Rivers State is considered the headquarters of the opposition since 2015 and the spot that gives President Muhammadu buhari and his ruling All Progressives Party (APC) the biggest daily nightmare due to the presence of the strongman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Gov Nyesom Wike.
Now, the president was billed to storm the state capital on Saturday, one week before the presidential contest, but many had said Buhari and the APC had nothing to show the people of the oil region, just as then President Goodluck Jonathan was said not to have anything to show the Rivers people.
To prepare ground for his landing, a chieftain of the APC in the region, a chief, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has released 29 points that he said stand President out as not just a friend of the oil region but someone with equal regard as a Niger Delta son. He said in a voluminous treatise that Buhari has done things most Niger Delta sons had failed to attempt over the years.
He listed approval to begin refund of N1.3 trillion to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), 44 modular refinery licenses, Maritime University, Transport University in Ubima (Rivers State), Historic Bonny Road, as major ones.
The steps Buhari will climb into the oil region
Sitting and construction of the Federal University of Transportation in Ubima, Ikwerre council area of the state: The University to be built by China Civil and Construction Company (CCECC) is part of the federal government’s efforts to develop qualified manpower that will manage the many railways facilities across the country and other transportation facilities. Apart from the University of Transportation in Rivers State, a similar university had earlier been approved to be sited at Daura, Kastina state.
Completion and commissioning of the International Wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Rivers State is significant.
Construction of an industrial park, which benefits from start to completion and inauguration, would be enormous to Rivers state and her people, to be sited on 10,000 acres of land on which the complex, an envisaged city on its own, would stand.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval of contracts of N47Bn for road projects in the country, including redesigning and reconstruction of the Aba/Port-Harcourt section of the Enugu/Port-Harcourt Expressway. Also, there is the dredging of Port Harcourt Seaport and provision of navigational aids for Escravos, at the sum of N13bn.
Commencement of the implementation of the Ogoni clean-up exercise and the execution of the multi-billion naira Bodo/Ogoni-Bonny Road project, which when completed “would open up the economic potentials of the Niger Delta region beyond the shores of Nigeria, all in Rivers state”.
President Buhari’s administration has started the release of over one trillion naira owed the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC) by previous federal administrations, including the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to assist the body complete most of its projects in Rivers state and other states in the Niger Delta region.
Rivers State benefited from the unprecedented allocation of over N125Bn out of the N8.612 trillion appropriation bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 to the National Assembly to fund capital projects in 2018 in the Niger Delta region.
Rivers State benefited from the N53.89Bn earmarked for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and N71.2 billion for NDDC for capital projects, also to benefit from the budgetary allocation for the Niger Delta Amnesty programme retained at N65Bn, with the budgetary allocation of N17.32 billion earmarked for the completion of the East-West Road.
Rivers State benefited from the Maritime University located at Okerenkoko in Delta State, with N5 billion budgeted in the 2018 budget for its formal take off. This is a University aimed to assist in the development and emancipation of the Niger Delta region.
To demonstrate the seriousness over the full implementation of the Ogoni clean-up exercise and the execution of the multi-billion naira Bodo/Ogoni-Bonny road project, budgetary provisions were all made in the 2018 budget, which when completed, would open up the economic potential of the Niger Delta region beyond the shores of Nigeria, all in Rivers state.
The APC-led federal government, apart from the above-named projects, embarked upon the following projects: the Calabar-Lagos Rail Line that cuts across Rivers state, the renovation/reconstruction of both Enugu-Port Harcourt Road and the West-East Road, the renovation of the Afam Power plant in Rivers State, resumption and reconstruction of the Enugu-Port Harcourt rail line, etc. All these projects were abandoned by PDP governments. It also includes appointment of sons and daughters of the region into key and crucial ministries and agencies.
Buhari’s administration also ensured that indigenes of the region are placed on full academic scholarships so that they can have access to quality education with monthly stipends. Under PMB’s administration, approvals for the establishment of modular refineries across the nine states of the Niger-Delta and a total of 38 licenses have been issued, covering high-scale refineries of 50,000 to 250,000 barrels per day, he stated.
About 10 of the modular refineries have secured their permit to construct and two of these 10 refineries are already under construction, and were completed by the end of 2018 under the Buhari-led administration.
The Buhari-led administration has ensured the resumption of construction works on abandoned projects awarded to different contractors across the Niger-Delta since 2006, including the all-important East-West Road.
The President Buhari administration set up the presidential initiative to boost agriculture and industry in the nine states of the Niger-Delta and Enugu, an initiative to revamp moribund industries in the region and to also inject new life into the agricultural sector.
18. The Buhari-led administration has completed six cassava processing plants in Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia, Ondo, Cross River and Imo states.
Under the President Buhari administration, more than 700 youths and women have acquired skills in different areas of business, trade and craft. Also, 130 youths in the Niger Delta were trained on poultry, aquaculture, crop production and were given N1 million naira each by the Buhari-led administration. In the Niger-Delta region 214 women who specialize in poultry and snail production were given between N350,000 to N500,000 each by the Buhari-led administration. Another 198 women and youths in the Niger-Delta region were trained on ICT & business hub, poultry & fish production under PMB’s administration.
