The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has hinted that the state will host one of the best Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conferences come August this year.
He gave the hint while playing host to the African Bar Association (ABA) in Government House, yesterday in Port Harcourt.
Aside the NBA conference, the governor said the state is geared to host other national events such as the Peoples Democratic Party Convention billed for May, Federal High Court legal year, and Nigerian Magistrates’ Conference, among others.
He opined that hosting this string of national events is an indication that the state is peaceful as against the media propaganda by the opposition to paint the state in bad light.
Wike submitted that the stability and peace being enjoyed in the state judiciary has been consolidated with the emergence of substantive chief judge and president of Customary Court of Appeal.
Assuring the African Bar Association that the financial autonomy granted the judiciary will be sustained as that is the only way to promote impartial adjudication of cases the governor declared, “We will always support the promotion of the rule of law. This is because the existence of the rule of law promotes peace and development”.
Meanwhile, the African Bar Association has conferred on Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike the life membership of its council for reviving and stabilising the state judiciary.
The conferment of the life membership of the African Bar Association Council on the governor was conveyed via a letter presented to him by the President of the African Bar Association, Mr Hannibal Uwaifo during a courtesy call at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Uwaifo said that the African Bar Association considers the development actions of Governor Wike worthy of commendation as he has proved to be a good ambassador of the legal profession.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy will go a long way to check crime within the state if implemented.
He made the assertion during a courtesy visit by the new Controller of Port Harcourt branch of the CBN, Mr Kazeem Adekunle Alaka, yesterday in Government House, Port Harcourt.
He told the Port Harcourt CBN branch controller that, “we will help you sensitize the people on the importance of the cash less policy”.
Wike while lauding the CBN for also introducing the Bank Verification Number (BVN) said the recent staff audit exercise in the state has underscored the need for the bank to stick with good policies and programmes, as it saved the state huge sums of money.
The governor pledged that the state government will help the bank in promoting programmes that will uplift the condition of the citizenry.
Wike said his administration will also exploit the agric development programmes of the apex bank to diversity the state economy through commercial agriculture.
Thanking the bank for the recent loan scheme to small and medium scale businesses, Wike solicited for more of the apex bank loans to develop the state.
The governor noted that investments in agriculture already being consolidated by his administration will further develop the state’s economy and enhance food security.
He commended the CBN governor for being firm and consistent in the application of monetary policies, and stated that policy somersaults in the past negatively affected the economy.
In his remarks, the Port Harcourt Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr Kazeem Adekunle Alaka, announced that the CBN will assist farmers in the state to improve on the cultivation of oil palm produce and cassava allocated to the state.
He said the two areas of financial inclusion for farmers in the state are aimed at diversifying the state economy through agriculture.
Alaka, therefore, appealed to the state government to launch sensitization programmes to ensure that more farmers key into the programme.
Similarly, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has called on the Federal Government to implement policies and programmes that will fight poverty in the country.
He made the call while hosting students of the National Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Study Group Six on study tour of Rivers State, in Government House, Port Harcourt.
Leader of the team and Director of Studies in NIPSS, Prof. Celestine Bassey, had informed the governor that studies carried out by the institute reveal that 67 million Nigerians live in poverty, while 37 per cent of the population live in abject poverty.
Wike, however, noted that it was not enough to conduct studies around the country, saying the Federal Government needs to implement the findings and recommendations of the institute.
“I think government should take your recommendations because it will go a long way in the review and adjustment of policies and programmes,” Wike said.
He declared that the state government will support any policy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which will enhance the well-being of Rivers people.
“I will support any policy of the Federal Government that will enhance the living standard of people of Rivers State. It does not matter who initiated such policy, as long as it favours our people”, he explained.
Emphasizing that he will not use his office for unnecessary politicking, Wike, pointed out that good policies should transcend party affiliation.
He said the Rivers State Government will support the NIPPS study team in carrying out their research into poverty alleviation in the state.
Earlier, Leader of delegation, Prof Celestine Bassey, had said that the team was in the state to carry out an assessment of the impact of poverty alleviation programmes in the state.
