Oliver Fejiro, Journalist Of Many Lies Against Delta State Government
By Ephraim Okwuosa
In any credible democratic setting, it is elementary knowledge that a journalist is at liberty to think, decide and write on what is believed to be independent opinion on an issue that is topical or of common interest.
However, it is also low in logic and intellect for any journalist to assume that the right of free expression is a license to convey baseless, superfluous and reckless aspersions against some persons or group.
Indeed, any journalist that assumes such an exclusive preserve to create improper and unfair remarks without just, rational and legitimate basis is huge joke and disaster to professional journalism.
Unfortunately, the tendency of few journalists to misuse the seeming unbridled license extended to the practice of journalism is enormous minus for this honourable profession. This self-styled journalism of advancing skewed motives and biased reporting is quite evident in this era of new media where it has become a common practice to publish articles without thorough investigation.
Most of the time, this minority set of writers in their attempt to tarnish the reputation and dignity of their targets for self-interest, write scurrilous articles with conclusions that not only impute partiality but covey improper motives. Sadly, such reports are converse to tolerable standards in the conduct of proper journalism in Nigeria.
A telling example of such media negativity is found in a recent article, titled ‘Gov Okowa, Goodbye to Second Term’ by one Fejiro Oliver which was published in many online media. The write up which ought to have conveyed views that should provide credible reasons why the incumbent Governor Okowa of Delta State does not deserve a second term deviated entirely from readers’ expectation. Rather it dwelled on an unconnected but sensitive issue relating to Delta state Governor’s unwillingness to go the usual old way of sharing money amongst politicians and supposed friends including the writer, Fejiro.
Frankly put, it would not have even mattered whether or not the views expressed in the article are in favour or against Governor Okowa as it is a moral task of any responsible citizen in a democratic setting to hold their elected leadership accountable and critique or interrogate their policies which are considered bad.
Unfortunately, the article on prediction of 2019 Delta governorship elections is a far departure from constructive analysis on Governor Okowa’s performance or inadequacy in government.
That Oliver Fejiro’s article did not contain any meaningful deconstruction of the efforts or otherwise of the Delta State government is not strange but remains very disturbing and misleading in this modern era where readers reach conclusions based on newspaper opinions.
The write up which did not offer readers any genuine basis for judgement is best regarded as a work of fiction and deliberate attempt to advance deception through journalism. According to the writer’s comments on Governor Okowa, “As a governor, he’s extremely nice and dedicated to work. He has the heart of gold to deliver prosperity to Deltans.
He has the desire to truly make Delta the hub of industrialization and a commercial city of repute, but unfortunately swallowed by unseen hands that manipulate him”.
These remarks on Governor Okowa are very conflicting, self-contradicting and may not even call for any meaningful argument on the topic.
Unequivocally, from this singular narrative, it is obvious that the writer’s major focus was certainly not do any honest analysis on the Okowa’s administration or on what it portends for the people of Delta state but to pour a baggage of criticisms on the aides of the Governor.
In fact, it is very twisty, crude and unrefined for any responsible journalist to describe a Governor as good, yet openly stimulate fears into him that he is carrying burning coals in his hands because money is not being shared to persons termed political supporters.
Granted that in a democracy, it is the right of any person to express personal views on issues but from additional comments in Fejiro’s article, the substance in his allegations against Governor Okowa’s aides is of little value to good governance and appraisal of an administration’s performance.
Actually, If the real intent of the article was to embarrass and infuse confusion in the minds of the public about Delta State Government’s estimation, then the writer foundered on his weak ability to find quality logic and proof.
His introduction of half-truths that have no relevance to evaluating Okowa’s governance clearly buttresses the assumption that the assessment of Governor Okowa’s leadership was not a major interest.
Specifically, Fejiro’s political write up which lays great emphasis on Governor Okowa’s defiance to ‘share the money’ after his claim of personal meeting in which he proffered suggestions that have not been implemented probably for Delta State resources to be transferred to individual pockets of politicians and appointees is not only dubious, wicked but exposes his myopic and selfish interest which does not serve common good.
