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Items filtered by date: September 2018

C’River APC Aspirants Know Fate This Week

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Following the release of the time table for the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC),aspirants on the party's platform are making last ditch efforts to woo party members to vote for them to become the party's standard bearers.

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2019: Is Akpabio Sincere With Buhari?

The recent visit to the President of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari by leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Akwa Ibom State has brought a new area of interest in the present political configuration. The delegation was led by the immediate past governor of the state and immediate past senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

While it is obvious that the solidarity visit to the president may have attracted a huge fortune to The Land of Promise, a big issue has come to public glare as to the sincerity of the present political alignment between Akpabio and Buhari. Pundits doubt how true the support openly promised by the former governor to the president could be accepted without questions. They doubt how Senator Akpabio is trustworthy and can put his heart in the assignment of working for the reelection of President Buhari.

These speculations arise from rumours spread in the social media that Godswill Akpabio had made two striking statements in the said meeting with President Buhari. First, he is alleged to have told Mr President that he (Akpabio) had betrayed President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. He is also said to have told the president that his (Akpabio's) heart was with him (Buhari) in 2015.

Following this, many have reacted differently, condemning Akpabio for making such a statement. Question is, could Akpabio have possibly made any of these statements? This is considered because of the open campaign he had pioneered for former President Jonathan during the time.

It could be recalled that during the 2015 electioneering, Akpabio had told former President Goodluck Jonathan that the state would deliver to him a token of 1.6 million votes as his Valentine's gift. This is what he said during the presidential campaign in Uyo which was held at the newly built Akwa Ibom International Stadium known as the Nest of Champions.

According to Akpabio, Nigerians were not looking for Koboko government that will come and build prisons. He said Nigerians were yearning for a government that shall build schools, just as Jonathan had built "over 300 schools and 12 universities". He harped on the educational status of Buhari whom he said did not have what it takes to plan the future of Nigeria.

He did not stop at saying that Akwa Ibom State was going to give the president 1.6 million votes at the polls. He demonstrated that zeal by making sure that Jonathan secured almost a million vote during the election in the state. Many have said that this gesture was the shortest way to demonstrate Akpabio's resolve to have Jonathan and his party, the PDP win all over again. This was however replicated during the gubernatorial polls when the PDP scored more than 90 percent of the total votes.

Speaking with TNN, the Senior Special Assistant to the Senator on Media and Publicity, Mr Anietie Ekong said, "It is unthinkable to insinuate that Senator Akpabio had told the president that he betrayed the then president Jonathan in 2015. That's completely false. Do those who make that statement know that Jonathan won elections in Akwa Ibom more than he won in his home state, Bayelsa? People are just free to go to the social media to drop whatever they feel, just to deceive Nigerians. But sure, many Nigerians have grown past that era of quickly believing in any piece of material without questioning its veracity".

Ekong cautioned that people should rather face facts when they want to address issues, instead of devising blackmail and accusations to score cheap political goals. He asked Nigerians to discountenance the 'propaganda'.

 

Also speaking, an Uyo based political analyst, Godwin Etta, said it was common that people would always come up with all sorts of lies to sell their political interest. He believed that although Akpabio had surprised most Nigerians through his historic defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC, there were still some statements or actions that would unbelievably be told about him.

Etta said the allegation was the work of mischief makers from his former party, the PDP. He pointed to a report released by someone who revealed that Akpabio's former party, the PDP had resolved to use blackmail to destroy his political chances in the state.

However, pundits are curious over what level of betrayal Akpabio may have committed against former president Jonathan whom he practically served as a political overlord. They admitted that Akpabio may have betrayed some political figures in his home state, especially those he recently joined in the APC.

But, political observers, including Felix Idiong, Gloria Sam and Ephraim Edem believed it would be contentious to say that Akpabio ever betrayed Jonathan. They rather doubt how committed he could be in working hard for the progress of his new party, the APC.

The trio who reacted to the campaign 'lashes' of Akpabio against Buhari in 2015, wondered whether Buhari was no more a military man whom Akpabio accused of having an intention to use 'Koboko'. They asked Akpabio whether Buhari now has 'certificate' and was now "capable of planning the future of Nigeria".

