Programme of the Peter Akintola Youth Centre for Industrial Training, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Governor Ishaku was full of excitement. “When we came on board on the 29 May, 2015,” he said, “we did promise the people of Taraba State of our resolve to reduce unemployment. “We made it clear that we will achieve that through the provision of skills acquisition training programmes for the youth because of our strong belief that it is better to teach people how to catch fish and make them self-reliant than to be giving them fish always.” Governor Ishaku then proceeded to explain that the set of trainees, who were 51, received training in Information Communication Technology, Fashion and Design, Electrical, Catering and Tourism, Tiling and concreting as well as Metal Fabrication. He said his administration expended the sum of N265,000 on each of the trainee, which covered the cost of feeding, accommodation and hospital bills for the eight months the training lasted and that each received N5,000 monthly for pocket money. It was a remarkable investment as the beneficiaries earned Trade Test 3, 2 and one certificates of the National Board for Technical education, NABTEB, London City of Guild and the German Cooperative certificates. It was a commitment of the trainees, which made Governor Ishaku proud as most of the certificates have recognition internationally in the job market. The State Government provided Starter packs valued at millions of naira to enable them to have a head start in the job market. Perceiving the significance of the gesture, Commissioner of Education, Johanness Jigem pointedly warned, “At this juncture I want to sound a note of warning to the trainees, who are beneficiaries of Government magnanimity of this kind. Do not be personae non grata by selling off these packs given to you at ridiculous prices for quick gain and personal gratification and self-aggrandizement. My dear beneficiaries the only way you can show your gratitude to the government and the good people of Taraba, is to create at least ten jobs in the next three years. By so doing, you are making government to incest more in this direction”. Although this sounded like a tall order, Jigem was frank as he was upbeat by lauding the efforts of Taraba State Government under the able leadership of Arc Darius Ishaku, Captain of the rescue mission, “for the giant rescue stride in the educational sector and youth empowerment, which has culminated in the distribution of this starter packs today”. Also, during the graduation of the 1 st and 2 nd Batches and the flag off of the 3 rd Batch of youths and women empowerment skills acquisition programmes, the Commissioner of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Abba Akawu Zagha said his Ministry collaborated with the Rescue Watch Team in September, 2017. Through the approval of Governor Ishaku they organized, trained and graduated 335 people in various skills. Giving a breakdown, he said the beneficiaries came from across the state and received training in nine different trades, adding that most of them are performing creditably well. Zagha said the 2 nd batch had 448 youths and women trained in 16 different trades, while the 3 rd batch is to train 600 youths and women drawn equally from all parts of the stat, again in 16 trades. Taraba State government has voted enough funds for this programme to succeed. This gesture is unprecedented in the annals of any administration in Taraba State. The Darius Ishaku Administration has given the people of Taraba State a cause to be proud, responsible and responsive citizens. However, tribe and religion may differ, in peace and unity we must resolve to remain to help the Rescue Captain Governor Ishaku to make Taraba State remarkably great. Mijinyawa is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Imo: Sam Daddy’s Curious Governorship Declaration BY UCHENNA OBASI Senator Samuel Anyanwu, popularly known as Sam Daddy is a very lucky man. And he has been exceptionally lucky in politics. As a man who served Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu faithfully in politics, his rewards have been bountiful. From a local government chairman, he became a member of the Imo State House of Assembly and finally rose to the dizzying height of a senator. Some said his becoming a senator was an accident that may not happen twice. But he also got lucky when as a rookie Senator, he was appointed chairman of a committee, a very powerful one at that. To his credit, the man has been visible in the Senate, and the people of Imo East (Owerri Zone) should be proud of him. After chalking up these positions, it was not surprising that Sam Daddy should aim higher – the coveted seat of Imo governorship. The right question is: what is wrong in that? He is qualified. He may have the resources. Some may question his pedigree. Some may compare him with the current governor, Rochas Okorocha and fear for Imo since they emerged from the same background. But after everything, he is constitutionally entitled to seek that office, his glaring limitations notwithstanding. When it was still on the realm of speculations that Senator Anyanwu will contest the