Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike made history during the week as he commissioned 30 internal roads in two loal governement areas.
This is in continuation of the unprecedented roll out of projects across the state. Rivers State Government yesterday commissioned 10 Omoku Internal Roads in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) .
The Rivers State Government also rolled out Okposi Road, outside Omoku which measures 3kilometers, while the Omoku Internal Roads measure 10.6 kilometres .
The Rivers State Government, last Wednesday, rolled out 19 internal roads constructed by the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike in Elele-Alimini Town, Emohua Local Government Area.
The Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose jointly commissioned the 19 roads constructed by the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike for the revival of the economy of the area.
Speaking during the commissioning event, Wike said that the roads were constructed in line with his campaign promise to the people of Elele-Alimini.
He said that the remaining two kilometres of roads in the town would be constructed by his administration.
Wike said: “I thank the people of Elele-Alimini for their total support for my administration. When a community identifies with projects, it is easy to execute projects for them.
“As a result of the peace and unity in the area, we are going to give you a traditional stool as requested by the Elele-Alimini council of chiefs”.
The governor urged the people to protect their permanent voters’ cards, so that they could vote credible leaders.
“With these projects, we are telling the world that we are prepared for governance. We didn’t come up with excuses. We are a government that fulfills promises”, he said.
He charged the people of Emohua Local Government Area not to allow themselves to be deceived by the fake promises of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Commissioning the roads, Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose lauded Wike for his commitment to the development of the state.
He said that the roads commissioned would help in growing the economy of the area, and urged the people of Rivers State to remain supportive of the PDP as APC has failed woefully.
The Ekiti State governor berated the APC-led Federal Government for deploying huge funds to rig the Ekiti State Governorship Election, adding that irrespective of the deployment of funds, the APC would lose the election.
He added that Nigerians would sack President Muhammadu Buhari next year because of his failure in governance.
The state Works Commissioner, Hon Dumnamene Dekor said the 19 roads completed by the Wike administration in the area were of immense economic value to the people of Elele-Alimini.
Thousands of Emohua people trooped out to sing the praises of Wike at the commissioning event.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio commissioned the Omoku Internal Roads in a ceremony witnessed by hundreds of stakeholders, traditional rulers, market women and youth groups.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony yesterday, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said that the immediate past failed Amaechi administration awarded the contracts in 2009, but refused to fund them.
He said upon assumption of office, his administration mobilised the same contractor to site and funded all the 11 Roads to completion.
He said: “We don’t play politics with projects. Once the projects are vital to the development of an area, we execute them for the benefit of the people “.
He noted that projects execution in Omoku was made possible by the peaceful environment restored by his administration in the area.
“I promised the people of ONELGA that I will do everything possible to ensure that peace returns to the area. Today, banks are functional in the town and the economy has been revived”, he said.
He informed that the administration will complete and commission the Omoku-Egbema Road being dualised for the people. The governor added that the Omoku Zonal Hospital is progressing satisfactorily .
On the issue of employment, Governor Wike said that his administration is negotiating with Agip and Total to resolve the challenge. He stated members of the OSPAC Security outfit will co-opted into the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps.
Commissioning the eleven road projects, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio said that Governor Wike continues to execute meaningful projects because of his love for Rivers people.
He said as a result of the outstanding developmental strides of Governor Wike, Rivers people will overwhelmingly vote him in 2019.
He said: “Nobody changes a winning team. Therefore, Governor Wike will enjoy the constitutional second term. This government believes in transforming the landscape of Rivers State .
“I am very proud of Governor Wike and his team. Federal Government must hear that the projects of the Rivers State Governor have helped to protect the nation’s economy. Governor Wike is sustaining the economy of Nigeria through projects that have enhanced peace in the oil bearing communities “.
While warning the youths against criminality, he urged them to protect their votes for Governor Wike during the 2019 General Election.
Rivers State Works Commissioner, Rt Hon Dum Dekor said that the Omoku-Egbema (23. 4kilometres) Road, Omoku-Aligwe-Kreiyami-Obobura Road (17km) and Akubuka-Okposi Road (14.7kilometres) are under construction in ONELGA.
