Author: JEROME-MARIO UTOMI

No man, according to Aristotle, chooses anything but what he can do himself. And thus, choice is limited to the realm of things humanly possible. Aristotle further stated that there is no choice among impossibilities. Choice, by its very nature, is free. A necessitated choice is not a choice at all but a great sacrifice. He concluded.  The above lines from great Aristotle amply captures the ‘fate’ or better still the position of Asiayei Enaibo, Bobogbene community, a Warri, Delta state based journalist who made a necessitated choice/sacrifice by opting out of conventional journalism to explore formation that is supremely…

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It is pedestrian information that pursuant to the provisions of Section 72(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday March 29, 2023, issued Certificate of Return to Sheriff Oborevwori, Delta state Governor-Elect. The ‘ritual’ followed his electoral victory at the Saturday March 18 gubernatorial poll in the state as conducted by INEC. But, similar to every new invention which comes with opportunities and challenges, many of Oborevwori’s opponents particularly candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Labour Party (LP), in pursuit of their constitutional rights proceeded to the Delta…

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An African proverb states that ‘ from the way chimpanzee walks, seamlessly reveals that it is not a happy animal’. Likewise, if a visit is made to the crude oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, such a visitor will discover without labour that they are not happy people. This visible unhappiness is rooted in protracted underdevelopment, degradation and brazen neglect by state actors and private interests, which characterizes the environment.  Essentially, this concern over the poor environment partially explains the repertoire of literature covering the various epochs of the Region. Part of the literature is written…

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In recent weeks, the Executive of Delta state, His Excellemcy, RT Honourable (Elder) Sheriff Oborevwori Delta, took some leadership decisions that amply qualify as people focused. Some of these actions by the state governor in no particular order include but not limited to; inspection of the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) at Mbiri Farm Settlement with 30 greenhouses for the cultivation of tomatoes and other vegetables, and the Agro-Industrial Park, Aboh-Ogwashi for rice milling and others, in Ika North-East and Aniocha South local government areas, respectively with a promise that his administration would continue to improve on the agricultural value…

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As the global community knocks at the entrance doors of the year 2024, there is an urgent imperative for Nigerian leaders to commence consideration of development in its totality-going beyond cement and concrete (roads, buildings and other things). Those are important but in the year 2024, we should be talking as a nation about development in the context of encompassing improvement, a process that builds on itself and involves both individual and social changes, brings about growth and structural change, with some measures of distributive equity, modernization in social and cultural attitudes, a degree of political transformation and stability, an…

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This piece primarily stemmed from a recent Nigeria-focused conversation with a Delta state born but Florida, United States of America (USA) based practicing Lawyer who studied in England, Finland, Sweden, and Norway among others. Aside from using the opportunity provided by the conversation to explain how today politics in Nigeria is not tailored to the development of the country, but to the individual players and their various interests, the Legal luminary highlighted the corruption challenge in the country with a sustainable strategy to arrest the monster. He deeply advanced approaches to sanitizing the nation’s political space in ways that will…

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There are clear thinkers, muddled thinkers and people that fall in between. Clear thinkers -are the ones that can cull everything down into the right points-are very hard to find. But if you get yourself a team of clear thinkers, the possibilities are endless. These are men who see tomorrow, trailblazers and high level executives, but most often misunderstood by some fellow countrymen still stuck in the old normal of yesterday. Without any shadow of the doubt, Distinguished Senator, Prince Chinedu Munir Nwoko, popularly known as Ned Nwoko, a Nigerian lawyer, philanthropist, politician and Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District…

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It is no longer news that the debate on climate change is among the most presently discussed topics on the earth’s surface. Making this perceived climate change challenge look alluring was the recent news report that to tackle the problems, the World Bank Group has committed about $70 billion and urged governments of different nations to set up structures to engage and access the fund. Part of that discussion was this year’s UN climate change conference held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and focused on assessing progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.  Nigeria and other African…

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Each passing day brings to mind the fact that it is not politics, but politicians that ply the trade with neither ideologies nor people-interest reputation, are the real problem of Nigeria as a country. There are equally reasons to believe that despite its inability to promote social justice, facilitate social mobility or engineer coordinated development in Nigeria, democracy remains one of the best globally recognized form of government. Supporting the above assertion on politics is a recent news report that the Catholic Church in Tanzania is seeking information that could advance the cause of sainthood of the founding father and…

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On Sunday December 10, 2023, Nigeria joined other countries across the globe to celebrate Human Rights Day (HRD), a ritual of the sort celebrated annually around the world on 10 December every year. Historically, the date was chosen to honor the United Nation General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10th December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nation. The formal establishment of Human Rights Day occurred at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 4 December 1950,…

