PDP Not Sponsoring IPOB – Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has described as wild allegation, the claim by the Federal Govern­ment that members of the op­position are sponsoring the dis­banded Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
He warned that it would be dangerous for Nigeria if the on­going clamour for political re­structuring, fiscal federalism, state police, guarantee for free and fair elections, is ignored.
Wike spoke on Thursday in Port Harcourt, the state cap­ital when he opened the 13th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC) of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).
The governor said that “Ni­gerians of goodwill must tell the country’s leaders to stop fanning the embers of dishar­mony and division in the pol­ity with their irresponsible ut­terances and wild allegations against members of the oppo­sition political parties, to the fact that opposition is the one sponsoring IPOB.”
He asked: “Who are those being affected by the activities of IPOB? Are they not those in the opposi­tion states? In the hay days of Boko Haram, does the Inspector of Gen­eral of Police (IGP) mean it was the opposition then that was sponsor­ing Boko Haram just to distract the government then?
“Today, the clamour for po­litical restructuring, fiscal federal­ism, state police, guarantee for free and fair elections have never been this determined across the country and will never go away. It is becom­ing clearer by the day that to ignore these calls is potentially dangerous to the unity and peaceful coexist­ence of this country,” he warned.
Wike stated that Nigeria is in crisis because of poor governance, nepotism and marginalisation, stressing that the country needs forthright leadership and consen­sus building to steer the ship of state from the wrong direction it is head­ing, to a safer ground.
In the words of the governor, “acts of impunity, political intimi­dation, election rigging and abuse of power are wrongs not only against Rivers State, but they are wrongs against the entire country. We are only pretending when we feel that all is well with the country.
“The country is in crisis because of poor governance, nepotism, mar­ginalisation and state-sponsored re­pression continues to bring violence to national unity and cohesion. At times like this, the country needs forthright leadership and consen­sus building to steer the ship of state from the wrong direction it is head­ing to safer place,” he stated.
The governor also appealed to all well-meaning Nigerians to call on the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, to stop stoking the embers of disharmony and divi­sions in the polity with his irrespon­sible utterances and wild allegations against members of opposition po­litical parties.
He pointed out that by Mo­hammed’s unguarded utteranc­es, the minister had implied that it was the then opposition (APC) that was sponsoring Boko Haram’s op­erations.
He said: “For some of us, there­fore, there is nothing nobler than be­ing counted on this path and as long as God gives us breath, we shall re­main in the trenches fighting for our democratic rights and freedoms un­til victory is ultimately achieved.
“But, we also believe that this is a fight that should and must be led by the media for full effect and agenda-setting. This calls for great­er vigilance and courage in giving effective voice to the contending is­sues and taking personal responsi­bility for factuality. It can’t be other­wise,” he said.
Governor Wike regretted that despite the monumental achieve­ments of his administration, the op­position in the state had continued to undermine him, with tacit sup­port from the Federal Government and a politically-inclined police.
He said: “Therefore, when a supposed opposition goes beyond the bond of decency in conjuring lies to rubbish and undermine eve­ry effort of ours to serve and ad­vance the progress of the state, then the media owes the society the duty to investigate and expose their mis­chievous intentions with the facts at their disposal.
In her address, the NGE’s Pres­ident, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, said that this year, the editors would fo­cus on how to reinvent the journal­ism profession and make it profita­ble for practitioners and the society.
Egbemode said: “Ours is a be­sieged and beleaguered industry. Both the profession and the profes­sionals are not in good place right now. The recession may be reced­ing in other sectors but in the media, hardly so. Indeed, our recession pre­dates the nationally recognised one.
“We have been in a bad place for a long time and right now, we all can feel the ground shift under our shaky legs. We take care of eve­rybody else’s interest. We watch out for everybody and we have always done that for years.
“Other sectors get interven­tion funds and bailouts but what do we get? We are constantly re­minded of our social responsibili­ty and our roles in national security. We are watchdogs of every sector. And I ask: who watches our back? Who bails us out when we run into storms, like now when Hurricane Recession is battering us?”
The Chairman of the Con­ference, Mallam Ismaila Funtua, urged the Editors to promote pro­fessionalism in Nigeria’s interest.
The Publisher of Thisday, Mr. Nduka Obiagbena, called on media managers to develop strong brands to overcome the challenge posed by the existence of the social media.
The All Nigeria Editors Con­ference has as its theme: “Balanc­ing professionalism, advocacy and business.”
In his goodwill message, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, said that the National Assembly is ready to partner with NGE to give the media the needed support.
France denies funding Bia­fra group
Meanwhile, France has denied the allegation by the Nigerian gov­ernment that it is hosting the finan­cial headquarters of IPOB.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Moham­med, on Wednesday told State House correspondents in Abuja that the financial headquarters of IPOB, which is clamouring for an independent state of Biafra in South East Nigeria, is domiciled in France.
However, in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, the Politi­cal Counsellor of the Embassy of France in Nigeria, Claude Abily, said he was shocked by the state­ment attributed to Mohammed.
The embassy added that it has no knowledge of IPOB’s presence in France and that the Nigerian au­thorities never got in touch with it on the matter.
France cooperates with Nigeria in the field of security and strong­ly supports its unity, the statement pointed out.
Abily said: “The Embassy of France was surprised by the state­ment made yesterday by the Min­ister of Information and Culture, indicating that the “financial head­quarters” of IPOB were in France.
“We don’t have any knowledge of a particular presence of IPOB in France and the Nigerian authorities never got in touch with the Embas­sy on this point.
“We stand ready to examine any information which could sup­port this statement.

“Furthermore, we would like to reiterate that France actively coop­erates with Nigeria in the field of se­curity and that we strongly support the unity of the country.”
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