The team later held an interactive session with top officials of the Rivers State Government.
N’Delta Leaders Insist On Resource Control, Self-Determination
Some leaders of the Niger Delta have demanded granting of self-determination to their region to take total control of its resources and end years of alleged exploitation, deprivation and slavery of their people in the Nigerian state.
The leaders, who lamented that the people of the Niger Delta had been talking and agitating for resource control and restructuring of the country through conferences but to no avail, said the time had come for them to take their destiny in their hands.
In a keynote address at a conference by the Niger Delta Alternative Convergence (NDAC) to endorse the eight-point demand in the “Niger Delta Manifesto for Socio-Ecological Justice” in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, former Chairman, Editorial Board of The Guardian, Prof. G. G. Darah, said: “From the challenges we are facing in the Niger Delta region, we seem to assume that the Federal Government is on our side whereas the Federal Government is the number one enemy of the Niger Delta.
“Today, people are anxious to be the president of Nigeria because there is the Niger Delta oil for them to squander. What this means is that the political system is all organised for taking control of the oil money, to share it among the friends of the president. All the parties are organised gangs to loot and plunder the Niger Delta resources.
“That is the country we are in. Therefore, we must assume that whatever government that comes to office in 2023 will not be different from the past ones since 1960. Nigeria has been designed to steal our resources and share. They gather monthly in Abuja to share the money. All our presidents, now and past, occupied office for the purpose of plundering our resources, otherwise our own son would have done something. Jonathan, when he was president, had no capacity to touch any bad section of the constitution against the Niger Delta”.
According to Darah, “Nigeria exists today because of Niger Delta oil and Nigeria is the only country in the world that has colonised its people.
“Now, we are pleading that the Federal Government should implement the manifesto. We have to do it by ourselves because if you look at history, it is not today that our people have been fighting against injustice. Jonathan called for a national conference and all the issues raised could not be implemented. So, what we are doing now is the authentication of the national conference for Nigerian people.
“The structure of Nigeria is against us and to build a new Nigeria will take time. We need a Niger Delta that will be in charge of its own resources and aim to be a country of its own, a sovereign country. Some ethnic groups in the Niger Delta are bigger than some European countries and our ancestors in their grave will not forgive us that we succumbed cheaply. We are well populated”.
Prof. Lucky Akaruese of the Ishekiri nationality aligned with the position of Darah, noting that many countries of the world like East Timo and Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, Denmark and Norway, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union that split into many countries are products of negotiations, so the Niger Delta and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
A prominent traditional ruler from Rivers State backed the demand for a sovereign state.
“I agree with Prof. Darah that we should clamour for Niger Delta Republic, and the manifesto we are signing today, we should speak with one voice. We have been talking and now it is only action that will bring result. There is nothing the Niger Delta has gotten without struggle.
“The manifesto will remain a document if we do not put it to action. The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) presented a 16-point agenda but only two were implemented. So, we need to take a deliberate action on some of the issues we raise here.”
The convener of NDAC and Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Comrade Nnimmo Bassey, said: “The convergence also aims to produce an inclusive Niger Delta Manifesto for Socio-Ecological Justice highlighting needed alternatives for transformation and social mobilisations for resource justice. It is hoped that NDAC will provoke a platform for convergence of communities in the region to galvanise action for needed changes for re-source access, including through demands for legislative changes, debates on the Petroleum Industry Bill and for critical attainment of re-source democracy – defined as the right of a people to live in harmony with nature and to retain a right to use, or not use, the gifts of nature.”
He stated that 64 years of oil extraction had brought untold misery and cut life abysmally low in the region.
“Things cannot continue this way. We have demands and resolves in the proposed Niger Delta Manifesto shared to delegates. Let’s all rise to be counted, demand that politicians declare their environmental plans before they gain our votes. Let us demand real climate action, including a halt to gas flaring and a restoration of our ecosystems. Let us demand action to stall the washing away of our communities. After 64 years of a nightmare, it is time to wake up, it is time to demand socio-ecological justice. We are not calling for charity, we are calling for justice”.
