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Rivers: INEC Suspends Polls In Eight LGAs …Police Confirm Four Dead, 24 Arrested

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Rivers State Commissioner for Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Hon Damiete Herbert Miller (in front), queuing for his accreditation in Ward 17 Unit 1, Oguruama in Degema, during the rerun election on Saturday in

Rivers State Commissioner for Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Hon Damiete Herbert Miller (in front), queuing for his accreditation in Ward 17 Unit 1, Oguruama in Degema, during the rerun election on Saturday in

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State has announced the suspension of rerun elections in two more local government areas of the state, bringing the total number of local governments to eight.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, who made the announcement in his office at INEC headquarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the two additional local government areas are Etche and Asari-Toru.
The REC explained that the suspension of the rerun elections follows irregularities and hitches which greatly jeopardized the conduct of the elections in the affected local government areas.
Ikoiwak stressed that the two local governments would join six others where elections had been earlier suspended on Saturday, including Khana, Bonny, Andoni, Tai, Gokana and Eleme, because of observed violence, irregularities and hitches in the distribution of electoral materials.
According to him, the decision to suspend the rerun elections in the affected local government areas was principally anchored on the need to protect the lives of staff and also ensure the safety of electoral materials.
The state INEC chief, who did not disclose any new date for the conclusion of the rerun elections, said that adequate consultations would be made, including strategic review of the March 19 rerun process before a new date is fixed.
“INEC is currently auditing personnel and materials sent to the field. We will also meet with critical stakeholders before a new date will be announced for rerun in the affected local government areas,” he said.
He regretted the level of violence during the exercise, and commended the commission’s staff as well as ad-hoc for their diligence and resilience, while extolling the doggedness and resolve of the men of the military and security agencies for standing firm, and repelling, in many instances, the various attacks on INEC officials.
It would be recalled that INEC conducted rerun elections in 22 of the 32 state House of Assembly seats, 12 of the 13 House of Representatives seats, and all three Senatorial District seats in the state.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Police Command has confirmed that four persons died while 24 others were arrested during Saturday’s legislative rerun elections in the state.
The Assistant Inspector General of Police, Baba Adisa Bolanta, accompanied by other security chiefs in the state, disclosed this during a press briefing in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Bolanta said that four deaths were recorded with one in Buguma, two in Nonwa Tai, and one in Omuanwa.
On the arrested persons, Bolanta said that 24 suspects were already with the police, with 22 males and two females, adding that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation on allegations of electoral fraud.
He emphasised that the massive deployment of security personnel drastically helped in reducing the electoral malpractices during the elections, and appealed for the support and cooperation of the electorate to enable the force discharge its mandate to the people of the state.
Earlier, the Public Relations Officer of the state command, DSP Ahmad Muhammad, told newsmen in Port Harcourt, that the command received report about the death of one person in Eleme, Eleme Local Government.
Muhammad said 10 people were arrested in Eleme while two were picked up on their way to Akinima, Ahoada West Local Government Area.
“The suspects committed election-related offences. They are being interrogated while investigation has commenced on the offences committed,” he said.
He also said the police did not know what caused the death of a middle-aged man in Eleme and that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area received the report.
He said the command did necessary deployments to ensure credible elections in the state.

 

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Rivers Monarchs Begin Another Round Of COVID-19 Vaccination, Today

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Members of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers will, today, begin another round of COVID-19 vaccination exercise in the state as part of the state government’s policy of ensuring that all Rivers people and residents of the state get fully vaccinated from the pandemic.
A statement signed by the Secretary to the council, Dr. Ogwuokwa Jonah, and made available to The Tide, last Monday, invited all government recognised traditional rulers to turn up at the council’s secretariat in Port Harcourt, for the crucial exercise.
The statement reads in part, “I am directed to invite you to take part in the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccination exercise scheduled for Wednesday,January 19 through Friday, January 21, 2022, at the council’s secretariat.
“Vaccination begins at 10.00am each day. Please, note that there are other free medical examinations that have been arranged for you during the period.
“You are entitled to 15 persons either from your family or area/district council. Kindly attend during the turn of your LGA”, the statement added.
According to the statement, Abua/Odual, Akuku-Toru, Ahoada-East, Ahoada-West, Andoni, Asari-Toru, Bonny and Degemawould receive their vaccinations today.
To be vaccinated tomorrow are traditional rulers and members of their families from Eleme, Emohua, Etche, Gokana, Khana, Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor and Oyigbo local government areas.
However, monarchs and their families from Opobo/Nkoro, Ogu/Bolo, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Okrika, Omuma, Port Harcourt and Tailocal government areas are due to get their shots on Friday.
The statement appealed to all affected traditional rulers to take the exercise seriously, and come along with the required number of persons to enable government reach as many Rivers people as possible.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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PDP’ll Surely Produce Next President -Ayu