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Rev. Fr. Victor Ibude, from Agbor, Delta state, Nigeria, is a catholic Priest ordained about 30years ago, precisely in the year 1993, who in the first instance went to the seminary with no ambition of becoming a priest but only went in thanksgiving to God for aiding him score distinction in his examination as conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).  He was, however, through divine arrangement and natural order of things, ordained a Priest of the Catholic Church on the aforementioned date. Essentially, by virtue of his ordination which was administered by His Lordship, Most Rev. (Dr.) Anthony…

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…..We made rule that no staff should intervene in our relationship and we kept to it rigidly …….The secret is understanding. Never carry the things of the world on your head. …….We have never had any form of face off working together. We have always maintained brotherly love and affection. The ancient city of Agbor, Delta state, Nigeria, houses so many hospitals. While some are government owned such as the General Hospital and Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC), others were established and operated by faith based organizations like churches. The rest, which of course are higher in number, were midwifed by…

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It is a common knowledge that Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, recently, presented a N714.4 billion Appropriation Bill tagged ‘Budget of Hope and Optimism,’ for the 2024 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly. What is however, uncertain to deltans and the watching world is whose interest the bill, if passed, is meant to serve or protect? There is also the concern as to whether it will herald into the political geography called Delta state, a just or an unjust law? As we are now, a just law is ‘a man-made code that squares with moral laws or the…

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There exists a time-honored notion among management experts that for every given task, there is always a strategy to achieve the desired results. In planning, you may have more than one strategy which could be labeled as ‘Plan-A’ and ‘Plan-B’ or even more. Chiedu Ebie, Chairman of the newly constituted Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, recently demonstrated the understanding that NDDC as an interventionist agency is not left out in clarion formulation of strategies needed for getting hold of stakeholders and converting their support to a springboard for right vision that will set the tone for sustainable…

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Recently, precisely on Tuesday November 21, 2023, I participated as a panelist at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands, panel discussion on “The role of multi-stakeholder engagement in achieving environmental justice.” The gathering which held in Victoria Island, Lagos, formed part of training on Environmental Justice: Reducing Ecological and Social Inequalities through Effective and Participatory Land Governance. Essentially, in my private study/preparation for the programme, the need to domesticate the subject became paramount to me. To achieve this objective; the following questions came flooding; what is Environmental Justice? Are there traces or evidence…

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Dear Mr President,  I trust this letter meets you well It remains a familiar narrative that the Saturday, February 25, presidential election organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) affirmed you as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Further eliciting congratulations on your success is the awareness that all the litigations/and related concerns arising from electoral exercise have been resolved in your favour. In line with this victory, you are presently faced with the task of delivering Nigeria and Nigerians from the snare of dangerous political and socio-economic challenges. As part of that effort, Nigerians have in…

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The latest media report that lawmakers in the Green Chamber have started taking delivery of their Sports Utility Vehicles, has again confirmed as true the argument that history cannot ordinarily repeat itself; rather, it is the people that are in the habit of repeating history. According to reports, the Prado SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles), worth ₦130 million per unit and given to lawmakers,  Rotimi Akin, the spokesperson of the House of Reps, n a statement  noted that for the duration of the 10th assembly, spanning 2023 to 2027, the cars remain the property of the National Assembly and tied to…

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I still recall with vividness how participants at a symposium held on February 2018, in Lagos, unanimously agreed that common sense has a limit in public leadership and should not be the sole requisite for public leadership consideration; a position that supports sound education as an indispensable ingredient for achieving a people-purposed leadership. The symposium, which had as its theme: ‘Leadership and Performance in Africa; the challenges of the continent’s economic competitiveness,’ was organized by the Centre for Leadership and Value,(CVL). The event had in attendance, namely; Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Nigerian president, as the special guest of honour, Kandeh…

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Each passing day brings to mind how public office holders in Nigeria pay lip service to the nation’s sector. Talking about this neglect, it is an act that no public office holder can boast of clean. The neglect comes in different forms and shapes and affects all levels of learning, from primary to the university. High Chief Joseph Uduboh, the Tonwei of Tubutoru Kingdom, has described as unacceptable the dismal condition of St Timothy A/C Primary School in Taribor, a riverine Ijaw community in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, and therefore, called on Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and the…

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A few days after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared winner of the Saturday February 25, 2023, Presidential election in the country, conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),  the then National Women Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Dr. Betta Edu, now Federal Minister reportedly stated that President-Elect,(as he then was),  has huge plans for the people of the Niger Delta.. Dr. Betta Edu made the statement precisely on  March 2, 2023, when she featured on GbaramatuVoice programme ‘Election Headquarters’ said in parts; “I think he has a huge plan for the region, some of it is stated in…

