Rivers people have continued to pour encomiums on the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike on his commitment to the rapid development of the rural areas of the state, with the flag-off of several road and other projects in the 23 local government areas of the state.
The latest commendation came from an elder statesman and top notcher of the Peoples Democratic Party in the State, Prince Emma Anyanwu who applauded the governor for the flag-off of the reconstruction of Odufor-Akpoku-Omnoye Road in Etche Local Government Area.
According to Prince Anyanwu, “the sea of people from all parts of Etche here today and their joyous mood tell you how happy they are over this project.
“What Governor Wike has done to the people of Etche has made the people indebted to him.”
He said before now, the road had been impassable because of its deplorable condition, and expressed regrets that a son of the community was a majority leader in the Rivers State House of Assembly for four years but never made effort to see that the road was rehabilitated.
Anyanwu said the road was strategic as it would link many communities in the local government area, adding that food products which could not be transported to other parts of the state will now be easily transported, if the road is completed.
Anyanwu described Wike as the Necodemus of today for the people of Etche, adding that to appreciate the governor’s effort; no single vote would go to any other party during the 2019 elections but to PDP.
The Commissioner for Agriculture in Rivers State, Hon Charles Nworgu said the event was historic in the sense that since the road was built by the colonial administration; no effort was made by past administrations to rehabilitate it.
“Over the years, people could not have access through the road; so also the agricultural produce from the communities which are predominantly farmers.
“Today, Governor Wike has flagged off this strategic road, and we are happy.
“We commend him for his efforts and assure him of strong support to his administration”, he said.
He assured that the project would be protected and that the contractor will enjoy the co-operation of the people to enable him complete the project on schedule.
The Onye Ishi Agwuru Igbo, Eze Samuel Amaechi also expressed excitement over the flag-off of the road project by the governor.
He said construction of the road will make it possible for people and agricultural produce being produced in the area to be transported to other parts of the state and the entire federation.
The royal father explained that the people of the communities directly linked to the road suffered so much because of the deplorable state of the road such that for anybody from Odufor, Akpoku or Umuoye to go to Port Harcourt, he had to pass through Umuaturu, Mba and Okehi before going to Port Harcourt, instead of following a short-cut to Egwi due to the state of the road.
Amaechi said they only way to thank the governor was for Etche people to sustain their strong support for Wike’s administration and to vote for him enmass during the 2019 elections.
A Commissioner in the Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Sir Ikechi Nwogu, also applauded the Rivers State governor for embarking on reconstruction of the road.
He said that not only people in the three communities but entire Etche found it difficult to pass through that axis of the local government area, adding that several appeals made to the past administration fell on deaf ears.
Nwogu said Wike has come to rescue the people of the area from hardship, stressing that the project will link Etche communities and make the transportation of agricultural produce to other parts of Rivers State possible.
In a similar reaction, the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on Civic and Value Orientation, Andy Nwanjoku said people from the area could not bring out their farm produce to other parts of Etche and Rivers State because of the nature of the road, thereby resulting in huge wastages.
“But today, the governor has changed the story and the entire Etche people are very happy for what the governor has done to them.
“Etche people have no option than to vote massively for Wike and PDP. We are ready and waiting to pay him back with our votes for remembering us”, he added.
In continuation of the state-wide roll out of projects, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last Saturday, flagged off the construction of Umueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Umuelechi-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state.
The road project is a 16.2 kilometers, linking seven communities in the local government area.
It also has capacity to provide 350 direct employment opportunities for the youth in the area and will be completed in nine months.
Wike, at the flag off ceremony, commended the people of Omuma for their mandate, describing their support as overwhelming.
The governor assured them that they will enjoy more key projects.
He said his administration had linked Omuma communities to the National Grid while the General Hospital, Eberi was nearing completion.
Wike said: “There is no way that Omuma Local Government Area will not continue to benefit from key projects. The lawmaker representing Omuma State Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu has performed creditably, and we can see his constituency projects”.
He berated the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government for its failure to provide succour to the people, stressing that in the state, the APC has nothing to show.
