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RVHA In 2012: A Score Sheet

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Rivers State House of Assembly in 2012, continued to maintain its apex position as one of the leading state legislative arms of government in the country.

From the inception of the Seventh Assembly, the House has recorded milestones in the performance of legislative duties that have impacted significantly on the lives of Rivers people.

The leadership of the Assembly under the tutelage of Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree was greeted with excitement, hope and expectation of a possible paradigm shift in focus and conceptualisation of deliverables to engender the enactment of people oriented laws.

As many expressed absolute confidence on the leadership of the House, some political pundits saw the change of baton as a mere window dressing as the incumbent Speaker and the immediate past speaker Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry belong to the same political caucus.

However, apart from sharing and taking decisions jointly as members of the same kitchen cabinet, beginning from 1999, when Governor Chibuike Amaechi was Speaker, individual differences, style and charisma would be the determining factor in the assessment of each occupant of the number three position in the state government.

The existence of a political cell within the Assembly came to the fore during the “red carpet event organised by the House to honour past Speakers and outstanding law-makers past and present that distinguished themselves in public service.

Appreciating the Ambassador of the Rivers State House of Assembly award to him, former Speaker Tonye Harry said “many people will not understand the relationship between me and the incumbent Speaker. We belong to the same political caucus in the House since 1999, where major decisions that subdued some troublesome members were taken and he Amachree had been our leader”.

The outcome of the red carpet ceremony was the institution of an annual special legislative session to be attended by past and serving lawmakers in the state.

Hon. Tonye Harry, thanked the House leadership for the innovations introduced into the administration of the Assembly particularly for institutionalising the Red Carpet event and the House Hall of Fame as remarkable stints of a good leadership.

A significant mark of success and development remains peaceful co-existence, thus, the Assembly within the period under review engaged stability and cordial working relationship with the other arms of government.

The period under review equally witnessed the passage of new laws, repealing of others and resolutions of the House that has sufficiently contributed in shaping the state government to succeed.

Apart from acknowledging the laws enacted by the state lawmakers, the opposition political parties had described the Assembly as a mere “rubber stamp” of the executive.

But the House committee Chairman on Information and Training Hon. Onari Brown, debunked the insinuations of being remoted from the “Brick House”.

According to Hon. Onari, the three arms of government are to work for the betterment of the society while the lawmakers as representatives of the people are to leverage on their mandate to make justifiable laws that would improve the standard of living.

Hon. Brown argued that unnecessary antagonism and confrontation from the legislature on the executive would not do anybody any good, rather as responsible citizens that seek the development of the state, a lot of issues are settled through dialogue.

Moreso, he said, the Governor as former lawmaker understands the rhythm of the House and complies without armtwisting.

In terms of input to debates, exposure to legislative business, leadership styles, comportment and experience the state Assembly leads the pack. Just recently, the state Assembly successfully hosted the Pan African Parliamentary Conference in Port Harcourt with the theme “promoting good governance in Africa”.

The conference attracted dignitaries from far and near within the African continent thereby selling the potentials of the state to the outside world.

One issue which had agitated the minds of concerned constituents in the state borders on the near absence of constituency projects by the lawmakers. According to Mr. Stanely Etena, said most of the lawmakers made promises to the people but “they are yet to fulfill them and since we cannot remove them now, we shall wait till when they come to renew their mandate.

While Mr. Etena may not be alone in his assessment of performance via the projects, some are leading in that diretion. The lawmaker representing Bonny Constituency Hon. Aye Pepple, recently fulfilled his electioneering campaign of building a befitting Finima Youth Centre commissioned by the Speaker of the House.

He did not stop there, Hon. Pepple organised a two-Day seminar for Bonny youths to equip them with necessary knowledge to face future challenges and the lawmaker crowned the year with inter ward football competition to identify hidden talents among the youths of the area.

The move no doubt had endeared him to his people, especially the youths.

Similarly, Hon. Onari Brown wrote his name in gold when he completed and commissioned corpers lodge in Obonoma Akuku-Toru LGA equipped with modern facilities and a Lawn Tennis Court.

Others include Hon. Chidi Lloyd that recently commissioned, market he built for the women of Ogbakiri in Emohua LGA, Hon. Okechukwu Ankara a computer centre, Victoria Nyeche amongst other touched their constituents.

However, many are yet to nominate  projects for sponsorship in their areas.

Since the 2013, Appropriation bill was presented to the House December 24, 2012, as the Assembly resumes from Christmas and New Year holidays, the lawmakers are expected to swing into action to debate the budget estimates of Governor Amaechi with a view to ensuring early passage to guarantee completion of on-going projects embarked upon by the state government.

Certainly, Rivers people expect to see more robust debate by the lawmakers to justify their mandate of speaking the opinion of their people while oversight functions of the House will keep the executive on their toes to deliver on their promises.

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APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request

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The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn. 
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.

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A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law

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Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs.  Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.

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NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System

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Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed. 
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and  the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
  “We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
 Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers. 
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
 ”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
 “Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat. 
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc. 

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