Still, he said, 60 youths from the Niger-Delta region were trained on assemblage and repair of phones under President Buhari’s administration. Under PMB’s administration, no fewer than 275 youths in the Niger-Delta region have benefited from the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and its joint venture agro skills acquisition through the Green Rivers Project Scheme.
The Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo paid a visit to the Niger Delta region where he met with their elders and engaged them in discussions that restored peace to the region. This led to the setting up of a body of elder (PANDEF) to interface with the presidency for the oil region.
Under President Buhari’s Administration, the abandoned AKK pipeline that will enable delivery of gas from the south into the north and open up gas delivery to homes was repaired and restored. The Buhari-led administration came up with the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme aimed at addressing the exit of gas flaring in the Niger Delta region.
President Buhari’s Administration has put up a framework for community-based participation in the protection of oil and gas pipelines, and oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta region.
Buhari and Amaechi’s relationship is ordained by God
“The fact remains that when it comes to believing in the abilities of President Buhari, I am yet to see anyone who can rival Amaechi. His love for Buhari and strong belief in his ability to take Nigeria out of the woods is like an obsession.
I can still vividly remember how Amaechi predicted Buhari’s emergence as President during the early days of APC and long before the issue of who would fly the party’s flag came up. When on 9th September, 2013, my appointment as the National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party was announced to Nigerians, the only brief I received was the 30-minute encounter I had with the then Governor Amaechi.. During that encounter, he kept repeating that whenever Gen Buhari (rtd) accepts to fly the flag of the emergent mega opposition political party in the country, the unseating of President Jonathan and PDP would become a reality. I was deeply impressed by his strong belief in Gen. Buhari. It was based on this that I went boldly into the field and with the cooperation of the G7 Governors and other leaders of the New PDP, we were able to dismantle what was the famous and largest political party in Africa, PDP.”
Amaechi’s 2nd term as Buhari’s presidential campaign DG and obstacles
On January 3, 2018, both local and international media organisations were awash with the news of the appointment of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi since December, 2017 as the Director General of President Buhari 2019 presidential campaign. That marked the strongest indication that the Nigerian leader would seek re-election in 2019.
Immediately after the announcement of Amaechi’s appointment some APC stakeholders reportedly opposed to the re-appointment of Rotimi Amaechi as President Buhari’s campaign Director General for the 2019 re-election bid moved into action.
They argued that as a sitting governor and chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) when he held the position of Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation in 2015, Amaechi had enormous power which is not so now that he is just a member of Cabinet.
But other said they failed to understand that majority of APC governors, ministers and members of the National Assembly were already working with Amaechi to advance the re-election of Mr. President.
One of the reasons Amaechi was being opposed is this rumour that he has a presidential ambition in 2023 and that as Buhari’s campaign manager, he would leverage on the connections.
Although, in the unfolding scenario, Amaechi’s major concern is to prospect for Buhari’s re-election, yes, an encore, yet the possibilities of a repeat performance of the 2015 victory are great and likely to be pervasive; other things being equal, otherwise, the situation may be dicey. Nevertheless, Amaechi is certainly a rampart for effective prosecution of Buhari’s re-election battle.
Buhari’s chances on Feb 16, 2019 in the face of gale of defections; Amaechi’s calculations
With high class politicians like Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, 36 members of the Federal House of Representatives, 12 senators, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state having defected to opposition political parties, the question on the lips of every Nigerian is; “What chances does President Buhari stand getting re-elected come 2019?”
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, one of the best leaders ever from Nigeria, in 1968, foresaw Dr. Saraki and his co-defectors and stated thus: “For the progressives to be in power, they need the support and collaboration of some conservatives. After attaining power the conservatives would, on their own, walk away. The progressive would now build a great party that would move the nation forward.” So what is happening currently in the politics of Nigeria was prophesied about 50 years by the great sage.
Speaking of the chances of President Buhari in the 2019 general elections, Amaechi said, “Nigerians will certainly reject a second looting”. He went further to state, “On those that defected at the House of Representatives and Senate, where do they come from? They come from areas that the President is comfortable. Do you honestly believe that the President will lose election in Sokoto? We are not God, but it’s one of his comfort zones. If you bring the President on a sick bed to Bauchi and Kano, he will win and he has never lost election in Bauchi. But that is a bit arrogant on our side; we should not underestimate them. I am not God. It is only God who can say the APC will win or not. But what is clear is that if you remove the God element, I think we are prepared to coast to victory because Nigerians will certainly reject a second looting. Nigeria can’t survive a second looting. Never!”
Based on some of these great feats and concerns towards the development and emancipation of Rivers State by President Buhari the apex body of Traditional Rulers in Ikwerre land, the Supreme Council of Ikwerre Traditional Rulers, has unanimously commended and endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for second term. Ikwerre ethnic nationality is one of the largest ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta. The endorsement made by the Council through its chairman, HRM Eze Blessing Wagor, Paramount Ruler of Isiokpo, assured President Buhari of their total support, adding that the entire Ikwerre ethnic nationality with over 1.6 million voters, will deliver their votes to him come February, 16th, 2019. Besides, many groups in the region have endorsed Buhari and some did it without noise. The votes will decide, Eze stated.