governorship, his god father, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu offered his support. But other notable Owerri Zone indigenes differed, saying that Sam Daddy is hardly the man that will win the governorship for them. In fact a long time ally of Iwuanyanwu, Chief J.C. Odunna threatened to proceed on exile should Sam Daddy be lucky this time again to be governor. But that is what politics is all about, support here, disagreement there and rejection somewhere. However, what is curious is that Senator ANyanwu declared his ambition on Holy Thursday among PDP faithful from local government party executives to the state exco without the symbol of the party, the umbrella being present. More than curious? From the brochure used in the declaration to his posters, the party’s symbol and logo were conspicuously missing. The natural question to ask is Senator Samuel Anyanwu this: Is Sam Daddy actually contesting for the governorship under PDP? If he is, does it mean he is ashamed of the party? If he is not, why treat the symbol of the party with such disdain? One thing that also stood out was that no member of the party’s e x c o raised t h e issue. Were they in collusion with t h e Senator or was it a sheer dereliction of duty aided by impending perks? Or is there something they know which other members of PDP are not privy to? This abdication of responsibility by the top PDP officials has raised questions as to where their loyalty lies especially since after the Sheriff/ Makarfi imbroglio. Indeed, not a few have raised the issue that during those days when men were expected to take a stand and declare where they stood, Sam Daddy stood on the fence. He was neither cold nor warm. Now that the battle has been fought and won, he wants to be a beneficiary, to deny those who sowed during the planting season, the joy of reaping the fruits of their labour. Although, in politics, morals become the first casualty, what is fair in this case? Does it not smack of opportunism for such a man to ride at the back of those who fought for the victory of PDP to attempt to win the Imo governorship? But again, that is if Sam Daddy is actually still a loyal member of PDP. Given his past relationship with Gov. Okorocha, given his relationship with the Senate President, could it be that this Senator is bidding his time before moving on? This theory is tenable for those who swore that Sam Daddy’s declaration for governorship is a mere attempt to instigate crisis in the party so as to help the opposition gain upper hand in 2019 elections. While none of these can be proved, can the Senator tell Imo PDP why he chose to abandon the PDP’s logo in all his posters and the brochure he used for the declarations? Most times, those who have gone ahead to move against the PDP have been those who benefited most from the party. Bukola Saraki, Rotimi Amaechi, Kwankwaso, Wammako and almost all those who defected to APC after the crisis in PDP benefited from the party substantially before driving the knife deep at its back. President Obasanjo also slapped the party with betrayal after being president without winning his ward. Could it be that these are Sam Daddy’s role models? Only time will tell. But before then, it is germane for the Senator to come clean and tell PDP why its logo was missing at the declaration brochure and his posters. A timely explanation will help douse the curiosity pervading the political atmosphere. Sam Daddy should not make himself a political bat that is neither an animal nor a bird. We are watching and waiting! C M Y K
SATURDAY Vanguard, APRIL 14, , 2018—13 IBORI, UDUAGHAN, OKOWA, MANAGER, NWAOBOSHI: The 5 musketeers of Delta politics •How they surfaced, their style and divergences •Fruitless attempts to cage the power brokers By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South HOW they managed to pull the act is not the focus of this report. But the reality is that less than eight years after the creation of Delta State in 1991, they were able to tactically position themselves and have continued to call the shots in the state 19 years after they captured power. Practically, virtually nothing happens in the state without their inputs and efforts, over the years. Ploys by other opinionated leaders to break their iron grip have proved abortive. They have so far produced three governors of the state in a row, numerous Senators, House of Representatives and state House of Assembly members, local government chairmen, councilors and lots more. Depending on which side of the divide in the convoluted political game in the state, you can call them any name, but former governor of the state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, another ex-governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, serving governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Senator James Manager and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi are undeniably the power brokers of Delta politics. Ibori is from the Central senatorial district, Uduaghan and Manager are from the South senatorial district, while Governor Okowa and Nwaoboshi hail from the North senatorial district of the state. As already recognized, Ibori is