A plenary session and the visit of the new Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Rivers State, Imoh Etuk, were among events that dominated activities in the Rivers State House of Assembly (RVHA) last week.
Nonetheless, the Assembly Complex in Port Harcourt was besieged by protesting public primary school teachers.
All those took place last Thursday amidst jubilation at the Assembly Complex following Tribunal victories in favour of some lawmakers involved in the December 10, 2016 re-run election in the state.
First, the Assembly, in plenary last Thursday, screened and confirmed the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) as commissioner designate in the state.
The House, also in the same plenary, screened and confirmed chairmen and members of Caretaker Committees (CTCs) for Abua/Odual and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas of the state.
The CTC Chairmen designates for the two LGAs include Mr Oladipo Ogu and Mr Charles Chima Orlu for Abua/Odual and Port Harcourt LGAs, respectively.
Unlike the CTC Chairmen and members who were thoroughly grilled by the House, the Commissioner Designate, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) was only asked to take a bow and go .
However, the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, appealed to the commissioner designate to look into the situation where tyres are used in burning meat by butchers in the state.
Ibani urged the commissioner designate to speedily implement aspects of the law regarding tyre burning in the state, if sworn-in as Commissioner for Justice in the state.
The Assembly same day, quized the Managing Director of Halliburton Energy Services, Mr Henry Okey and the Human Resources Manager of the company, Mrs Ijeoma Suzzy over alleged systematic discrimination of Rivers indigenes in the company.
The managing director and the human resources manager were summoned to appear before the House to defend the petition from some staff of the company for alleged unlawful dismissal and retirement of some indigenes of the state without any compensation.
However, the Assembly Speaker announced the resolution of the House requesting the company’s management to re-appear before the House with some vital documents like nominal roll, list of retired and retrenched staff, list of top management staff and document showing the redundancy policy of the company in the state. Though, the MD of the company, Mr Okey and the Human Resources Manager, Mrs Suzzy, denied all the allegations, promising that Rivers indigenes in the company would not be discriminated against in the state.
Immediately after the plenary, the speaker, in company of two lawmakers, hosted the FRSC delegation led by Etuk in his office.
Interacting with them, Ibani charged them to be proactive in discharging their statutory duties to reduce road accidents in the state.
The speaker lauded the Governor of the state, Chief Nyesom Wike for embarking on massive road construction and rehabilitation that has helped to reduce the work load of the FRSC in the state.
He stressed the need for the corps to intensify efforts to drastically reduce road accidents in Rivers State.
The FRSC sector commander in the state had earlier said the visit to the House was to seek the support of the legislative arm for awareness and legislative backing on the behaviours of some road users in the state.
Same last Thursday, public primary school teachers blocked the entrance to the state House of Assembly Complex over a purported move to transfer pay rolls of primary school teachers back to the local government authorities in the state.
Govs To Hold Virtual Meeting On Judicial, Legislative Autonomy
The Governors of the 36 states of the federation will hold a virtual meeting today to further discuss the issue of financial autonomy to judicial and legislative arms in states.
This is contained in a statement by NGF Head of Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo on Monday in Abuja.
Bello-Barkindo said efforts were already being made in all states to either constitute State Accounts Allocation Committees (SAAC) or inaugurate them.
This, according to him, is preparatory to the granting of full autonomy to the two arms of government at the subnational level.
The Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) had since embarked on a nationwide strike on the issue.
He said the governors had been working day and night to establish modalities for the autonomy in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
He said that the governors would also be updated on the activities of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who headed the governors’ interface with the committee.
Bello-Barkindo said that the meeting would also review the agenda of the National Executive Council (NEC), which would take place a day after.
“Other items on the agenda include the regular update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability for results (SFTAS) to provide states’ status on their DLI’s and upcoming deadlines.
The meeting would also receive presentation from the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, regarding unlocking liquidity through sale/optimisation of state-owned redundant/sub-optimal assets,” he said.
He added that the Policy Development Facility (PDF) bridge programme would also discuss diversification and non-oil export opportunities for states in post Covid-19 era.
2023: PDP Flexes Muscle Over C’ River
Leading members of the main opposition PDP converged in Calabar, Cross River at the weekend to strategise on how to retain its grip on power in the state.
This is contained in a statement e-mailed to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
The Tide source reports that the PDP has been in power in Cross River since the return of democracy in the country 22 years ago but the defection of the current governor appears to mark a turning point.
Political pundits argue that the defection of the state Governor Ben Ayade from the PDP to the ruling APC may affect the fortunes of the PDP in the years ahead.
The governor’s departure is now seen as a major test for the PDP in what is now seen as a game of wits between the PDP and the APC.
Addressing the party’s chieftains, the National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, declared that Cross River would “remain the stronghold of the PDP, in spite of Gov. Ayade’s defection.
“PDP will work to retain the confidence the people of Cross River State reposed in our party and retain its dominance in the state.
“Our party has governed since the return of party politics in 1999.
“Cross River will remain the stronghold of our party well after 2023,’’ said Secondus, flanked by other chieftains of the party, including Sen. Bukola Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
Secondus told PDP members in the state to remain resolute to make the party retain power in the upcoming general elections.
Also speaking, a former governor of the state, Sen. Liyel Imoke, gave assurance that no other party would take the state from the PDP, “being the dominant party in the state.
“PDP is the only party known to our people. I assure the leadership of our party that we will deliver victory in 2023,’’ he stated.
Imoke governed the state from 2007 to 2015 when he handed over to Ayade now of the APC.
Other PDP chieftains, who were present at the event included former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra, former Gov. Donald Duke of Cross River and the Chairman of the party’s Caretaker Committee, Mr Efiok Cobham.
Also present were Hon. Daniel Asuquo, Hon. Etta Mbora and Hon. Essien Ayi, all serving members of the House of Representatives among other party’s chieftains.
…Vows To Take Over Anambra
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, says the party remains focused to take over the state in the upcoming governorship poll.
Nwobu said this in an interview with newsmen in Awka yesterday, adding that he would not be distracted by those trying to destabilise the party in the state.
He lauded the National Executive Committee of the party for organising successful ward congresses in the state.
He described the success of the exercise as a sure step to the party’s free, fair and credible primary election.
“We want to conduct our primary election, where party people will freely vote and produce a candidate that will be acceptable to Anambra people at the November 6 poll.
“This is not time for distractions. We are focused on taking over government from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
“The party has shortchanged millions of Anambra people in terms of governance.
Nwobu said he remained the valid chairman of PDP in Anambra, having emerged from a valid process that was upheld by a Federal High Court in its May 24, 2018 judgment.
He said the judgment had not been reversed by any higher court and was “unfazed by any court judgment”, which purportedly removed him.
“My leadership is still subsisting, no superior court has set that judgment aside and a court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot do that.
“Our team of legal experts is taking care of that. The decision to appeal will be advised,” the PDP chairman said.
The Tide source reports that Chief Chukwudi Umeaba at the weekend announced that he had taken over the party in the state as the Acting Chairman of the Caretaker Committee.
Umeaba, who announced the suspension of the ward congresses, said his action was predicated on the judgment of an Abuja Federal High Court.
According to him, the judgment delivered on June 9, nullified the process that produced Nwobu’s leadership.
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