Fejiro’s lack of understanding that it is no longer business as usual is because he may not possess an analytical mind to do a simple analysis of the Delta State troubling financial situation nor can he understand that the nation’s recession era has a direct proportionate impact on the State’s revenue especially in the period where militant activities have affected oil derivation revenue and by extension resources of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DELSOPADEC’ which he mentioned has been deprived of appropriate funding.
The question herein, is what nature of development one should expect without cessation of violence.
In fact, Fejiro’s engagement in journalism based on distortion of facts to advance non-objective criticisms is very unacceptable. The writer’s spotlighting of Governor Okowa’s aides whom from several accounts refused to recognise him as a credible journalist or patronize his demands is outright blackmail and extortion on the part of Fejiro.
This was even affirmed by the writer in his remarks on his interaction with the Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Kingsley Emu whom he mocked and adjudged as being a mediocre in politics for the disclosure that ‘the governor has blocked the loopholes through which funds are siphoned’. Perhaps, this private discussion could have taken place when Fejiro went soliciting for financial support.
Besides the above postulations and facts, truly, if Fejiro was of stable mind, he would have known that there would be historical obstacles to his career in the type of journalism he practices. The point herein is that if he thinks that time would have healed his self-inflicted wounds or blocked our memory on his past misdeeds, he has certainly failed on such assumptions by his quick return to public forum of controversy.
In fact, any time I read stories by Oliver Fejiro, I wonder at his claims of being an investigative reporter without an intrinsic probing mind and knack for details.
If really, investigative journalism were to be all about engaging in loose reporting ethics and blackmail, then Fejiro is on a good track.
Otherwise, he may just be counted as one of those that integrity means little to and would at any slight opportunity use such a title of investigative journalist to advance sinister motivations.
Indeed, it is actually shocking that Fejiro forgets that when he writes and publishes on new media, his old articles are readily available for review and critique. Indeed, after reading some of his previous articles where he praised the actions of Governor Okowa and his aides, my guess now is that his initial idea was to pretentiously promote the government with the expectation that so much millions of naira will be tossed in his pocket.
Obviously, when this ploy did not yield immediate harvest, he reverted to his plan B by terming Governor Okowa “a promise and fail politician” and began to attack the many aides of Governor. Unfortunately, for him, these aides may be more clever than he had rated them as they have little or no respect for him given his ugly antecedent of failed attempt at extorting the former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, an incident which was foiled by the gallant officers of the Department of State Services and was widely reported in National news media.
From all superior logic, Fejiro cannot be regarded as an asset to credible media and journalism in Nigeria.
Certainly, he is not the everyday journalist that is satisfied with “thank you for coming’ brown envelop even in all its dishonourable forms. Rather, he runs a media outfit a.k.a ‘Secret Reporters’ which he purports conducts investigative journalism but in reality it is a phony scheme with a special agenda that is alleged to be a first class brand of blackmailers which not only churns out negative stories but manufactures lies to make them look like truth against individuals he has marked out for extortion.
That the aides of a governor are not collaborating with a particular journalist cannot be termed a political negative against such a Governor but Fejiro definitely feels different on this and he is entitled to his opinion. Nevertheless, from every good judgement and wisdom, it is easy to decipher that there is a bit more to Fejiro’s motivation in journalism. Particularly, his remarks that some persons in Delta State are not happy probably because money is not being distributed, suggests that Fejiro must be seen as he is, a nagging worry for more money. His deliberate, motivated and calculated attempt to bring down the image of the Governor in the estimation of the public because of self-aggrandizement is quite disappointing too.
Any credible journalist should be aware of the diminished economic situation in Delta state as an oil producing State but to Fejiro, everything else is less important including the Governor’s attempt in tackling the high levels of poverty and ensuring equity through the new job creation initiative, improved security, construction of link roads in all sections of the State, appointment of political appointees across the state, facilitation of visible major socio-economic development, struggle to ensure monthly salary are paid to oversized sixty thousand civil servants, bridging gap in communication with the governed through establishment of a very vibrant Orientation Directorate and credible efforts to sustain on-going economic empowerment of youths and women. In truth, if Fejiro was not blinded by falsehoods, he would have noticed that all these bear testament to the quality leadership of his state Governor that operates with less than a third of monthly revenue earned by his predecessors.
