Lawmakers of the 7th Assembly on Tuesday passed the bill for a law to provide pension and other fringe benefits to the Governor and Deputy Governor.
The proposed law which attracted heated debate finally got the nod of the Assembly after some amendments were suggested during deliberation in the floor of the Assembly.
Opposing the bill, Hon. Victor Ihunwo, representing Port Harcourt Constituency 111, said civil servants enjoy pension while politicians benefit from severance allowance payments at the expiration of tenure in office and advised the House to reject the proposed law.
Hon. Ihunwo said the House should not waste its time in debating about pension for a governor that served for four or eight years with all the attractive benefits accruing to him.
Disagreeing with the proposed law, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu, representing Omuma in the Assembly, called on the sponsor of the bill to withdraw it for repackaging because the accruable benefits are outgrageous.
Hon. Nwogu, explained that since the person (s) considered here are former governors the building should have defined pattern and specifications to be located anywhere in the state as against any where in Nigeria.
Supporting the bill, Hon. Lucky Odili, ONELGA Constituency 11 noted that the law when operational will help to check corruption in the system while Hon. Michael Chinda, Obio/Akpor 11 cautioned that the benefits are over loaded while the accommodation should be in the state as a way reducing cost to a manageable level.
Hon. Golden Chioma, Etche Constituency 11, noted that the bill was an amendment to the principal law, number four of 2007 and suggested four personal staff as against policemen, while the benefits should be specific rather than leave it open ended.
Andoni Chairman Tasks Councillors On Capacity Dev
A two-day capacity development programme organised for members of Andoni Legislative Assembly ended over the weekend with the council chairman urging the trainees to imbibe knowledge that would enable them discharge their legislative duties effectively.
The chairman of Andoni Local Government Council, Bar Erastus Awortu gave the advice while declaring the programme opened in Port Harcourt last Friday.
The workshop with the theme ”Strengthening the Legislative Institutional Framework for Effective Service Delivery in Andoni Local Government Area” was aimed at enhancing the individual and collective performance of the councilors as well as motivating them to be resourceful, creative and innovative while discharging their duties as elected representatives of the people.
According to the council chairman, “the training is apt, very crucial and timely, given the sorry state of affairs of our Local Government Area which we inherited and the urgent need to right the many wrongs of Andoni to herald a turnaround and a watershed moment in our dear Local Government Area.
“Your role as councillors of the Legislative Arm is critical because you serve as Vanguards of the people and their common interest. The essence of this training is to enable you understand your role as councillors, to impart legislative knowledge and skills in you, build your legislative capacity and competencies, improve your efficiency and enhance your performance individually and collectively as a Legislative Assembly.
“The objective of the training is also to motivate you to be creative and innovative as elected representatives of the people from the 11 Wards of Andoni Local Government so that you can make valuable contribution for the good governance of the people”.
The council boss expressed optimism that the training would educate the lawmakers on the rudiment and basics of legislation at the grassroots and and as well enlighten the councillors on the strategies of strengthening the relationship between the Council Executive and the Legislative Assembly with a view to reducing friction between the two arms of government.
He also expressed hope that the Training will deepening the legislative knowledge in line with legislative best practices and in consistent with the Local Government Laws of Rivers State and the 1999 Constitution as amended which the grundnorm”.
Awortu said the Councillors would through the workshop gained the requisite legislative knowledge to make good bye-laws and contribute positively to the implementation of the policies and programmes of his government for the general good of the people of Andoni.
He urged the Councillors to galvanize and synchronize their energies towards the pursuit of the good of the people while shunning partisanship and divisive tendencies capable of truncating collective efforts at rebuilding Andoni Local Government and changing its ugly narrative.
Awortu further stressed the need for the lawmakers and the Staff of the Council to equip themselves with the necessary modern day skills of Local Government Administration devoid of lack of commitment to work, nonchalant attitude, lukewarmness and unnecessary bureaucracy and red-tapism.
The Council Boss also charged them to take the advantage of the training to inculcate Discipline, Integrity, Honesty, Diligence and Responsiveness, which are the core values of leadership in them.
On his part, the Facilitator, Mr. Solomon Seiyefa said the training is an orientation workshop targeted at strengthening democratic traditions at the Local Government level and equip the Councillors and Support Staff core values on how to enhance their proficiency on the job.
He said it is expected that at the end of the training the Councillors would know the purpose of their election and discharge their role dutifully and diligently.
“The overview of the training is that we intend to achieve a good working relationship between the Executive, the Councillors and Support Staff of the Council. There is a link between them, their functions are interwoven, none can operate in isolation.
“The Local Government cannot be effectively administered without a synergy and harmoniously working relationship between Executive, Staff of the Council and the Legislative Arm.
“Without a good Legislature the Executive cannot function, the Council Chairman needs the Councllors to enact functional bye-laws, to enact acceptable bye-laws, the Councillors also need the Executive to function efficiently. Also, without the Support Staff the Legislative Arm cannot make bye-laws and without the Legislative Arm the Support Staff cannot function effectively.
“So this training is also aimed at bridging the gap of misunderstanding between the Councillors and the Support Staff of the Andoni Local Government” he said.
The Leader of the Andoni Legislative Assembly Sheila Jacob Nte who spoke to newsmen at the training commended the Council Chairman for the initiative. She said they are now well enlightened on their role as Councillors and adequately equipped with the basic legislative skills of lawmaking at the third tier of Government.