the leader of the Delta musketeers. Elder statesman and National Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Senator Edwin Clark, saw the plan when it was unfolding, especially when Uduaghan become known as Ibori’s favorite to succeed him, but his inflexible moves to abort the process were truncated. He later resolved with Uduaghan and today, Clark is at home with Governor Okowa. What is not clear is whether he has forgiven Ibori. Also, consecutive governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru, a political force in his own right joined forces with other politicians to stop Ibori’s grip on power. Rather than shrink in strength, Ibori waxed stronger. How the commandos emerged The five musketeers are all members of the burgeoning grouping known as the Ibori political family with the Odidigborigbo as the commanderin-chief. Available facts indicate that prior to the 1999 election, which he won; Ibori had brought the defunct Grassroots Democratic Movement, GDM, to the state through which he mobilized young breeds into politics. Okowa at the time was the Delta North coordinator of GDM and Uduaghan, a founder and executive member of GDM. Senators Manager and Nwaoboshi were all leaders of the group. Governor Okowa confirmed to this reporter in an interview that it was in GDM that he met Ibori in 1996. (GDM was one of the five parties sanctioned by the late General Sani Abacha in his time, but when he wanted to transmute to civilian president before he gave up the ghost,his first choice was the United Nigeria Congress Party, UNCP) According to Okowa: “That was quite a long time. There was Grassroots Democratic Movement, GDM, though a small party then during the Abacha time; then UNCP was where we had the moneybags and big politicians. But somehow, some of us, the younger ones felt that we needed to create a new politics. That was in 1996 and we found ourselves joining the Grassroots Democratic Movement. Why, because the national chair then was also very young, so he was able to recruit some of us, who were young into the place and nobody actually believed in us. Therefore, it was in the Grassroots Democratic Movement, what we called the GDM that I actually met Chief James Ibori in 1996.” “We struggled hard, we were able to win five local governments out of the 25 in Delta state and people put us off, but we played good politics then even when we were quite young. I had been council chair before, so I understood what politics was. He (Ibori) also had made an attempt to run before, people like Senators James Manager, Ighoyota Amori; it was a young crop of persons; all of us below 40 then that actually populated the place. “However, when the new political era was to start after the Abacha time, immediately we realized then that UNCP was going to be a major problem to us, we quickly teamed up with DPN, the Democratic Party of Nigeria and that gave us strength because they also had four local government areas and we had five, which made it nine. So we had improved on our strength, the combination actually gave us a very good strength, we formed what we called the Delta National Congress in Warri and that was the tool with which we went to link up with the G34 and then eventually joined the PDP. The rest is now history because we surprisingly took Delta state at that time,” he disclosed. Evidently, from Okowa’s sequence of events, Ibori had a political formation on ground before the PDP was formed in 1999 and those who thought they were on the same traction with him as cofounders of PDP discovered when he smoothly picked the governorship ticket of the party at the primaries that he was far ahead of them. We struggled hard, we were able to win five local governments out of the 25 in Delta state and people put us off, but we played good politics then even when we were quite young What do they want? Ibori, the leader of the group is not contemplating any political office at the moment. He seems satisfied with playing the role of political kingmaker in the state and those seeking political office come to him for endorsement. He is the rallying point of politicians in the state, both those in the ruling PDP and opposition parties. He was away when his daughter, Hon Erihitake Ibori, was conscripted and made a member of the state House of Assembly. One of the musketeers, Senator Nwaoboshi did not hide the fact that Ibori made him a Senator. Uduaghan, who also served eight years as governor like Ibori wants to go to the Senate in 2019. He tried to move to the National Assembly straight from his governorship seat in 2015, but a combination of factors truncated his ambition, leaving the coast for the incumbent, Senator Manager. Senator Okowa from the North district also intends to run for a second term after the expiration of his first stint, next year, and had received the guarantee of Ibori to the effect. •Ibori •Okowa Senator Manager, who is from the same South senatorial district with Uduaghan has held the position for a record four terms, that is 16 years by next year and he still wants a fifth tenure. While Uduaghan is Itsekiri, Manager is Ijaw. Also, Senator Nwaoboshi, popularly known as Oracle and Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, is eying a second term. Clash of interests The political gladiators have always handled their interests despite the differences as political animals. That is the reason Okowa still materialized as governor in 2015 despite the drawbacks. Nevertheless the proposition by Senator Manager to hold on to his position after four terms is something Ibori has to dexterously deal with to save the musketeers from themselves. Uduaghan is strongly opposed to the idea. He explained in 2015 that he reneged on his ambition because he wanted peace to reign in the state, but it appears he is not prepared to stomach the humiliation he suffered back then this time around. There was also a cloaked attempt to use a member of the state House of Assembly, Hon Michael Diden, also an Itsekiri, to scuttle Uduaghan’s 2019 senatorial bid. It is not known whether Senator Manager will buckle, but sources said he had asked to be compensated with another good political office if he is to back out. “He reportedly requested to be made Okowa’s running mate, but Governor Okowa had since announced that he was going to run with his deputy, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro and I do not think Ibori is going to stop him. So Senator Manager’s case is dicey,” an apostle of Ibori political dynasty confided in this reporter, during the week, in Asaba. There are other disagreements among the Ibori disciples in the present political dispensation. Ibori mends cracks Indeed, if Ibori had not returned from London the time he did, last year, something scary would have happened to his political family, as the handwriting was on the wall. Conversely his return has also changed the political dynamics in the state. Expectedly, he had mended whatever perceived differences between Uduaghan and Okowa. Governor Okowa now refers to Uduaghan as his boss and Uduaghan is proclaiming Okowa for second term everywhere he goes. One of the key apostles and strategists of the Ibori political dynasty, a former Commissioner and Chief of Staff in the Uduaghan government, Chief Paul Akpeki, left PDP and pitched tent with APC shortly after Okowa assumed power due to his dissatisfaction with developments. The opposition celebrated his exit while PDP rued. He vowed that Deltans would change Okowa in 2019. But when Ibori returned, he reached out to Akpeki and invited Okowa to iron out the differences, after which he asked Akpeki to return to the PDP. Today, Akpeki is back to the fold and operating as Chief Strategist to Governor Okowa. There is also the case of another apostle, Chief Ighoyota Amori, who emerged as Senator for Delta Central senatorial district in 2015, but dethroned later by another Ibori disciple supposed to be his subordinate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who had switched to the opposition. Amori, who has stood •Nwaoboshi •Uduaghan •Manager with Ibori all the years since the GDM days is certainly not pleased with the happenings in the Ibori family. The impudence of it is that Senator Omo-Agege, currently a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, snatched power from him on the platform of another party, Labour Party, LP, with Ogboru, the man the Ibori family love to hate and who also loathes the Ibori dynasty. Ibori, according to an insider, is concerned about Amori’s catch-22, a political tactician he respects and is looking at some options in 2019 to make up for the troubles. The former governor is also attending to several other matters affecting the political family. The Ibori political family comprising the five key leaders, apostles and disciples is enveloping and it is deep-rooted in the state, the reason it is the most powerful political machinery behind the Peoples Democratic Party in the state. People like Chief Benjamin Elue, Prof Amos Utuama, both former deputy governors of the state, former Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay and the incumbent, Mr. Festus Agas are all Ibori disciples. Similarly, Senator Omo-Agege and Chief Ayiri Emami, a top-ranking Itsekiri chief and business mogul, both APC chieftains in the state are Ibori disciples. Plots To outmaneuver Ibori and PDP To cause the downfall of the Ibori political empire and PDP in the state, the opposition symbolized by APC must do a much bigger work than it is doing now. It will, however, remain an uphill task. Former governorship candidate and leader of APC in the state, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, governorship aspirants, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Chief Great Ogboru, Rt Hon Victor Ochei, Prof Patrick Utomi and other leaders of the party also have to sink their differences and build a stronger party to outwit Ibori and his team. They must also undertake to support whoever wins the party’s governorship ticket at the primaries to be able to put up a formidable battle against the PDP. The APC and other parties had variously in the past accused the PDP of rigging itself to power. Though the PDP never agreed that it rigged election in the state, it is also obvious that unless the APC has devised a better rigging plan, it may not be able to rig out PDP in the state.