In any case, such achievements remain a visible chapter in the Governor Okowa’s less than two years stay in office and are signposts of developments ahead.
Specifically, on Fejiro’s ranting on Governor Okowa’s appointment his personal aides from his region, I doubt if any politician will resist the temptation to do what is needful provided it does not affect the even distribution of major appointments across the State.
Fejiro’s reference on alleged payment of two billion naira for Asaba airport safety enhancement by the State Government is false.
In fact, from this it is obvious that Fejiro is a man that is comfortable with conflicts and engages in a spiral of distortion of facts.
Perhaps, this could have been his reason for stating that a project which is contractor financed through a bank guarantee and under the direct supervision of certified experts by the Nigerian Aviation Authorities has been paid for.
Again, his analysis on Delta Sports Commission is clear exhibition of ignorance because what the former Governor Uduaghan disbursed as monthly grant to the Commission through his in law, Amaju Pinnik which Fejiro referenced to as a performer is more than what the present leadership of the same Sports Commission has collected in the past one year despite the fact that it being headed by Tony Okowa, a seasoned politician and brother of Governor Okowa.
This is where it is expected that the fundamental action for Governor Okowa’s media aides should be to call for an end to Fejiro’s impunity and engagement in falsehood by providing credible evidence to counter Fejiro’s many lies especially given that a lie becomes truth when it is repeated without objection.
From Fejiro’s antecedent, he appears like a man trapped in a lazy world of blackmailers that use the media to persuade people to think and behave in a certain manner that will ensure that money is disbursed to him. Indeed, his style of journalism not only makes a caricature of many credible unbiased media outfits that erroneously publish his lies but creates anxiety in the minds of the reading people on the quality and integrity of Nigerian journalism.
The only comfort herein, is that Fejiro’s practice of journalism will in little or no time be crushed by greed and selfishness.
Fejiro’s unceasing desire to write Okowa’s government to tatters with a plethora of half-truths cannot change the reality in Delta State recent improvements.
In truth, Ifeanyi Okowa may not really be an angel in politics because it is calling where angels don’t thrive, however, he remains a man that stands head and shoulders above his predecessors given his leadership style and work done with minimal resources.
For now, let the leadership in Delta State remain focused and undistracted by Fejiro’s tricks as 2019 elections will confirm the veracity of claims in favour or against Governor Okowa.
Dr Ephraim Okwuosa is the co-ordinator, Anti-Corruption Advocates, Area 11, Garki, Abuja
6 Ways Google and YouTube Can Help You Celebrate Ramadan
Ramadan is a holy month that is observed by Muslims all around the world. It is a time for reflection, prayer, and community. With the help of Google and YouTube, celebrating Ramadan has become even easier and more enjoyable.
From Lagos to Nairobi, Accra to Johannesburg, Africans can access a wealth of information and resources to make the most of this special time. Here are 6 ways that Google and YouTube can help you celebrate Ramadan in Africa:
Celebrate Ramadan’s Joy with Colors and Greetings: Simply search for “Ramadan 2023” in your language on Google, and you will have access to all the information related to this month, including prayer times, recipes, and more. You can also find articles on Ramadan etiquette, Ramadan recipes, and Ramadan greetings to help you navigate the holiday with ease. Additionally, you can access greeting cards online to share with your loved ones, and scroll through our Ramadan colouring book on Google Arts & Culture to engage your inner artist and colour beautiful artwork to share with family and friends.
Set Reminders for Prayer Times with Google Assistant: With Google Assistant, you can set reminders for prayer times throughout the day, making it easier to stay on track during Ramadan. Simply ask Google Assistant to set a reminder for the next prayer time, and you’ll receive a notification when it’s time to pray. You can customise the reminders to fit your schedule so you never miss a prayer. Plus, Google Assistant can provide inspirational quotes and spiritual guidance to help you stay focused and connected during the holy month.