She promised that the knowledge acquired in the training would be put to good use in their day-to-day legislative business.
Also, the Councillor representing Ward 5 Andoni Gogo Ikuru who described the training as the first of its kind said they are better equipped to deliver on their mandate as elected representatives of the people. He thanked the Council Chairman for developing their legislative capacity on the job.
The package of the 2-day Training for the Councillors and Support Staff of Andoni Local Government Council includes:
– An overview of the Local Government System in Nigeria: Creation, Structure and Function.
– The Role and functions of the Local Government Legislative Assembly under the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended, and the Rivers State Local Government Law No. 5 of 2018, as amended.
– The Conduct of Business in a Legislative Chamber: Ethics, Rules and Procedures.
– The Role of Support Staff in Legislative Process.
– The Role of Bureaucracy and Legislative Aides in the Legislature.
– Budgeting and Budgetary Process in Local Government Council.
– The Role of the Legislative Assembly in advancing accountability and good governance in Local Government Administration.
By: Enoch Epelle
RSG To Seal Dirty Business Places, Illegal Motor Parks
The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has warned that henceforth, business houses with refuses littered around their precincts would be sealed up by the state government.
Governor Wike who gave the warning last Thursday during the inspection of four ongoing flyover projects in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas of the state also warned those operating illegal motor parks and business activities around the flyover project sites to desist or be ready to face the wrath of the law.
The Governor said the decision was informed by the carefree attitude displayed by members of the public towards issues of sanitation, adding that his administration has the political will to implement the new order for the highly needed change of behaviour on sanitation.
“So all those who litter refuse, and operate motor parks will have themselves to blame. This is not the time people will tell you that the economy is hard , does it mean that you will sell your goods and litter the places with refuse?
“ Why do you have to litter the area, thinking that government will come and clean them up for you. Nobody will do that any longer “, Governor Wike said.
The flyover projects inspected were the Rumuola, the GRA Junction, Orochiri/ Worukwo, and Oro-Abali flyovers.
As Muslims celebrated Eid-el- Kabir last week, the Rivers State Chief Executive enjoined Nigerian Muslims to emulate Holy Prophet Mohammed by imbibing the ideals of sacrifice examplified by the prophet.
Governor Wike, in his Sallah message, described Eid-el-Kabir as a season of love, peace, friendship and sacrifice. He urged Nigerians to embrace religious tolerance so as to promote peace across the country and enhance national development.
He thanked Muslim community in the state for their sustained support to his administration, promising that his government would continue to partner with Muslims to move the state forward.
Also last week, Governor Wike was at the site of the new official quarters of members of the Rivers State House of Assembly under construction, to see the extent of work done so far.
He lauded the harmonious relationship existing between the executive and the other two arms of government in the state. According to him, the good working relationship existing between the arms of government engendered the accelerated development being achieved by his administration.
“ Frankly speaking, it would have been difficult if we do not have a good, robust relationship between the three arms of government. Yes , we are independent but we work cooperatively to see that the state moves forward.
“ If we have the relationship that is not good with the legislature, then how would they have passed the budget for us to implement “, he said.
He stated that the numerous projects being embarked by his administration had created huge employment opportunities for the youths in the state and expressed delight over the quality of job at the project site.
“ Look at the number of people who are working here. Assuming we don’t have this kind of project. This is one particular project , but look at the number of people that are being employed , and then multiply it with the number of projects going on simultaneously in the state, that will tell you the number of persons who are being employed in the state “, Wike said.
Also last week, the state government raised alarm over a plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to denigrate the administration of Governor Wike, using selected media houses in the state.
A release by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said the orchestrated campaign spear headed by the former Governorship aspirant of APC , Dr Dakuku Peterside was mischievously designed to portray the government of Gov Wike as one that has failed to meet the developmental spirations of Rivers people.
The release stated that no matter how hard the distractors push their propaganda, Gov Wike will never be distracted in executing his social contract with the people of the state.
Also within the week under review, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae, was in Government House, Port Harcourt on a courtesy visit to the state Governor .
Their discussion centred on partnership between Korea and the state on the areas of agriculture, technical or vocational education, health , construction , among others.
By: Chris Oluoh
PDP Caucus Demands Prosecution Of NCC Officials
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on the appropriate authorities to arrest and prosecute officials of the National Communications Commission (NCC) for claiming that electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not possible in the country.
The Tide reports that NCC officials led by Executive Director, Ubale Maska, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umaru Garba Danbatta, while testifying before the House, on the adoption of electronic transmission of results from the units, claimed that the 2018 Technical Report of the NCC showed that only about “50 percent of the polling units had 3G while 49 percent had 2G network and below.”
But the PDP Caucus Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said the NCC officials lied to Nigerians while on oath and as such, must be prosecuted for allegedly misleading Nigerians.
Chinda said the NCC officials “cleverly sought to rely on 2018 data in 2021, when they knew or ought to know that internet penetration has advanced substantially in Nigeria since 2018.
“Indeed a perusal of NCC Website even today shows that the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 (P .33) says that by September 2019, the ‘Spread of 3G/LTE’ had reached 74.2 percent in Nigeria,” the PDP caucus added.
“We call on the prosecuting authorities to immediately arrest the officials of the NCC, under Prof. Danbatta and all those who procured Ubale Maska and other officials to lie under oath to be investigated and where found culpable, be brought to justice by standing criminal trial, he said,”.
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