Caretaker Committee Chairman of ONELGA, Mr Olisa Osi lauded the Rivers State Governor for several meaningful projects that have improved the living condition of the people.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that his administration, over the last three years, has delivered an open, transparent and accountable government which has transformed the trajectory of governance from the failures of the past to one that cares and works for the people.
Wike said that his administration was delivering on her campaign promises and improving the living standards of Rivers people through quality projects and programmes.
Addressing Rivers stakeholders in Port Harcourt, last Tuesday, during the public presentation of the administration’s scorecard as part of his third-year anniversary, Wike said that his administration has judiciously applied scarce resources for the benefit of Rivers people.
He said through the achievements of his administration, the state has been lifted from the valleys of despair to the heights of hope.
Wike said: “It is clear that in the last three years our state has progressed at a rate it has never been. There is no doubt that the foundation that we need to accelerate our development, create jobs and advance our prosperity has firmly been laid.
“We give profound thanks to God for these achievements, but we also owe everything to you who are truly driving the change process with your unqualified support, encouragement and prayers.”
The governor said that improvements in different sectors have changed the fortune of the state and securely placed it on the pedestal of sustained growth.
He said: “Before we assumed office we made a lot of promises as the bases for seeking your mandate. We have also invested time, efforts and resources to fulfill these promises.
“Lest we forget, we all know the state of our state, especially the very poor state of our economy before we took over the mantle of leadership. However, despite the challenges, we remained undaunted, focused and determined to make the difference we had promised.”
Wike noted that his investments in road infrastructure has yielded positive results and improved the economy of the state through programmed connectivity.
He said: “As at today, we have delivered tremendously on all the components of the SRDP. For instance, in the last three years, we have consistently invested about 70 per cent of capital expenditure on the provision of road infrastructure.
“This has resulted in: Clearing most of the state roads of pot-holes under our “Operation Zero Pot-hole” programme; completed 23 out of the 26 strategic road projects we inherited from the previous administration; completed 72 out of the 83 new strategic road projects we initiated, while the remainders are at various stages of completion; built over 10 bridges to within and outside the state capital, connecting towns and communities.
We have “Renewed and improved the roads in several urban neighbourhoods in the state capital and revived the social and economic life of residents of these areas”, Wike said.
He said in the last three years, advancing education in the state was another promise that the administration has kept with budgetary allocation increased from five per cent in 2014 to over 10 per cent in 2018.
In the justice sector, Wike noted that his administration opened the courts, defended the judiciary and developed Rivers State into a regional judicial hub.
He said: “As a matter of fact, we did not promise to intervene in federal courts in the state, but we have built and furnished the most modern court houses in the country for the Port Harcourt Divisions of the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court.
“We have also reconstructed and modernized the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal complex. We also built an ultra-modern secretariat for the Port Harcourt branch of the Nigerian Bar Association,” Wike added.
The governor stated that his administration has transformed the health sector through the reconstruction of 13 general hospitals, completion of four abandoned zonal hospitals and the construction of Mother and Child Hospital in Port Harcourt.
He added that the administration was successfully upgrading the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH) into a teaching hospital for the Rivers State University, while equipment worth $8million have been procured for the hospital.
The governor said that the administration has directly touched the lives of the people through empowerment programmes for traders, young entrepreneurs, women and civil servants.
Similarly, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that Ogoni clean-up has become a political tool of the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government, rather than a strategic environmental project to improve the lives of the people.
Speaking during a special appearance on Silverbird Television programme, News Hub, Wike said that Ogoni clean-up was only mentioned whenever election approaches.
The governor said: “The issue of Ogoni clean-up comes up during every election. It is a political strategy to curry political favour.
“If they are serious, they should use funds from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), the way they have done for insurgency. The environmental crisis in Ogoniland is a major challenge”.
He criticised the recent bill sent to the National Assembly by the APC-led Federal Government, noting that it would further divide the country and enslave the people.
Wike noted that such a bill was not necessary at this time when the country was suffering from challenges centred on sectional governance.
The governor said that in Rivers State, people would always vote for the PDP because he has developed quality projects and programmes for them.
“In all local government areas, we have projects that have touched the lives of the people. Therefore, our projects will campaign for us.
“On the other hand, the APC Federal Government has no projects in Rivers State. There is nothing on ground for them to sell themselves to the people.