Shop What You See with Google Lens: By using the camera on your phone, you can search for a delicious type of dessert you’ve tried at your friend’s house, or find your next favourite decoration item to buy during Ramadan. You can open the Google app on your phone, tap on the camera icon, and use Google Lens to snap a photo or screenshot. With Google Lens, you can easily find exact or similar results to shop from or explore for inspiration.
Watch Ramadan-related videos on YouTube: YouTube is a great resource for learning more about Ramadan. You can find videos on how to prepare traditional foods, tips for fasting, and spiritual practices related to Ramadan. There are also numerous Ramadan vlogs and Ramadan routines videos, where you can follow along with the daily activities and experiences of content creators during the holy month.
Use Google Maps to Find Local Mosques and Halal Restaurants: Google Maps is a valuable tool for finding local mosques and halal restaurants during Ramadan. You can search for mosques in your area or around you and get directions to join in community prayers. You can also search for halal restaurants near you to break your fast with delicious and authentic cuisine. Additionally, Google Maps can help you navigate through unfamiliar areas when you are travelling to different cities or countries during Ramadan. With Google Maps, you can plan your Ramadan activities and explore new places with ease. Plus, you can read reviews and ratings from other users to help you make informed decisions about where to go.
Browse Our Shopping Guide for Inspiration: To help you prepare for Ramadan, Google has created a Ramadan Shopping Guide that collects trending products helpful during the holiday. When we analysed search and shopping trends, we found common themes related to home decoration, like Ramadan lanterns, which grew 20% year over year. You can browse through the guide for inspiration and find new ideas for decorating your home, preparing for Iftar, or giving gifts to your loved ones during the holiday.
We hope this Ramadan brings you and your loved ones joy — and that these tools help you find the information you need to make the most of this special time of the year.
Flexible Power Technologies Will Make Africa’s Energy Leapfrogging a Reality
By Marc Thiriet
Africa’s ability to leapfrog traditional power systems and adopt renewables on a massive scale is not a fantasy. In-depth studies from Wärtsilä have demonstrated that with the adequate support of flexible power technologies, ambitious renewable energy objectives in Africa are not only achievable, but they also represent the soundest and cheapest strategy for the successful electrification of the continent.
A new power generation paradigm perfectly suited for Africa
There has been much discussion about Africa’s ability to ‘leapfrog’ the way power systems have been built in the western world. For over a century, traditional power systems have been based on centralised power generation, with a limited number of large thermal power plants providing baseload electricity through a massive transmission network. This way of generating power is, however, coming to an end: the climate emergency is calling for a 180-degree paradigm shift in which renewables replace thermal power plants as the baseload source of energy.
This new power generation paradigm is, in many ways, a perfect fit for Africa. The continent enjoys some of the highest wind and solar energy resources on the planet, which means that the renewable energy plants built here boast some of the best productivity rates in the world. Almost anywhere in Africa, renewables are the cheapest power generation option available today by a significant margin.
Although relatively ambitious renewable energy targets have been set by most governments across the continent, there is still widespread scepticism that renewable energy, which is intermittent by nature, can provide a reliable source of baseload power. This scepticism is unjustified. With the appropriate deployment of grid balancing technologies like gas engine power plants or energy storage, huge amounts of renewable energy can be built into the system while at the same time ensuring a stable and reliable network. Energy experts at Wärtsilä, who have built 76 GW of power plant capacity in 180 countries around the world, certainly know a thing or two about that.
Building reliable power systems
Yes, renewables are intermittent, but it’s a challenge that we have long known how to solve, providing the need for flexible power capacity is not underestimated.
As intermittent renewable energy becomes the new baseload, the system will have to cope with a large amount of variable power that can disrupt the grid. Flexible power must therefore be available to ramp up production at the same rate that wind or solar production fluctuates but also to match the fluctuating energy demand within the day. System imbalances can be, at times, huge, but the system will stay safe as long as renewable energy deployment is matched with corresponding levels of flexible power capacity.