“The Federal Government has no tangible project in Rivers State after close to three years in government. These APC leaders from Rivers State have been unable to attract a single project.
“If you know that you cannot deliver projects to the people of Rivers State, you better keep quiet and allow us develop the state”.
The governor said that as a Minister of State for Education, he was able to attract 22 key projects to the state and grants for Ignatius Ajuru University of Education and Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic.
“Those who represented Omuma Local Government Area in the past: what is their legacy? For this administration, we shall develop the area”, the governor said.
In his remarks, member representing Omuma in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu thanked Wike for his commitment to the development of the area, and assured the governor that Omuma people will support his re-election come 2019.
A traditional ruler in Omuma, Eze Sylvanus Ogberi lauded the governor for the project, and said it would enhance the socio-economic life of the people.
He also applauded the governor on his emergence as Silverbird Man of the Year 2017 and The Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year 2017, and urged him to continue to do more for the people of the state.
Meanwhile, in continuation of the state-wide roll out of projects, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last Friday, flagged off the reconstruction of Oyigbo Market Road by Afam Junction in Oyigbo Local Government Area.
The governor also kick started the construction of road from TAP to Iriebe in Oyigbo Local Government Area.
Speaking during the flag off the two roads, Wike said that the time has come for the people of the area to witness the full transformational power of his administration.
He said: “Recently, while I appeared on a live radio programme, several people from Oyigbo called to inquire about roads in the area.
“This is Oyigbo’s time for critical road projects. Aside these two roads being flagged off today, the Camp Mbano to Iriebe Road is nearing completion”.
Wike charged the people of Oyigbo to always vote leaders who are committed to the development of their communities.
He said: “As far as we are concerned, whatever the people of Oyigbo are entitled to, we shall give it to them.
“I urge the contractors to cooperate with the communities for the early delivery of these projects. For the Oyigbo people, my advice is that you should not listen to those who failed you in the past”.
The governor charged INEC to ensure that the votes of the people count in 2019, as that is the only way Nigerians will benefit from democracy.
“INEC should make Nigeria the big brother by doing things that are right especially conducting free and fair elections. INEC should remove shame from Nigeria. Let your result sheet be the only result sheet. Not that the police will have a different result sheet for fraudulent purposes”, he said.
In his remarks, Commissioner for Works, Hon Dumnamene Deekor said the two roads were in very deplorable condition, adding that the reconstruction will energise the economy of Oyigbo.
Also speaking, Caretaker Committee Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area, Mr Ugochukwu Ejiri said the people were happy with the flag off of the reconstruction of Oyigbo Market Road by Afam Junction and thanked the governor for remembering Oyigbo people.
PDP Inaugurates 15 Convention Sub-Committees –
Wike Chairs Special Duties Committee
6,000 Delegates Expected To Attend
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention Committee, yesterday, in Abuja inaugurated 15 sub-committees for its national convention scheduled for October 30.
The sub-committees as read by the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri, include the National Convention Organizing Committee, chaired by Adamawa State Governor, Hon Ahmadu Fintiri.
Others are Constitutional Amendment Committee, chaired by Akwa lbom Governor, Udom Emmanuel; Zoning Committee chaired by Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Screening Committee, chaired by former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.
Sub-committees and their chairmen also inaugurated were Screening Appeal Committee chaired by Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Special Duties Committee chaired by Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Accreditation Committee chaired by Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; and Security Committee chaired by former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase.
The Electoral (Statutory) Committee, with Adamawa Governor, Hon Ahmadu Fintiri as the chairman; Publicity Committee chaired by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; and Venue Committee, chaired by Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed are also among them.
Others include: Welfare and Entertainment Committee with Mariya Waziri as chairperson; Transportation Committee, with Ibrahim Dankwambo as chairman; and Contact and Mobilization Committee with Taraba Governor, Darius Ishaku as chairman.
The rest are, Protocol Committee with Sen. Biodun Olujimi as chairperson; Medical Committee — Nuhu Zagbayi; and Secretariat Committee — Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri.
