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Obaseki Running Edo State Like A Dictator– Ebun Adegboruwa

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Foremost lawyer and Senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Ebun Adegboruwa has raised alarm over what he described as a ‘dictatorship’ in Edo state.

Adegboruwa in an article on Tuesday titled ‘The Dictatorship in Edo’, criticized the state governor, Godwin Obaseki of running a ‘one man show’ in the governance of the state. He explained that Obaseki was yet to appoint any commissioner or special adviser and has rendered the state house of assembly ‘comatose’.

The article read; “Believe it or not, Edo State is currently under the yoke of dictatorship, for many months running. Prior to his election for his second term in office, His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki had dissolved his cabinet, comprising Commissioners and Advisers.”

“He became more of a lone ranger, trudging along with his Deputy, Comrade Philip Shuaibu, in the run up to the elections. This was after he had successfully emasculated the House of Assembly of the State, through the Courts. We all thought then that it was going to be a temporary malady, but we now know better. We have a governor who is running riot with democracy and good governance, such that over one year after his re-election, Governor Obaseki has no single Commissioner and no Advisers.”

“He is running Edo State upon his whims and caprices, based on his body language or indeed his mood. It is unthinkable that a State blessed with abundant mineral and human resources is being held by its jugular by a single individual, who prides himself as a product of global best practices but is deeply immersed in the ugly cocoon of self-rule. How did this happen and who will rescue our dear Edo State?”

“According to Britannica, Edo State was created in 1991 from the northern portion of Bendel State, the southern portion becoming Delta State. Prior to this in 1963, the citizens of the territory had voted to separate from what was then the Western region, and the Mid-West region was created.”

“Going by the 2006 National population census, Edo State has about 3, 233, 366 people. Its capital, Benin City, is the 4th largest city in Nigeria. The State has a total land area of about 17, 802 square miles, with an average GDP of about $11.89B and per capita of $3,623.”

“The State is one of the oil-producing states in Nigeria and it is very rich in agriculture, both in subsistence and cash crops. It is equally very rich in timber, rubber and palm oil, with abundant mineral resources like limestone and lignite. It has a significant federal presence and it is a transit State within the Southern States of Nigeria.”

“In 1959, a citizen of Edo State, Pa Anthony Enahoro, moved the motion for the independence of Nigeria from colonial rule. This is the same state being ruled by a single individual, elected on the platform of the blood and sweat of the people, ably prodded by a “Comrade” as his Deputy, who should know better.”

“Let me first share with you the provisions of section 192 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.

“192.(1) There shall be such offices of Commissioner of the Government of a State as may be established by the Governor of the State.”

(1) The Governor of a State shall hold regular meetings with the Deputy Governor and all Commissioners of the Government of the State for the purposes of:
(a) determining the general direction of the policies of the Government of the State;

(b) coordinating the activities of the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the Commissioners of the Government of the State in the discharge of their executive responsibilities; and

advising the Governor generally in the discharge of his executive functions …”

(1) The Governor of a State may appoint any person as a Special Adviser to assist him in the performance of his functions.”

“In the exercise of these appointments, the Governor is to observe the principle of federal character in such a way as to ensure that all sections of the State are fairly represented in his cabinet. To all intents and purposes, the Constitution did not envisage a one-man government for any State in Nigeria.”

“Thus, what is going on presently in Edo State is a constitutional anathema that must not be allowed to fester beyond tolerance. The situation in Edo State is made worse by the absence of a functioning legislature. Even before his election for the second term, Governor Obaseki had successfully crippled the Edo State House of Assembly, by refusing to swear in those of its members whom he considered to be disloyal to or pose a threat to his administration. At a particular point in time, cases were filed in court to declare their seats vacant.”

“I recall vividly the very embarrassing report of the situation when sand and gravel were deposited by thugs loyal to the Governor, in front of the House of Assembly in order to prevent members from gaining access to the building to perform their constitutional duties. At another time, the roofing sheets of the building were removed in commando style.”

“Under a normal democratic practice, the legislature is supposed to perform certain oversight functions, to conduct hearings and review the performance of the annual budget approved for the executive. It is to take practical steps to avoid waste and to expose corruption in all spheres of government. The House of Assembly of Edo State cannot do any of these as that vital institution has been rendered comatose by Governor Obaseki. Without any doubt, Edo State does not deserve a dictator in office, one who would alone decide the fate of over three million people, one who would alone award contracts, pass his own laws in his own bedroom, make his own appointments in his parlour and execute his own projects according to his mood and feelings. In 21st century Nigeria, there is no place for such crude dictatorship and stone-age rulership.”