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The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu has urged Nigerians to keep faith with the party as it was poised to produce the next president of the country.
He maintained that the current inept rule of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government, which has pulled the country backwards economically, has to be changed.
Ayu gave the assurance at the gala night hosted by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for PDP governors at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt, last Sunday night.
The PDP national chairman emphasised that the APC leadership has been unable to harness the rich diversity of Nigerians into better fortunes that should strengthen the bond of brotherhood and promote peaceful coexistence.
“Unfortunately, a very poor leadership has presented Nigeria at home and abroad as an extremely divided country.
“We must change this narrative, and the only way to change this narrative and harness not just the culture, but the environment and the richness therein, is to back the Peoples Democratic Party which is determined to produce a new leadership for this country.”
Ayu also enthused that Nigeria would bounce back again with the PDP at the saddle because the project of rescuing the country and making it great was realisable.
The PDP national chairman stated that the expected leadership they would offer at the national level would change the negative characteristics associated with the APC that have been used to deepen the divide among Nigerians in the country.
“The PDP will definitely produce the next president and take the country back to the days when we were in power, when we cleared all foreign debts, when we were developing this country at reasonable speed.
“At a time, we became the richest country on the African continent. But today, we are the poverty capital of the world. All that will change”, he said.
In his welcome address, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said the gala night was a pride to the usual meeting of PDP governors, adding that it was rotational.
He stated that such meetings have always been used to discuss salient issues of economy, politics and others that bother on how to chart a virile Nigerian society.
“It has been ritual for PDP governors to gather and meet and discuss about the welfare of the party. And this has been rotating from one state to the other.”
On his part, the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal said the PDP governors and other party leaders were already working in synergy towards rebuilding the party.
He said the focus was to rescue Nigeria, which would also require all Nigerians of goodwill to join forces with the PDP to achieve that goal.
“All Nigerians of goodwill who believe in this country, who believe Nigeria is going the wrong direction, ought to join us.
“And like I always say, there are two divides in Nigeria today. Those who are happy with the confusion because they are benefiting from what is happening at the centre, and those of us who are truly patriotic enough to disagree with the way our country is being governed and being run.
“I appeal and beseech every Nigerian, even those in APC that are patriotic enough, to join hands with us as we continue to march towards rescuing Nigeria together.
“I believe it is our responsibility to do so, not for ourselves but for our younger ones and generations unborn.”
Governors present at the gala night were, Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Mohammed Bala (Bauchi); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Seyi Makinde (Oyo); and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
Also in attendance were the deputy governors of Rivers and Zamfara, Dr Ipalibo HarryBanigo; and Aliyu Gusau; PDP National Secretary, Senator Sam Anyanwu; and several other dignitaries.

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UPTH Begins Transplant Procedures In 2023 …Launches Five-Year Strategic Dev Plan

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The management of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) has said that the hospital would begin transplant procedures in 2023.
The UPTH said it was its desire and dreams to transform the hospital to a five-star hospital in the region.
The management said the infrastructure for the transplant procedures and Cardiac Unit would be completed soon.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD), UPTH, Prof. Henry Arinze Ugboma stated this during the official Hospital Strategic Development Plan Implementation Workshop and Roll Out held in the hospital Auditorium, in Choba, near Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Ugboma said the Amenity Ward project was also mapped out in its five year strategic plan, which began from June, 2021 to 2026.
He noted that the hospital was ready to begin the transplant procedures as arrangements had been concluded for its take off next year.
Ugboma said as part of the commencement of the project, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited had donated $500,000 to support the hospital.
“Transplant procedures are an important area we need to invest, as a hospital, such will be beneficial to the hospital and the society”.
The CMD said, as part of its capital projects in 2022, the hospital would change its aesthetics and make the hospital more beautiful.
“We shall change the aesthetics of the hospital to attract investors and beautify the environment”.
On the problems faced by the hospital, Ugboma said workers’ poor attitude to duty was a great challenge to the management.
“Work ethics, relationship to patients and visitors are not encouraging and must improve for a better hospital.
“If workers change, UPTH will grow faster.People come to work whenever they like and leave whenever they also like”, Ugboma said.
“You look for files, you will not see, most of our consultants are not always on duty call, there is no handover note amongst them”, he lamented.
He also said that part of the plan was to build residential quarters for staff of the hospital to enhance efficiency and productivity.
Earlier, the Board Chairman, UPTH, Muktar Anka, had appealed to the staff of the hospital to be diligent to duty and shun truancy.
Anka noted that a change in the attitude to work would enhance productivity and efficiency in the hospital.
The chairman insisted that idleness and truancy on duty promote bad attitudinal behaviours and tarnish the corporate image of the organisation.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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