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What Akpabio Said About Buhari In 2015 During A PDP Rally In Uyo

“My people, the entire Akwa Ibom people mandated me to let you(Goodluck Jonathan) know that 1.67 million votes await you as a Valentine's gift on the 14th of February. We need to know that my people are very close to God and God has revealed to all Nigerians both Muslims and Christians that this is a time for them to watch so that they would not go backwards, Nigeria would not go backwards. People (an apparent reference to Buhari) had the opportunity to rule this country,30,35 years ago. Show me what they did. By their fruits, you shall know them.

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As Ayade’s Health Sector Exploits Raise The Bar

As a child, if you had the option of either being born in Cross River or any other state in the country, where would you rather prefer?

No doubt, many a child would gladly jump at the prospect of being born in Cross River for obvious reason.

Any child born in Nigeria today has the most chances of survival in Cross River state, according to a survey carried out by UNICEF and the federal government.

The the result of the survey is not a happenstance. Rather, it is the culmination of the policies and investments made in the sector by the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade the past three years.

As such if the governor boasts that Cross River is the safest state for children and infants in Nigeria today, he is not being bombastic.

He stands on a solid pedestal of verifiable facts because in today's Cross River, infant and child mortality is almost zero.

The feat is in line with Ayade's vow that parents will no longer suffer bereavement on the account of avoidable death of children and infants. He said he does not want to see parents' tears anymore. And indeed, tears and anguish arising from loss of children are fast becoming alien to Cross River because Governor Ayade is walking the talk in the health sector.

In the state, pregnant women and children not older than five years get free medical care, new hospitals are springing up across the state, including hard to reach areas, existing hospitals are being renovated and equipped, state of the art medical equipments are being procured, health officers are being trained and retrained, accreditations have been secured for hitherto unaccredited training institutions.

Shortly after assuming office as governor, he lifted embargo on employment in the state health sector, beefed up boarders security in collaboration with WHO to curb disease migration and influx and launched Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, first in any Southern State and 4th in the country with donation of vehicles to ease work of the centre, especially in the area of tackling disease outbreaks

Interestingly, it is not only the UNICEF report that is giving credence to the good works going on in the state. This is because the state has lately received accolades locally and internationally for the amazing exploits in the health sector.

Some of these awards include the World Bank award in partnership with the Federal Government as the Best Performing state in health in the South-South region and one of the best six states in the country.

The World Bank award, which is in recognition of the effort of the state government in combating diseases and health challenges in the state across board did not come as a surprise.

Cross River State is today unarguably the best state in the South-South region with a track record of breaking new grounds and reaching new heights with the shrewdness and innovativeness of a highly competent workforce manning the health sector.

The state has also won awards from Thisday Newspaper, Independent Newspaper, Cross River watch, among others as the best performing state on Key Maternal newborn and child health indicators.

In addition, General Hospital Calabat now enjoys functional haemodialysis unit. Endoscopy unit has equally been activated at the hospital.

Clinical governance and e-health are key in modern health care delivery hence  in Ayade's Cross River; all the secondary health facilities in the state enjoy the services in addition to focal persons protecting patients' rights.

In line with the administration's resolve to ensure that public health institutions in the state are equipped with much need facilities to aide Healthcare delivery, there is now functional X-ray equipment in four state General Hospitals, (Ukem) Odukpani, Calabar, Ugep and Ogoja.This is a major departure from what obtained before Ayade came on board when most public hospitals were mere empty buildings, bereft of needed medical equipment.

In pursuit of his policy against infant and mother mortality in the state, there is a medical welfare programme wherein pregnant women and children not older than five years enjoy free medical care.

This policy is helped by the renovation and handover of the post natal ward of three general hospitals - Calabar, Ugep and Ogoja.

In order to complement this policy, the governor launched the universal healthcare insurance dubbed Ayadecare, which gives access to Medicare to all persons in the state, including those without income.

There is also the Ayadecare home service where Medicare is taken to the doorestep of the poor and those living in difficult to reach areas.

As it stands, Cross River is the only state in the South South to win the bid for the MTNF support project.