“It is amazing how the Peoples Democratic Party has been dancing openly in public without shame, claiming to play opposition politics and daily regaling us with the supposed failings of the Buhari administration when it is harbouring a dictator in its fold. Is it not proper to first remove the log in your own eyes in order to enable you to see the speck in another person’s eyes? Is the PDP content to perpetuate a one-man rule in Edo State and is, in turn, expecting Nigerians to take it seriously and entrust the government of Nigeria to a group of power-mongering leaders who cannot even manage a single State effectively? Or has Governor Obaseki stopped attending meetings of the PDP?”

“The expectation of the drafters of our Constitution is that every State will have a full-blown cabinet, comprising Commissioners and Special Advisers, who would develop policies around their specific ministries based on their expertise and present the same before the cabinet for debate and final approval. In this regard, intellectual debates will flourish and ideas will contend, leading to very robust engagements, for the good of the State.”

“How can a single individual be the Commissioner for Works, Commissioner for Land, Housing, Chieftaincy Affairs, Local Government, Finance, Agriculture, etc? What is the experience of Governor Obaseki beyond the touted boardroom politics, to hold Edo State to ransom as if possessed and intoxicated by power? Why is it so difficult for His Excellency to work with people? If he was so powerful, why didn’t he undertake his campaign alone during the last election? Why did he appoint campaign coordinators and agents all over the State? Having governed the State for four years, I expected that even at the time of his campaign for his second term, Governor Obaseki should have assembled a team of technocrats to move Edo State forward.”

“And if the House of Assembly has been gagged and rendered useless, what is the judiciary in Edo State doing? Where are the activists and the civil society organisations? Or are they also in connivance with the Governor to rubbish the Constitution? Are they part of this sinister plot to rule Edo State from the bedroom of one man? Where are the Comrades from Edo State? What has become of the NGOs? And if all our Comrades are complicit, what about lawyers and the Nigerian Bar Association? Or is the NBA no longer promoting the rule of law in Edo State, the birthplace of its dynamic President? Pray, what is the palace saying about this? Edo State parades one of the most revered traditional institutions in our land. Is the palace comfortable with this self-imposed dictatorship? What about religious institutions? Are there no pastors and imams in Edo State again, where Archbishop Idahosa once held sway? Can they not speak from their exalted pulpits? And if all these are silent, what of the Students’ Unions?”

“The Edo infamy has now been exported to Osun and Imo States, where the Governors are running riot in governance without regard to democratic principles. The Constitution in its section 1 has placed itself above any individual or group when it states that: “This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.” This is so clear and unambiguous, that Governor Obaseki cannot seek to govern Edo State in any manner that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution. It should not happen to a State that has produced great and noble minds and patriots.”

“The way in which we can move Nigeria forward is to use our individual platforms to promote reforms that we desire for the good of our people. In this regard, Governor Obaseki should retrace his steps and immediately set out to constitute a cabinet for the good people of Edo State and stop his one-man rule forthwith.”

“No tenable excuse can be rendered by His Excellency, to explain that one year after his election, he has not found people worthy to be constituted as the State Executive Council, to hold regular meetings with them, to deliberate on policies and programmes that will move the state forward.”

“In a State led by a trumpeted technocrat, assisted by a ‘Comrade’ as his Deputy, we do not expect anything less than transparency, accountability and teamwork. Democracy can never thrive in the house of one man, in the mind of one man and in the office of one man, no matter the depth of his knowledge and experience. Let us have a cabinet in Edo State now!”

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NUPRC Reiterates Commitment To Tackle Oil Spills

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The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has reiterated its commitment to tackle oil spills in the Nigerian oil and gas sector in fulfillment of its regulatory mandate as enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, Petroleum Act and the Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulations and subsidiary legislations.

This assurance has become necessary following concerns trailing the oil spill incident of November 3, 2021 which occurred at the Santa Barbara Well 1 operated by AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company in Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The Commission will continue to monitor the site situation and guide the operator until the spill and its attendant problems are completely addressed. This includes but is not limited to implementing all effective physical and engineering solutions to the incident, managing the safety of the response providers and people in the neighbouring communities and educating the general public on the site situation periodically.

In specific terms, the Commission will ensure that the pressure from the well is stopped to put an end to the oil release, the already released oil is appropriately contained and skimmed off as it is being released, a joint investigation visit (JIV) is conducted as soon as it is safe to do so, cleanup and restorative actions are done immediately after the spill is stopped and compensation paid to affected communities timeously and in accordance with the law.

We appreciate the concerns raised in different quarters following the incident and wish to inform the general public and our stakeholders that the Commission has taken all necessary steps alongside the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the situation does not degenerate further. Remediation actions are already on-going to ensure that the spill is contained and the situation is brought under effective control.

