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Federal Secretariat: Abia State Government Playing Politics With The People’s Interest By Nnaemeka Oruh

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Federal Secretariat: Abia State Government Playing Politics With The People’s Interest By Nnaemeka Oruh

 

The news making round in the last few days on how Abia State Government denied Abians the privilege of having a federal Secretariat has taken a new turn as the Media Adviser to the member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South Federal Constituency in the National Assembly in a media chat revealed to Abians evidence backing their claims.

 

On Friday, December 3, 2021, during a simulcast by FLO FM, Vision Africa, Family Love FM, and ABNTV, one of the anchors asked the member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South Federal Constituency, Rt. Hont Sam Onuigbo, why Abia State does not have a federal secretariat thirty years (32) after its creation.

In his response, Rt Hon. Onuigbo agreed that it was sad that the state does not have a federal secretariat. He pointed out that he had challenged the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola about this, during a budget defence session on October 23, 2019. Responding, Fashola had asked Rt. Hon. Onuigbo to work with his Governor, Dr Ikpeazu, to provide a piece of land for the secretariat and the federal government will build one. On the strength of that, Hon. Onuigbo wrote to the Governor on October 23, 2019, and subsequently met with him to convey the Minister’s challenge. Thereafter the Governor wrote to the Minister on October 25, 2019, conveying the State Government’s intention to provide a piece of land for the Federal Government to build the secretariat.

 

Rt Hon . Onuigbo followed up on this with both the Governor, and the then Commissioner for Lands, Survey, and Urban Planning, Alhaji Suleiman Ukandu, finally a piece of land was allocated for the secretariat at Ekeoba Housing Estate (see the letter from the Abia State Ministry of Lands, Survey, and Urban Planning, dated September 11, 2020). However, the title documents for the land—Certificate of Occupancy and Survey plan— were not made available to the Federal Government. The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, when accosted by Hon. Onuigbo on March 11, 2021, on why they have not taken action, The Hon Minster confirmed that without the title documents, the Federal Government cannot start the process of costing and including the construction of the secretariat in the federal annual budget. This made Hon .Onuigbo to again reach out to the Governor in a letter dated March 12, 2021, and delivered to his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, pleading that efforts be made to get the title documents across to the Federal Government.

 

On Sat Aug 21, 2021, Hon Onuigbo met the Governor and asked if he received his (Onuigbo) letter of March 12, 2021 and inquired from him if the title documents had been issued. The Governor stated that he had given them instructions to conclude the process in a few weeks.

 

In conclusion, during the simulcast, Hon Onuigbo had stated that once the State Government provides the title documents, he is confident that the Federal Government will start the process of building the Federal Secretariat.

 

However, when invited to respond to the issue during Family Love FM’s “Open Parliament” on December 7, 2021, the Abia State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Eze Chikamnayo instead of toeing the noble path of honour by saying that he is not fully briefed on the development, decided to respond with a barrage of lies and propaganda.

 

I will now list Chikamnayo’s lies and respond to them one after the other.

 

First, Chikamnayo said that Onuigbo only decided to raise this issue because he had left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). This is a lie. As the attached documents, which include the Governor’s letter to the Minister shows, Rep. Onuigbo began this process while he was still a member of the PDP and even after he left, he has not relented.

 

Rt Hon . Onuigbo believes it is about the welfare of Abia and not political party affiliation.

 

Secondly, Eze Chikamnayo said the title documents have been ready . Please why has the State Government not handed it over to the Federal Government?  I am aware that the Federal Director of Housing, Abia State, Victor George, has also been going to the Secretary to the State Government to mount pressure for the provision of these documents, to no avail. So which documents was Chikamnayo talking about? Are the documents ready and for some reason the Abia State Government does not want to release them to the Federal Government? This is even after the Traditional Ruler of Ekeoba, His Royal Highness Eze Ifeanyi Nwokenna, had officially written to the State Government through the Secretary to the State Government officially reducing the initial compensation of N35m due to them, to N25m in order to fast track the process! Do they need a courier to send the documents to the Federal Government? If they do, I can personally come and pick them up and take them to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

 

Thirdly, Chikamnayo insinuated that the Federal Secretariat project is not a “Constituency project” and that Hon Onuigbo should be transparent about it. The question is, transparent in what way? All of the communications about the process of making this happen have been done openly with the Federal Government even communicating directly with the state government on this. In addition, Rep. Onuigbo had also met the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Chris Ezem twice (first on Saturday, August 7, 2021, and the second time on Saturday, September 25, 2021) and was assured that efforts were being made. In fact, when he met Barr. Ezem on September 25, 2021, Barr. Ezem was in the company of the Abia State Commissioner for Finance, Ahanna Uko, and both of them stated that they are working towards the provision of the documents. Was Chikamnayo shocked that not all politicians are that enthusiastic about pushing for the good of their people as Hon . Onuigbo is.