Flexible engine power plants are the only technology designed to work hand-in-hand with renewables, as they can efficiently cope with multiple daily starts and stops. They also offer the significant advantage of being able to run on different fuels, from natural gas and heavy fuel oil today to locally produced hydrogen and biofuels tomorrow, as they become competitive and broadly available. Thanks to this muti-fuel capability, not only do engine power plants provide a great hedge against fuel supply risk, but they are also the ultimate “future-proof” technology for energy leapfrogging, as the gas engines can simply be converted to run on green fuels like hydrogen to reach 100% renewables. Engine power plants offer a solid, long-term foundation on which African countries can build modern and resilient clean power systems.
Energy leapfrogging requires a tailormade approach
Delivering on energy leapfrogging is going to be a complex, multi-decade process. Each country in Africa features its own unique mix of natural resources, geographical opportunities and constraints, and population density, alongside a myriad of other parameters. Each country will therefore require its own tailormade and optimal power system expansion plan to accomplish its leapfrogging.
What would such a plan look like in practice? Let’s take Nigeria as an example. Using advanced energy system modelling techniques, Wärtsilä’s analysts have designed a detailed roadmap showing how Nigeria could proceed to build a 100% renewable energy power system and meet its 2060 net-zero targets.
According to our models, by 2060, Nigeria’s power capacity should consist of 1,200 GW of renewable energy and require a total of 283 GW of energy storage and 34 GW of flexible engine power plants for grid balancing purposes. On the other hand, inflexible sources of power like coal, oil or gas turbine power plants have now become the exception rather than the norm.
For this plan to succeed, Nigeria’s domestic gas must still play a crucial transition role: It will be mobilised as an inexpensive bridging fuel for engine power plants in support of intermittent renewable energy generation until these plants can be converted to run purely on green hydrogen in the early 2040s.
This is the soundest power system from both an environmental and economic standpoint. Our research indeed shows that investing in renewable energy and flexibility from gas engines and energy storage is the most cost-effective way for Nigeria to reduce energy costs, increase energy access and improve grid reliability. For the plan to succeed, however, the country will have to greatly improve its power transmission infrastructure, develop a strong and dependable policy framework, and attract significant investment.
The global shift to renewable energy provides Nigeria and Africa, as a whole, with a unique opportunity to leapfrog the carbon-based power systems that have been the norm in the West. Delivering this opportunity would represent a giant step forward in the country’s development. But an adequate and carefully planned deployment of flexible power technologies to balance the intermittency of renewables is the sine qua non-condition for energy leapfrogging to succeed in Nigeria, as anywhere else on the continent.
Marc Thiriet is the Director for Africa at Wärtsilä Energy
Misunderstanding the Nigerian Understanding
By Prince Charles Dickson PhD
“Misunderstanding the understanding” can refer to a situation where someone fails to comprehend or interpret a concept, idea, or situation correctly, despite believing that they have understood it. This can occur due to various reasons such as cognitive biases, lack of knowledge or experience, miscommunication, cultural differences, or preconceived notions.
For example, imagine a person from one culture trying to understand a complex concept or idea from another culture. Even if they have the best intentions and have studied the concept extensively, they may still misunderstand it due to differences in language, values, or beliefs. This can lead to misinterpretations and miscommunications that can create confusion and misunderstanding.
Another example could be in a professional setting where a manager provides instructions to an employee, but the employee may not fully understand the instructions due to different interpretations or assumptions. The employee may then carry out the task incorrectly, leading to errors and inefficiencies.
In order to avoid “misunderstanding the understanding,” it is important to maintain open communication, clarify concepts and ideas, and be aware of potential biases or assumptions that may affect the interpretation of information. Additionally, seeking feedback and asking questions can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there is a shared understanding of the information at hand.
We cannot do the last paragraph above because elsewhere the police say freeze when they want to arrest you, but in Nigeria, we say ‘hold it’. The people that say hold it is the same people that, by the time you are reading this, would have settled whether Vivor of Lagos is Igbo or Yoruba. They are the same group of people that will remind you that Murtala Muhammed was from Edo or one-time Vice President Sambo is from Agenebode.
If you understand the misunderstanding, one time, an Eboni man was told that he could not be governor in Enugu, the same way Bianca Ojukwu was once told by the family of Ojukwu she could not be a senator in Anambra state.