All round revolution in the  health sector in Cross River by Professor Ayade's administration has given birth to the first ever functional eye care hospital  in the state situated at college of Health Technology and General hospital Calabar where a number of surgeries performed increased from 5, 223 in 2014 to 29,192 in 2017 representing 458.42% increment. Another first in that sector is the multi drugs resistance Tuberculosis treatment unit second to one in South Africa at Dr Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital, Calabar.

A number of committees and groups have been inaugurated to give fillip to the administration's health care drive. These include: TB/HIV Technical Working Group, NTD Technical Advisory committee, zero morbidity from Guinea worm infection team, response Team for the lasser fever among others. Government has equally put mechanisms on ground to tackle pre-natal health issues via the establishment of pre-natal Diseases Surveillance Response.

The nursing profession is also at the heart of Professor Ayade's health blitz hence, among others, he ensured accreditation for the six schools of midwifery and schools of Nursing in the state was obtained. Similarly, the governor awarded scholarship to Nurse Tutors in Training Institutions to regain the Accreditations. In the same vein, he has approved the implementation of Task Shifting /Sharing policy by training 50 Nurses and midwives in the 10 pilot local government areas of the State on treatment of pre- eclampsia and eclampsia as well as training 50 Nurses and midwives and 50 CHEWS /CHO on new born care.

Setting up of Human Resource for Health unit in PRS State Ministry of Health has helped to bridge the gap between partners, donors and NGOs in health. This is directly connected to the development of ward/community health committees across the State. In addition to this, the need to ensure every community in Cross River has easy access to quality health care accounted for government's decision to donate lands for building of health facilities in all the local government areas of the state under World Bank Assisted Community and social development programme. Government is equally into partnership with the Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF), Her Excellency, Dr Linda Ayade's pet project, Nigerian army, Nigerian Army wives Association, Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Cross River Chapter, professional bodies and organizations, Lions Club, Rotary club and other partners and NGOs to carry medical outreaches, treatment and humanitarian services.

Ayade is leading the fight against NTDs towards the 2020 elimination. In furtherance of this, the governor recently made a presentation at the NTDs forum in Geneva, Switzerland with the nomination of Dr Inyang Asibong, Commissioner for Health as a member of the WHO International Working Group on Investment for Impact.

Under Ayade's guidance, two local governments in the state have gained international recognition for achieving a health feat. Essentially, Obanliku Local Government is the first council in West Africa to be certified open defection free while Calabar Municipal is the first city in the world close to achieving 90:90:90 HIV /AID target.

Indeed, as a professor of Microbiology, Ayade is Champion in health care delivery and the people of Cross River across ethnic and political affiliations say health delivery has never been this rosy and efficient in the state. They agree that Governor Ayade's health sector exploits have raised the bar of health sector performance and saved many lives. And for this, they root for his return as governor in 2019.

2019:  A Referendum On Ayade Waiting To Happen…

The 2019 Governorship election in Cross River State is essentially a referendum on the performance of Governor Benedict Ayade in office. In spite of vast resources being expended to shore up his abysmal performance in office by political operatives, hirelings and paid hacks procured to embellish and influence public opinion, the prognosis to state the least in not encouraging. Ayade came into office in 2015 with a litany of promises. The governor who is notorious for bombast swore to transform the state into an economic Eldorado. He said, “We are fully loaded to make the state the construction hub of Africa. With sincere commitment, with the love and fear of God, with all your support, Cross River State indeed shall move from 3rd world to first under my watch. “And to convince those who doubted his sincerity that he meant business, he invoked the wrath of God, warning that God would throw him into the pit of hell if he failed to deliver on his numerous promises to the people

With his first term in office drawing to an uneventful end and with elections looming in 2019, the day of reckoning beckons on Ayade. If the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) puts him forward as its governorship candidate in spite of disastrous performance in office, then Ayade will first of all, face the judgment of the people who are the repositories of power before keeping a date with his creator to find out whether he will occupy the lowest part of the pit of hell for his mindless and serial betrayal of his people.

