November 28, 2022

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2023: Activity of guaranteeing a corrupt-free successor in Rivers 


GODWIN EGBA in Port Harcourt examines the place of the Rivers Conscience Initiative (RCI), a non-partisan organisation, crusading that whoever should succeed Governor Nyesom Wike should acquit self of corruption

“He who goes to fairness should accomplish that with clear palms.” This seems to be the message of The Rivers Conscience Initiative, RCI, a Rivers state based mostly non-partisan organisation which has taken it upon itself to guide the marketing campaign towards the continued senseless looting of the state’s assets. 

In an unmistakable language and with out equivocation, the group is demanding that these aspiring for workplaces within the 2023 common election in Rivers state, should clear their names of corruption allegations, earlier than contesting.

Alleged guber race hijack

The group in an announcement launched in Port Harcourt, titled “Rivers state on the Brink”, famous that “the race for 2023 has allegedly been hijacked by individuals with questionable characters. That is regardless of the supply of many first rate and patriotic Rivers little kids with confirmed competence”. 

RCI equally condemned political events which have produced candidates of questionable fame who’re wished by safety and anti-graft businesses, as in keeping with the group, “the humongous sum of money allegedly stolen by these individuals belongs to Rivers folks and all accused individuals should reply for his or her actions”. 

The group, in an announcement signed by 5 individuals together with its Chairman and Secretary, Messrs Kalada Wilson and Ken Izidor, respectively, declared assist for any effort to recuperate misappropriated state funds and prosecute individuals alleged to have looted Rivers State coffers. 

Different signatories to the doc embrace Messrs Karl Chinedu, Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo and Dagogo Ezekiel-Hart.

RCI’s outburst is just not unconnected with stories of two individuals within the race for who turns into the following governor of the state each have allegations of corruption towards them.

Backed by the highly effective 

The candidates had been alleged to be backed by highly effective political gladiators with deep pockets and affect. Whereas one is allegedly being sponsored by one of many high most politicians within the state, the others is purportedly backed by a former Minister.

From findings, one of many frontline contestant is allegedly on the wished listing of the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee, EFCC, over allegations bordering across the State funds.

The group alleged that the second candidate is allegedly fingered to have been a part of a shady deal for which his principal and sponsor, is being prosecuted by the Wike authorities. 

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Nonetheless, the Rivers state authorities, in a determined effort to clear the coast for it’s most popular candidate to contest subsequent 12 months’s election, is using on the again of a perpetual injunction stopping the anti-graft company from investigating Rivers state. 

Candidates should clear themselves

RCI is insisting that these two candidates ought to clear themselves of corruption allegations earlier than standing for subsequent 12 months’s common election within the state. 

The group is sad on the state authorities’s alleged ambivalence in shielding their surrogates from prosecution whereas persecuting others. 

 “We deplore the current authorities’s ambivalence in shielding some individuals from arrest by the EFCC whereas arraigning others. The group advises all contestants to acquire mandatory clearance earlier than searching for the mandate of Rivers folks, as a result of the folks can not settle for a fugitive as governor.”

Have to cooperate with EFCC on investigation 

Particularly, RCI known as on Governor Wike, “to urgently cooperate with the EFCC to vacate the perpetual courtroom injunction stopping the anti-graft company from investigating Rivers state funds. The governor ought to seize the second and present unusual braveness by leaving a worthy legacy on this regard, as this obnoxious injunction has made Rivers State a straightforward choose for barefaced treasury looters and robbers”.

Hazard forward

Commenting on the state of Rivers state, the group lamented that, “There may be frightful hazard forward, seen sufficient to those that love Rivers state and care sufficient to look past slim self-interest. Most Rivers women and men are dejected and cautious about their future and that of their kids. 

“Establishments of state have failed and are in superior levels of decay. An growing variety of Rivers kids are out of college and are roaming the streets. Retirees usually are not paid their gratuities. 

“Many go to mattress hungry and get up uncertain of the following meal. The aged, the weak and the susceptible are deserted to their destiny. From 2015 till date, employees’ salaries have been stagnant, as civil servants within the state haven’t been promoted despite excessive inflation and rising price of residing within the state. 

“Politicians loot the assets of the state overtly. They dump state belongings to themselves and convert public property to personal estates. 

