The Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi will on Monday, 20th July, 2009 officially declare open the 40th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), African Regional Conference in the state.
Already, the preliminary conference attracting no fewer than 16 countries from the African Region started on Monday, 13th and is expected to end on the 25th July, 2009 at the magnificent auditorium of the Rivers State House of Assembly, in Port Harcourt.
A statement from the press officer to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Soye Young-Itiye described the regional conference as historic milestone because it is the first time the state legislature is hosting the commonwealth parliamentary association, since the establishment of the body in 1911.
According to him, special commendation should be given to the state governor who had graciously accepted the hosting of the conference during his tenure as the Speaker of the state House of Assembly.
He said apart from the governor’s desire to reposition the infrastructural development of the state, amidst global economic meltdown, the need to host the conference was still provided on the front burner in his policy implementation programmes.
“The CPA is seen as a body set-up to promote and advance parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance, was found in 1911 as the empire parliamentary associations and its affairs was administered by the United Kingdom”, he said.
He explained that the conference which has its theme as Commonwealth at 60: Challenges and Opportunity”, has its pioneer members drawn from Australia, Canada, New Found Land, New Zealand, South-Africa and the United Kingdom, adopted and changed its present name in 1948 to enable members to participate in the association’s management and establish a separate secretariat to manage its affairs.
According to him, more than 50 new parliaments and legislatures joined or rejoined the CPA adding that, there are 17 National branches in the African region.
The 13-day programme, he said, is expected to attract 16 Commonwealth countries with over 600 delegates.
He called on the people of the state to show their hospitality to the delegates during their stay throughout the conference.
In another development, a member, representing Akuku-Toru State Constituency II in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Onari Brown, says the conference will provide opportunity for the people in the state to show case the potential of their cultural heritage.
Apart from the showcasing of tourism potentials in Rivers State, he said, the conference will correct the impression that the state cannot provide the enabling peaceful environment to investors in this region, taunted as the hub of oil and gas industry.
Hon. Brown made this known during an interactive session with House of Assembly correspondents shortly before the conference kick-off in Port Harcourt.
The legislator also chairman, House committee on information, explained that the historic conference will afford legislators the cross fertilization of ideas on challenges, hope, aspiration and democratic ideal in the region.