It was confirmed that upon receiving the report of the incident, the operator, AITEO mobilized immediately for preliminary assessment of site conditions and based on the specific site requirements, positioned containment booms to isolate the spill source and prevent oil from spreading further; while also cordoning off the area to prevent injuries to people and fire from any possible ignition source.

It also called in Boots and Coots, a well disaster management company, from the US, to cap the pressure and stop further spill. Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) was also engaged to contain and recover the oil as well as manage and protect the immediate environment. The company has continually updated the NUPRC on site conditions and their action steps.

On receipt of reports of the incident by the Commission, our field operations team were promptly mobilised and are currently on ground for regulatory oversight assessment to determine probable cause(s) and to ensure all response actions are the most appropriate and effective to return normalcy in the shortest possible time.

Apart from checking to confirm that the company is carrying out the necessary response measures to contain the situation, the Commission has made its officials available to participate in containment procedures that are considered safe by the experts at this moment. Initial spill report has been received and appropriately reviewed and documented while updates are received diligently.

When the incident occurred, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Commission’s Chief Executive visited communities around the spill site to brief them of safety measures already put in place as well as assure them of the commitment of the Commission to sort out the situation in the shortest possible time. Relevant and verified information about the development are also being released routinely to the public to avoid misinformation.

In line with our statutory responsibility, operations at the site is under the supervision of the Commission and efforts are on-going to contain the spill, stop the flow, control and clean-up the spill. Currently the situation has been brought under control while follow-up activities have commenced and progressing as planned.

Our preliminary investigations have revealed that there were no fatalities in the incident. However crude oil and gas were seen gushing out from valves close to the top of the wellhead at high pressure but without any associated fire. The water surrounding the wellhead was polluted with oil. The affected well had been previously shut-in and therefore not producing at the time of incident.

While the incident is to be treated with care and the location approached with caution by only those authorized to do so, the Commission wishes to reiterate that there is no cause for panic. This is because on a routine basis and under the supervision of relevant teams from the Commission, all petroleum companies are mandated to conduct drill exercises to adequately prepare for all eventualities.

Under this arrangement, such companies are required to document all necessary response actions in their Oil Spill Contingency Plan which is routinely and painstakingly reviewed by the Commission; and which is to be activated for response in emergency situations. Details of the regulatory requirements are contained in the PIA 2021 and further enunciated in the EGASPIN 2018. These form the basis of our strategic focus to achieve zero incidences going forward.

As part of our strategic plan for incident management, the operators have been mandated to activate Environmental Management Plans (EMP) which includes Environmental Compliance Monitoring (ECM) among other response actions. At the end of the clean-up exercise, the Commission will supervise all the operators to conduct Post Impact Assessment (PIA) studies to determine the far-reaching effects of the spills, with a view to restoring all impacted environment as near as possible to their pristine state.

The general public and all stakeholders are hereby assured that the Commission is taking every necessary action to ensure that the spills and associated incidents have the least impact on the affected communities and the environment.

SIGNED
Engr. Gbenga Komolafe
Commission’s Chief Executive

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My Brain Will Die If…, Singer, Adele Explains Why She Doesn’t Watch “Real Housewives”

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British music star, Adele has explained why she doesn’t watch “Real Housewives”.

Sharing her reason while getting her makeup done on the YouTube channel NikkieTutorials on Thursday December 2, the singer stated that she feels her brain will die and she doesn’t know any of the reality show stars.

Adele said; “I know a lot of people love it, but I can’t. My brain will die, I can’t.

“I don’t know who any of them are, so I don’t feel like I can start from the beginning when it’s been on for so long.”

When Host Nikkie de Jager assured Adele that the shows are binge-worthy, she rejected it saying;

“I’m not going to lie, it doesn’t work for me.”

The singer further revealed that she gave “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” a shot, but the arguments were a tad too intense for her liking.

Adele said; “One time I did watch one episode of ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ when they were all like literally killing each other, but it was too much, I was like I can’t, I can’t watch. I rather watch a wildlife program.”

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Good To Be Working With Sancho, Says Man United Interim Coach, Rangnick

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New Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has revealed he tried to sign Jadon Sancho for RB Leipzig.

He said all his efforts to sign the player when he was 17-year-old failed.

Rangnick addressed the press on Friday after he took over the reins of leadership from Michael Carrick at Old Trafford.

The German said he and his team had held talks with Sancho in a bid to bring him to RB Leipzig but the England team snubbed them and joined rivals Borussia Dortmund instead in 2017.

“Jadon Sancho I knew from the Bundesliga. As a matter of fact, I met him when he was 17 in London.

“We were at the time trying to convince him to come to Leipzig and he decided a couple of months later to go to Dortmund which was not a wrong step from his perspective.”

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