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“They safe governorship tickets for his or her enterprise companions to cowl their crimes. They disrespect the standard establishments and deal with Rivers folks with disdain. 

“Because the beginning of the Fourth Republic, Rivers state governors have been profligate with state assets of their pursuit of wasteful presidential bids. Big quantities of state funds are gifted to different states, political events and personal people. 

“Rivers state governors sponsor elections in different states of the federation and bankroll presidential elections. They’re wanted as “stunning brides” of Nigerian politics on account of the state assets that they share and squander so freely. 

RCI lamented additional that the Rivers individuals are the casualties of this alleged recklessness as “Big funds that might have made huge variations of their lives, find yourself in non-public pockets. 

“The individuals are robbed by politicians who derive authority to handle state assets from the very folks they rob.The scenario is dire and except Rivers folks rise as much as the event and put a cease to the current course of occasions, the longer term can be too bleak to think about”. 

Unusual tradition of silence 

Extra pathetic and appalling is what the group described as a wierd tradition of silence that has descended on the state like a pall.

“Amidst the crude looting of public funds by the rulers, Rivers individuals are silent and aloof. They’ve misplaced their voices to poverty and the so-called abdomen infrastructure. They even endorse and applaud the very rulers which have weaponized poverty towards them.  

“However this is similar state that produced brave women and men like Chiefs Dappa Biriye, P.G. Warmate, GKJ Amachree, Opuogulaya, Obi Wali, E.T Dimiari, C. D. Orike, Emanuel Aguma, Napo Graham-Douglas, Ken Saro-Wiwa to say a couple of. 

“An odd tradition of silence now pervades the land. The Governors are elevated to the standing of all-knowing gods, whereas the individuals are lowered to slavish acquiescence. Management is deified and sycophancy is the brand new supply of livelihood for the political elite. Members of the Rivers State Home of Meeting feign dumbness. 

“The normal rulers, after sequence of shabby remedies by governors, have discovered knowledge in holding their very own counsel. The clergy consider profitable hungry souls”, the assertion continued. 

Happening reminiscence lane, the group recalled that it was not this dire from the creation of the state. 

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‘Golden period’

It mentioned, “At creation of Rivers state in 1967, even beneath army governors, Rivers state grew into the envy of all. The Alfred Diete-Spiff’s administration delivered wonderful governance to the folks. The footprints of that “Golden Period” are nonetheless seen. The magnificent state secretariat complicated (that has gone into speedy decay and an eyesore beneath the present administration), stays an iconic reminder of the Diete-Spiff period. 

“The massive funding in human capital improvement produced the workforce that sustained the state for many years. This was achieved beneath a large scholarship scheme that’s but to be paralleled within the historical past of the state. Fast industrialization created jobs and alternatives for the teeming youths. 

Period of impunity

“Rivers state was a primary vacation spot for overseas and home funding capital. Sadly, the industries that flourished within the 70s and 80s at the moment are moribund, inflicting excessive youth unemployment and insecurity. An odd political tradition had since invaded the tranquility of Rivers political panorama. 

“Governance is now for politicians and their buddies with out the folks. The tradition of egalitarianism and equity has given strategy to the period of impunity, greed, exclusivity and divisiveness”.

Persevering with, RCI declared that “Rivers state’s annual consolidated income may fund the budgets of a number of African nations.

Resolve to interrupt silence

Apparently irked by the disturbing silence of Rivers folks within the face of alleged oppression, poverty and penury, the group known as on Rivers folks to talk up and take possession of their destinies, including that “Not ought to an elected governor rule Rivers state as a serfdom”. The Rivers Conscience Initiative, RCI, has determined to choose up the gauntlet. 

To the RCI as a non-partisan physique, “it recognises the pressing must sound the warning bell, converse reality to energy and defend the curiosity of Rivers folks. 

“The RCI is a baby of necessity. It seeks to objectively converse for Rivers folks, act as an unelected parliament of the folks and stand because the conscience of the folks”, in keeping with the group. 

In its maiden assertion, which it guarantees is the primary of many to return, it said: “The duty is daunting however worthy”, the RCI said, and calls on Rivers folks to “step ahead and be a part of on this course, for our state and for posterity”.