At the onset of his administration, Ayade made a lot of promises to the people. His promises include but not limited to the construction of a 260km superhighway stretching from calabar - Ugep- Obubra –Ikom-Ogoja to Katsina ala, a deep-sea port and a garment factory. Ayade also promised to build three new cities across the three senatorial districts in the state.  He also promised a 1billion dollar Cross River virgin city. However, after a groundbreaking ceremony, the project has stymied. Just as citizens were yet to come to terms with him and his plethora of promises, he reeled out even more promises. Ayade is arguably the most travelled governor in this dispensation. While the affairs of the state has suffered due to lack of sufficient attention and  the  instability spewed  by his numerous trips abroad under the guise of  wooing foreign investors, Ayade has continued to regale the state with more   empty promises in the name  MOUs to justify the waste of taxpayers  money on needless trips abroad . For instance, under his watch, the state entered into partnership with equipment maker, Liebherr on superhighway, seaport, signed MOU with an American firm for the development of a new city, an MOU with partners in Canada to set up an International school and Canadian building and construction academy.

 Within his first term in office, Ayade also promised to ensure 24-hour power supply in Calabar and its environs, the installation of internet enabled street lights in the new industrial layout in Calabar, and to make the state a net exporter of banana.

Indeed his litany of promises is endless and has remained a pipedream. Given the paucity of funds in the state and the rapidity in which these promises came down in torrents, it is now evidently clear that, these promises were made without any intention of keeping them. In the visual dimension, it evokes the picture of a cruel hoax contrived by a visionless administration to dupe the masses. Basking in the euphoria of his supreme court victory in 2016, Ayade promised to create 50,000 jobs in 2017 to alleviate the employment problem in the state. He told his supporters who had converged on U .J  Esuene stadium to welcome him “Today, I have  known the benefit of being a child of God. I enjoin detractors to sheathe their swords. From January, you well see a different Ayade as I will be wearing T-shirts and jeans to work for the state. From January 2017, I will  create 50,00 Jobs “

The jobs Ayade promised have since joined the long list of unfulfilled promises which reads like  a parchment of corruption and scroll of iniquities. Leadership is a public trust which Ayade has betrayed with impunity .Today, the state is in dire straits as a result of his misrule and failure of governance. All the critical state institutions hitherto maintained by his predecessors are in varying   degrees of neglect and decay.

The Obudu cattle ranch, once the pride of the nation and the preferred tourist destination which attracted tourists from all over the world is today a shadow of itself.

The neglect of the Ayade administration has left this once pristine tourist haven in smoldering ruins. The state library once the melting pot of learning and knowledge under the administration of Ayade is a monument neglect and decay. The once well maintained road networks within the Calabar metropolis is today punctuated by craters as the city has lost its enviable position as the cleanest state capital in Nigeria. Under Ayade, the performance of the state in education is abysmal. As a  matter of fact, with the living conditions of the people plummeting and state infrastructure  in decay as result of the poor management of the state resources, the state has lost much of the its allure and the frontline position it had occupied before Ayade mounted the saddle.

Across the state, the failure of the Ayade administration is evident and cries for redemption.  The strength of true leadership lies in the constant engagement between the government and the people. This essential ingredient which oils the rubrics of democracy is totally lacking in the state as Ayade spends most of his time travelling the world. He lacks the common touch and therefore incapable of feeling the pulse of the masses. The result of his aloofness is the existing disconnect between him and the people. In his first term in power, all he has delivered to the people is more and more of empty promises without any commitment at fulfilling them. While the people wallow in abject neglect and deprivation, the governor travels the world immune to the demands of his high office.

As the 2019 governorship  election draws nearer, his spin doctors, political operatives and influential agents  of the  state who now erroneously see themselves as the new agents  of history have launched blistering  propaganda campaigns to shore up  the battered image of the governor.  That this insulting attempt to hoodwink the masses is doomed to failure is as clear as daylight.  For the avoidance of doubt, the 2019 governorship election in the state will be a referendum on Ayade's performance in office, an opportunity for the people to pay him back in his own coin.

No amount of propaganda will obliterate the colossal failure of the governor. His spin doctors will soon find out that governor Ayade's second  term gambit is  dead on arrival, a hard sell precisely because they will  be campaigning on a non-existent track record of projects and service.