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As a background to this piece, the acronym, ‘NDDC’, is simply a contraction of the Niger Delta Development Commission, a Federal Government agency created in 2000 by enabling Act, to among other responsibilities, offer a lasting solution to the socio-economic difficulties of the Niger Delta Region and to facilitate the rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful. The interventionist agency was created to thrive through; Federal Government contribution, which shall be equivalent to 15% of the monthly statutory allocations due to member States of the…

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High Chief Joseph Uduboh, the Tonwei of Tubutoru Kingdom, has described as unacceptable the dismal condition of St Timothy A/C Primary School in Taribor, a riverine Ijaw community in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, and therefore, called on Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and the Local Government Chairman to prioritize the restoration and transformation of the school to ensure that the students have a safe and conducive learning environment. Chief Joseph Uduboh who spoke on behalf of the kingdom stated this recently when he conducted newsmen round the now dilapidated school. According to him, St Timothy A/C Primary School in…

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Acting on the strength of an invitation forwarded to me by a corporate body based in Delta, I made a trip recently. On that day, at that time and in that place, the Sienna Bus that we travelled in was filled to capacity and dotted with passengers from different backgrounds. Our conversation covered a wide range of issues. I listened to different comments from these prominent Nigerians. Our conversation ranged from the recent political developments in the country to the nation’s economy; from Social issues to religious and cultural affairs in the country. At intervals, we ran into police checkpoints…

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This piece stemmed from two perspectives. The first has to do with the Lagos State Government’s recent declaration that it would not be selective in the application of law in the ongoing demolition of illegal structures at Lekki Phase II and its environs. The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, who was reportedly  besieged by pleading occupants and owners of the fully built structures constructed on the drainage setbacks and already marked for demolition, said that the state government was committed to ensuring that justice and fairness were served to all equally, noting that stopping the demolition exercise…

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It is a general knowledge that the House of Representatives, on Thursday, screened and confirmed members of the Board and Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission nominated by President Bola Tinubu. The President had on August 29 nominated Mr Chiedu Ebie for the position of NDDC Board Chairman alongside 16 others. As expected, this development has elicited reactions from stakeholders and the general public. While some people hailed the action of both the president and lawmakers, noting that it is a hallmark of a renewed hope for the people of the Niger Delta region, particularly as members of the…

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If there is any fresh fact that supports the claim by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in November 2022, that Multidimensional Poverty Index [MPI], is higher in rural areas, than in urban areas, it is my experience during a short visit to Agbor, a community  which according to Wikipedia is the most populous among the Ika people, located in, and functions as the headquarter of Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, in South-south geo-political zone of Nigeria. Among many other observations, the referenced report puts the MPI in rural areas at 72% and that of urban areas 42%, thereby confirming…

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Recently, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State approved a 25 percent reduction in acceptance fees payable in the four state-owned universities as part of palliatives for students. The governor’s approval was contained in a statement issued by Festus Ahon, his chief press secretary, on Wednesday, in Asaba. According to the statement, the reduction in the acceptance fee was in line with measures taken by the Delta State government to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on citizens. Ahon further said that the 25 percent reduction was applicable to new students at the state-owned Delta State University, Abraka; Delta…

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If there is any recent evidence that placed the Osun state Governor, His Excellency, Senator Narudeen Ademola Adeleke Jackson, among the few public office holders in the country that their sense of nationhood is stronger than their tribal loyalty, it is the recent news report that he (the Osun state Governor, His Excellency, Senator Narudeen Ademola Adeleke Jackson, )  appointed Honourable Goddey Olije, an indigene of Ika nation of Delta state as his Special Adviser on Local Government Affairs. Also heartening is the accompanying narrative that he (the Governor) is re-writing Osun state narrative from a state that has suffered…

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This piece stemmed from two different but related sources. The first has to do with the ‘Global Trends in Child Monetary Poverty report released a few days ago by the World Bank, where it reportedly stated that 40 million Nigerian children are living in extremely poor households and families The world financial body, according to media reports, clearly stated that; “In absolute numbers, most children living in extreme poverty live in middle-income countries, 179.4 million children (14.9 per cent in lower middle and 2.2 percent in upper middle income in extreme poverty) – including 52.2 million children in India (11.5…

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In Nigeria as well as the global stage, many comments, remarks (or is it observations) have been made in the past about democracy. To some, it is simply a government by the people and rule of the majority. To others, it is a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. To the rest, it is a political unit that has a democratic government and absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges. Closely related to the above conversation is the accompanying belief that for democracy to thrive, good governance must not only…

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