Inaugurating the sub-committees, Fintiri expressed belief that the October convention would be successful and lead PDP to victory in 2023.
Fintiri said that the leaders and members of the sub-committees were carefully selected to organize a credible convention for the party.
The Adamawa governor urged them to make the necessary sacrifices to deliver the best convention to the party.
Fintiri, fielding questions from newsmen after the inauguration, said that by PDP’s new constitution, over 6,000 delegates were expected at the convention.
“We are fully prepared for that. We are expecting everybody in every ward that is a delegate to attend the convention.”
He said that the sub-committees had been given directions and they were expected to go back, adequately prepare and submit their report to the main committee for approval.
On which part of the party’s Constitution would be amended, Fintiri said he could not pre-empt the Constitution Sub-Committee, but allow them do their job.
On how far the zoning committee had gone after the one-week appeal he gave them, last week, Fintiri said the committee was in a meeting in Enugu carrying out its responsibilities.
“You can see the party is working, and it is a turning point for all of us,” Fintiri said.
According to him, the leadership tussle in the party has largely been addressed even as he came short of saying the PDP has moved on from the crisis.
He said, “We are moving on. I am the chairman of the convention committee and you can see that we are doing our work. Everybody is happy and participating. I don’t see any crisis in this party.”
The party’s national elective convention is slated for October 30 and 31 this year in Abuja.
RSG Recommits To Building Agric Sector
The Rivers State Government has said that it was committed to building the agricultural sector and utilise the huge potentials the state has for the benefit of Rivers people.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this while speaking at a seminar of the Norwegian Seafood Council at Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said, “In the face of dwindling oil prices, and the need to diversify the economy, we see a lot of potentials in the seafood industry especially post Covid-19. This is an important industry for creating employment opportunities, generate revenue and boost economic activities in our area”.
Wike, who said that Rivers State was one of the coastal states in the Niger Delta endowed with valuable seafood resources, revealed that Norway and Nigeria have had a long history of relationship and trade.
According to the governor, “Rivers State, known as the oil and gas hub of Nigeria, is open to do business in all sectors including maritime and welcome more partnerships and investments from stakeholders who wish to do business in the state”.
Wike further said, “In the effort to grow our economy, the Government of Rivers State supports making laws that work for us all, by putting laws in place to improve society’s efficiency. Hence, the assent and signing of the VAT law”.
The Rivers State chief executive, who commended the Norwegian Seafood Council for conducting the seminar in the state, stressed that stock fish was enjoyed across Rivers State by all groups, including low and high earners, while both men and women are involved in the sales in our markets.
“I believe this seminar will examine the many advantages and gains of seafood as well as anticipated support from the Norwegian Embassy in the areas of encouraging deep sea fishing, trawlers, good storage for sea products, training to grow and nurture fish production standard, fish ponds and open fish farms, use of technology and encouragement, support to artisan farmers.
“We believe that the gains for removing stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not valid for the FX windows far outweigh the losses if any.
“For all the reasons stated above and many more, we anticipate Federal Government and the CBN’s removal of stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not valid for the Central Bank of Nigeria FX window”, Wike further stressed.
In his remarks, the Ambassador Royal Norwegian Embassy, Knut Lein, who described the history of stock fish in Nigeria and Norway as fascinating, said it creates a bond between both countries, and expressed the desire to foster increased cooperation, build on bilateral relations and inform the government of Norway about the opportunities in the country.
He said, “together we could create lots of jobs”, insisting that “doing what we can to promote stock fish trade was a win-win for all of us”.
Highlights of the occasion were the presentation of papers by the Director Africa, Norwegian Seafood Council, Mr. Trond Kostveit, and other stakeholders.
The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Knut Lein, had earlier paid a courtesy call on Governor Nyesom Wike, at the Government House in Port Harcourt, where the state chief executive expressed the state government’s desire to continue to partner with the Norwegian Embassy to facilitate economy growth and development of both countries, and the state in particular.
Encourage States To Harness Own Resources For Dev, Wike Tasks FG
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said Nigeria must encourage federating states to harness their resources and generate revenues, including Value Added Tax (VAT) to advance their development.