We are a people that are no different from our politicians, who are dealers rather than leaders, so it is difficult to understand the difference because we are consciously misunderstanding, no Minister’s kid is looking for a job, and no governor’s brother is jobless. No local government chairman has an issue with getting his sister a job.
The political class don’t know that there’s no electricity, because Rimi road, Adeoye crescent, and Mbakwe close all have houses powered by big generators.
While we battle our misunderstanding, the fact is that we don’t understand the pain of a family whose substantial monthly income goes to purchasing cooking oil (kerosene) or gas.
We believe that the earth is chasing us, so where did we put our feet while running? I was once told that the fowl on a journey inside the basket does not know where it will end.
You need to understand the misunderstanding that the Nigerian dream is that you steal much and even more because if you are caught, you need money to settle all the steps of the staircase, police, lawyers, and more. At the court, you seek a restraining order and restrain anybody from arresting or investigating you. You pay a handful to protest that you’re being persecuted because of your faith or creed…do you understand, or are you being misunderstood?
Stealing government money is no big deal; it’s a dream, after all, we have erroneously insisted it is everybody’s money. If you do not want to steal, your people will mock you, in fact, as you aspire, the past records of looting by your predecessor are packaged in phrases such as ‘see the house he built for his mother’, ‘how he buried his father’, and ‘he managed to build us a small clinic too’, ‘it is our turn’, ‘you must put our people in position’, and these are misunderstandings that must be understood.
The Nigerian dream is to have your cough treated in Germany, your kids’ school in heaven knows where, and get all sorts of awards and titles, from the Baba Adini of Adiniland to an honorary degree from a one-storey building college in Maputo, that is after being knighted by one of the numerous churches, countless lesser and higher hajj, and it is all ‘you either understand or you misunderstand’.
The United Kingdom has a Hindu prime minister of Indian descent and a Muslim mayor of London of Pakistani descent. Jeremy Hunt, who is currently Chancellor of the Exchequer, when was foreign secretary, referred to his Chinese wife as Japanese during a visit to Beijing to discuss post-Brexit trade deals between the UK and China. We do not understand that true diversity is about disrupting the status quo, not enforcing it with zeal. In Nigeria, it is a different story.
How do we understand the misunderstanding in Lagos, the Igbo and Yoruba drama, as in the real deal is our dichotomy is not a subject within the shores of this nation that one talks about without understanding; it evokes a lot of passion from the heated arguments which it generates, everyone holding dear to their values, and idiosyncrasies. A lot has been written on old perspectives, likewise, new viewpoints; after the elections, we go back into the cocoon, and the differences remain and are not tackled.
In our misunderstanding, we think of easterners, westerners, northerners, and middle belters, all depending on the turn of events. In our sensationalism, we have, in every sense, approached most problems sectionally, thereby creating all kinds of unnecessary petty-cultural-ethnic-religious-paranoia and bourgeois mentality in dealing with our national issues.
There is an ideology of hatred, one that props up again and again, Lagos in the West, Anambra in the East, North vs South, Muslims vs Christians. This is a factor that reactionary elements within the system use in battling the progressives. The misunderstanding in the understanding, which really borrows a lot from bourgeois theories, which essentially is directed at confusing our intellect, like we try to argue within the parameters of “anti-class theory”, “theory of development”, “take off theory”,, “theory of cooperation”, “theory of external push”, “end of ideology theory”, “convergence theory”, “the theory of the periphery in the periphery”.
Wonderful sociological concepts that do very little to help us shift in the way of progress because only a few theories work for us…” the theory of corruption”, “the theory of bad governance”, “chop I chop theory”, and “killing for god theory”, “WIKE”, “Obi, and Elu Pee theory”, “Balablu theory” and now the “BVAS theory”. Do you understand, or you misunderstood me?
Interestingly and constructively, when we fulfil the Nigerian dream-like stealing, we have no religion, no tribe, and no fights; all is good so long it ends well, we only fight when one attempts to out steal the other. It is the misunderstanding that we do not understand, and we never will until the ordinary Nigerian becomes the focal point, it will almost never work. The dream for a better, strong and virile nation lies in our hands. Sadly, we refuse to understand it and choose to misunderstand the difference, we continue in our wild goose chase till when—only time will tell.
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