 

And lastly, in what can be termed a complete “own goal”, Chikamnayo makes a complete mockery of his capability to be a government official when he says that the hitch with starting the building of the federal Secretariat is that Hom . Onuigbo wants the contract for the building to be awarded to his company. Pray, tell me, friends and foes, how can there be a bidding for a contract that has not even been appropriated for? Was Mr. Chikamnayo actually thinking when he said that, or as usual, he was projecting his usual propagandas and lies which everyone now knows are his stock-in-trade?

 

What is clear from Mr. Chikamnayo’s outing on that programme is that he is the Abia State Government’s front for lies and propaganda and he does that shamelessly. Little wonder his nature of lying made him contradict what his predecessor, John Okiyi, had earlier said about the deadline for relocating traders at Ariaria market, during the same programme!

 

Abia State deserves to have a federal secretariat. Those playing politics with it by refusing to process and release the title documents should please, and for once, put the good of the people ahead of their petty politics. Rt Hon. Onuigbo on his part is not interested in their petty politics. He is willing and will always collaborate with anyone irrespective of party affiliations to ensure that the badly battered people of Abia State get some respite.

Nnaemeka Oruh writes from Abia State!

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US pledges support to INEC ahead of 2023 general elections

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The United States under Secretary for Political Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland says the interest shown by Nigerian youths in the country’s electoral process will check irregularities especially in next year’s general election and beyond.

She stated this in Abuja during her visit to Nigeria and two other African countries.

Ambassador Nuland explained that money politics and other electoral malpractices which was not peculiar to Nigeria alone, could only be addressed using effective regulations.

Ambassador Nuland said her visit to Nigeria was strategic as the country plans for its general election next year.

She said that the United States would provide all the necessary support for the country to achieve a credible and peaceful electoral process.

Ambassador Nuland had earlier met the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari as well as the National Security Adviser, Retired Major General Babagana Monguno where issues of interest to Nigeria and the United States were discussed.

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ECOWAS charges Nigeria on Peaceful Election in 2023

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The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Tunis sidie has called on Nigeria to ensure peaceful and credible general elections, come 2023.

He made the appeal in his opening address at the first ordinary session of the fifth legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja,

Dr Tunis noted that Africa and indeed the whole world is looking up to Nigeria as a flagship of Political stability.

He however commended the country on the maturity the two main Political parties displayed in the conduct of their primaries and urged that the same attitude be sustained during the general election.

To this end, Dr. Tunis said the Parliament would commence early engagement in collaboration with ECOWAS Commission to ensure a successful exercise in Nigeria and two other countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone billed to hold elections next year.

“May I remind us that next year will be very pivotal for democracy across the region. With elections scheduled to hold in three Member States; the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, our role in ensuring that the democratic processes are conducted to guarantee the best possible outcomes cannot be overemphasized. In coordination with the ECOWAS Commission, we must begin our engagements long before polling day to ensure successes in all three Member States.”

The Speaker also congratulated The Republic of Gambia for the successful conduct of its election in April this year.

On the occasion, the Speaker of  Gambia National Assembly,  Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta In his goodwill message condemned the unconstitutional seizure of power by the military in some member States and the use of the Parliament by leaders to perpetuate themselves in power.

“In this regard, the Government, and People of The Gambia condemn in the strongest terms the unconstitutional seizure of political power through coup de tats which is threatening the very fabric of our society.  This also includes those leaders who rely on support in Parliament to amend their constitutions to accord themselves extended term limits against the will of their people”.

He said to sustain economic prosperity, peace, and stability in the sub-region, governance must be based on the pillars of justice, accountability, probity and most importantly, respect for the people’s will.

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Buhari meets APC Governors ahead of Party’s Presidential Primary

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President Muhammadu Buhari has charged Governors of the APC to demonstrate the values and virtues of the party during its forthcoming presidential primary election.

The President gave the charge in Abuja at a meeting with the 22 Governors and the National Chairman of the party.

He noted that the most successful political parties globally had always depended on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes.

President Buhari said he would provide stronger leadership to the party to ensure an orderly process of the presidential primary election.

He stressed that such leadership was also needed to improve the party’s electoral fortunes by retaining power at the center, holding a greater majority in various legislative chambers, and gaining an additional number of states.

The President appealed to the Governors to allow their interests to converge, and their focus to remain on the changing dynamics of their environment, and the expectations of citizens, as well as the global community.

He emphasised that their objective must be the victory of the party, and their choice of a candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence.

President Buhari assured that the consultation process would continue, to ensure that aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention.

The President stressed that any anxiety occasioned by different factors is effectively brought under control.

Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, and Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum, had on behalf of his colleagues, said the party must build on successes of its recent elective convention, and the primaries conducted so far, and come up with a candidate who would walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country shown by President Buhari.

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