From the hills of Obudu to the Cocoa belt of the state; from the marshlands of the agricultural trough of the state to Calabar, the commercial and administrative  capital, Ayade's  failure sticks out like a sore toe. In spite of his bombast and his fictional make- believe world where he is cast in the mould of a stellar performer, in reality, he cannot boast of completing a single project in the state. Where ever he and his motley of supporters go, they will be confronted by his abysmal performance in office. Given this stark reality, it is safe to conclude that those who still support his second term bid in spite of his disastrous performance in office are not being fair to the state. Their clarion call is therefore misplaced and self serving. Already, the people are resolved to reclaim the state from Ayade and his coterie of supporters and no amount of propaganda will change this reality. Those who have not seen the handwriting on the wall are indulging in exercise in futility and self delusion. In a recent explosive interview he granted to Calitown.com, an online publication which captures the mood of the people, Donald Duke, the former governor of the state said, “Ayade was served a bad hand and he was ill prepared for the job. I don't think Ayade really understands Cross River State but at the point, he is the undertaker to close down everything. When he was sworn in, he said he was going to build an international airport in Ogoja. That was when I knew he had a problem. When he said he was going to build a superhighway and a deep sea port, I wondered how that was going to be feasible”.

 Duke's damning verdict on Ayade's performance reflects the overwhelming feeling of the people. He has failed woefully and the state cannot survive another four years of his inept and disastrous rule.

 

* Omini, a public affairs commentator contributed this piece from Calabar, Cross River State.

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Something Is Wrong With Duke –Imoke

Liyel Imoke and Donald Duke used to be best of friends. In fact, the duo plus Senator Gershom Bassey were christened the three musketeers. The perception was that they were so close and glued together. Recently when TNN engaged Bassey, he battled to paint a picture that showed that all was still well with them. But the truth is beginning to come out. Things have certainly fallen apart and the centre has become shaky.

In the last one week, Imoke and Duke have been fighting in the public. Whatever was hidden to the public are becoming open. Duke spoke first. Then Imoke responded. They both spoke with an online medium, Calitown. This might not be the last. TNN will keep a tap on them and bring you unfolding developments.

Here are excerpts of the interviews.

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How Imoke Ruined C’River -Donald Duke

Why do you want to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

I want to be president because I think we can do better than this as a country. Don't you think that you are an underperforming person? Don't you think that with the energy you have, the zeal you possess, in publishing www.calitown.com, if the Nigerian environment were conducive, you can achieve more as a person? In other words, the Nigerian environment is inhibiting us and all we should and are asking for is a conducive environment so that we can exploit our potential and enjoy the outcome. Look at our country, if anyone tells you

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Breaking... Shocker! Militant Leader Kills Stubborn militants

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Breaking... Shocker! Militant Leader Kills Stubborn militants, force them to Accept Udom’s Amnesty The people of Ukanafun Local Government Area are now heaving a sigh of relief, following the arms surrender by militants from the area and their acceptance of the amnesty offered them by Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom State. On Monday, a lot of militants went in the rain to the Central School, Ikot Akpa Nkuk, venue of the arms-for- amnesty- deal, to surrender their guns and renounce terrorism. Among those who surrendered were Goodluck Thomas, popularly known as Ajen Young, believed to be the kingpin that controls Ikot Udo Obobo. From Okoyo village, the ring leader, who is known as Nzeribe also led his gang members to surrender their arms. Prominent among the gang members was a dreaded terrorist called Mentor. A shocking incident occurred at Uruk Atta, in Etim Ekpo Local Government when a militant leader, on Sunday, killed two of his co-militants when he heard them say they were not ready to surrender their arms, despite the amnesty offer. The killing was said to have pushed Goodluck to run to the venue on Monday to surrender his pump action gun. After submitting the gun, he was said to have fled to a neighbouring Ikot Udo Obong, in Etim Ekpo Local Government. Sources said he feared that if he slept in his Ikot Udo Obobo village, the villagers could go after him in the night. More of the militants are still expected to turn in their guns between Tuesday and Wednesday when the amnesty door would have been closed.

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