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, and the National Chairman of PANDEF, Senator Ibok Essien, clamoured for restructuring and total control of resources.
They pleaded with the people of the region to get their PVCs to vote people that will carry out restructuring of the country.
Nwuke Dismisses Wike’s Alleged Plan To Dump PDP
A former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbonna Nwuke, last Friday, dismissed the speculations that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, would soon dump the Peoples Democratic Party.
There have been insinuations that Wike might join either the Labour Party or the New Nigeria Political Party (NNPP) ahead of the 2023 general election.
This is coming after the governor met with the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi; and the presidential candidate of NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso, in Port Harcourt, last week.
While speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt,Nwuke said Wike has no plans to dump the PDP for any other party.
He further stated that the Rivers State governor would not defect considering the large followership he has built across the country.
Nwuke said, ”It just tells you who Governor Wike is. This is the first time he is playing national politics. But you can see that Wike has entered the minds of a lot of Nigerians. They are taking him seriously. Even the performance at the convention where the North rallied behind the scene to stop him, did not end in disgrace.
“So, if you look at the outcome of the convention, you will know that Governor Wike controls a sizable number of PDP members. A huge segment of the party is behind him. When you look at the gap between him and Atiku Abubakar and the gap between him and the rest, that should tell you something that the one we have been talking about has become notable when it comes to Nigeria’s politics.
“Frankly, he has followership in the North-Central; followership in the South-West; followership in the South-South and followership in the South-East. So, I am not surprised that a lot of people are coming to Port Harcourt, and saying, ‘Governor, why not come fully into the campaigns?’ They need him in the PDP house, and I am glad that Governor Wike has said ‘I am not going anywhere’.”
2023: Guber Candidate Faults INEC On APC, LP Placeholders
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) in Delta State, Engr Igbini Emmanuel, has said it is not out of place for presidential flagbearers to choose placeholders, especially as it conforms to the new Electoral Act that has been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that some presidential flagbearers picked vice Presidential candidates as placeholders, prompting reactions from cross sections of Nigerians.
Odefe said INEC erred by discrediting the candidates that picked placeholders in the build up to the general election in 2023.
He said, “As a political activist and a former three-time governorship candidate, I am compelled to react to the recent claim by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through its National Commissioner, Barr. Festus Okoye, that there exists no place in Nigerian Constitution and Legal Framework for what is now described as “placeholders” in Nigeria’s electoral process specifically as it concerns submission, change or substitution of names of candidates for general elections by registered political parties.
“This claim by INEC is a fundamental falsehood deliberately made by it to mislead Nigerian voters and to cast aspersion on some political parties like APC and Labour Party which publicly disclosed that the names they submitted to INEC as their Vice Presidential Candidates were meant only to beat the June 17, 2022 date set by INEC but which they may change or substitute within the window provided by the sections 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2021, as amended to do so.
“Contrary to INEC’s claim, I wish to state unequivocally that actions taken by APC and LP are constitutional and in line with sections 29, 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2021, as amended. The use of the word, “Placeholder” is merely misinterpreted by INEC. “Placeholder” simply means that it is not substantive but temporarily standing in for something or someone else. The word is used in solving Algebraic Expression and Equations in Mathematics.
“Let me also inform Nigerians that this idea of changing or substituting candidates for general elections have been in our electoral laws of 2006, 2010 and now 2021, as amended.
“Furthermore, it is imperative for me to inform Nigerians that changing or substituting candidates for elections is not limited to only Vice Presidential Candidates as we now seem to focus on. In fact, all names so far submitted by Political Parties to INEC as Presidential, Vice Presidential, Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Candidates are all “Placeholders” and can be changed or substituted before the 90 days to date of election, after which, no change or substitution is allowed except in case of death of a candidate.
“In conclusion, APC and LP have not acted against the Constitution and Electoral Act of Nigeria”.
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