He also stressed that it was baffling to note that Rivers State was not included among states to benefit from any of the projects to be executed with the fresh loan that the Federal Government was seeking to obtain from the World Bank.
Wike made the observation when the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, led a delegation to present letter of nomination to him as the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award at Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The Rivers State governor observed that there were mounted attempts to frustrate federating states like Rivers, to actualise the constitutional provisions that empower them to harness their resources and revenues, particularly VAT.
The governor decried the situation where the legality of states collecting VAT was not considered on the merit of the law by some public commentators, including state executives, rather, they were politicising it and looking at it from prism of ethnicity and religion.
According to Wike, what the FIRS was doing was illegal, and could be likened to robbing some states to pay others.
“You don’t even need to be a lawyer to know that VAT is not in Items 58 and 59 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Everybody knows that. It is not even in the Concurrent List. Therefore, it falls under the Residual List. It is not arguable. That yesterday, nothing happened, does not mean that today, nothing will happen or tomorrow, something will not happen.
“Nigeria should encourage states to be strong enough to have resources to develop themselves. We are in a federal system where we are practicing unitary system. Everybody at the end of the month will run to Abuja to share money. Nobody comes back to the state to think, how do I develop my state.”
He explained that the contest against the collection of Valued Added Tax (VAT) was started by Lagos State, which had sued the Federal Government at the Supreme Court.
According to him, Rivers State only avoided their pitfall by suing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which is an agency of the Federal Government that was illegally collecting the tax in the state.
“The issue of VAT did not start from Rivers State. It started in Lagos State when Lagos State challenged it in Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court said you (Lagos) shouldn’t have sued the Federal Government. All you would have done was to sue the agency.”
The governor observed that rather than commend Rivers State Government for seeking to entrench fiscal federalism and constitutionalism, a particular state governor had threatened that the judgement of the court that declared that states, and not FIRS, are entitled to collect VAT within their jurisdiction, will not stand.
He urged those demanding for a brothers’ keeper consideration to first, appreciate the position of the law and situate it rightly.
“Some people say, ‘be your brother’s keeper’. I have no problem in being my brother’s keeper, but why not come out and say, let us tell ourselves the simple truth: as it is provided in the law, who is the person responsible to collect the VAT?
“When you agree to that, that it is the state, then, we can sit down to look at the different problems of states. And not to say ‘be your brother’s keeper’ while you’re doing an illegal thing, in disobeying what the law says you should not do.”
Wike stated that it was sheer act of discrimination for the Federal Government not to include Rivers State as one of the states that will benefit from projects for which it was seeking fresh foreign loans to execute.
“Look at the money that Federal Government has gone to borrow from the World Bank. Of all the projects, in all the states, Federal Government did not include Rivers State.
“Look at the list of projects that states will benefit from this money they’re borrowing from the World Bank that they have sent to National Assembly for approval, the only state that is not benefitting is Rivers State”.
He further noted, “It is the prerogative of Mr President; if he says he does not like Rivers State, if the ruling party says they don’t like Rivers State, I won’t kill myself. But leave the one that the law says I should be the one to collect so that I will be able to develop my own state.”
Speaking further, Wike explained that beyond the provision of infrastructure, his administration was seeking a law that would provide comfortable accommodation for judicial officers on retirement.
The reason, he said, was to ensure that, while in service, the judicial officers can concentrate on their jobs without cutting corners, and avoid corrupt practices.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, said the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award was the flagship of award the company.
According to him, Wike was unanimously selected for his remarkable contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and promotion of fiscal federalism with his position on VAT, which would help in the restructuring of Nigeria.
“Today, His Excellency has guided Nigeria to true federalism with the issue of VAT. Knowing what fiscal federalism should be, His Excellency went to court to challenge the collection of VAT, and the court stated that actually the states should collect VAT. And that is laying the foundation for true federalism and fiscal federalism”, he said.
Ukeh commended Wike for his sterling performance in office and infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State.
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