“Good governance endears you to the people. We have provided basic amenities, and the people are happy with us. I am not an Abuja governor. I am a governor of the people. I stay with my people, and I know what my people want”, the governor said.
Wike said that the over 300 major projects executed by his administration have created thousands of jobs for the people.
He noted that there was a digital revolution taking place in the state with the revival of the Information and Communication Technology Centre where thousands of youth would be empowered through training and digital skills.
Wike explained that credible local government elections would be conducted in the state by June 16, 2018.
Ahead of the local government elections, he said that Rivers State PDP has made it a matter of policy to empower women with leadership positions as all 23 vice chairmanship candidates were women.
On the soot challenge, Wike noted that Rivers State Government would continue to take relevant steps to end the menace.
On the forthcoming presidential polls, Wike said that he was yet to decide on who to support, stressing that once he makes up his mind, it won’t be a secret.
He explained that he was involved in pragmatic governance which abhors white elephant projects, adding that all projects started in his first term would be completed before he starts a second term.
Wike added that the state government was developing a sage.
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.
Buhari Seeks NASS’ Amendment Of PIA …Wants NNPC, EFCC Boards’ Confirmation
President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate, seeking an amendment to the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act, PIA.
President Muhammadu Buhari also sought the House of Representatives’ amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act, including removal of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning from the boards of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
In the letter, Buhari wants an amendment to the new Act to allow for the removal of the Ministers of Petroleum and Finance from the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), saying that they can continue to perform their functions without necessarily being members of the board.
In the letter read, yesterday, during plenary by the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, Buhari is also seeking for the amendment to allow the Non-Executive Members to be increased from two to six in the national interest.
The President, in three other letters to the Senate, asked for the confirmation of nominees into the boards of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The three confirmation letters from the President were read in yesterday’s plenary by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan.
In a letter dated September 16, 2021, Buhari stated that the request to confirm the chairman, chief executive and executive directors for the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority was being made in accordance with the provision of Section 34(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The nominees for confirmation into the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Board are: Idaere Gogo Ogan (chairman); Engr. Sarki Auwalu (chief executive); Abiodun A. Adeniji (executive director, Finance and Accounts); and Ogbugo Ukoha (executive director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure).
In another letter also dated September 16, 2021, the President while relying on the provision of Section 11(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, requested the Senate to confirm the appointment of four nominees as chairman, chief executive and executive commissioners to the Board of the Upstream Regulatory Commission.
The nominees are: Isa Ibrahim Modibo (chairman); Engr. Gbenga Komolafe (chief executive); Hassan Gambo (executive commissioner, Finance and Accounts); and Ms Rose Ndong (executive commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management).
According to the President, requests for the confirmation of the board’s membership were made “in order to fast track the process for the establishment of the commission”.
In the third letter dated September 17, 2021, Buhari requested the upper legislative chamber to confirm the appointment of the secretary and board members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He explained that the request for the confirmation of the nominees was in accordance with the provision of Section 2(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
Those to be confirmed include George Abbah Ekpungu, secretary (Cross River); Luqman Muhammed (Edo); Anumba Adaeze (Enugu); Alhaji Kola Raheem Adesina (Kwara); and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).
At the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, read the cover letter attached to an executive bill presented to the House by Buhari at the opening of plenary, yesterday.
The proposals also include the appointment of non-executive board members; removal of the ministries from the boards of the two institutions; and appointment of executive directors to the boards.
The President’s requests to the House of Representatives are a rehearsal of the same demands he made to the Senate.
It would be recalled that the joint National Assembly committees that worked on the PIB had proposed five per cent equity share for the development of the host communities but the Senate-led the campaign for its reduction to three per cent while the House of Representatives approved the panel’s recommendation.
The conference committee set up by the presiding officers of both chambers in their recommendation, fixed the equity share at three per cent and was invariably approved by the National Assembly.
The development generated into controversy with senators from the South-South geopolitical zone kicking against it and asked Buhari to resolve the impasse by seeking amendment to increase the equity share to five per cent.
However, the new amendments proposed by the President did not address the concerns of the South-South stakeholders.
Rather, Buhari’s fresh request centred basically on the need to review the administrative structure of the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
Buhari is seeking the senators’ approval to increase the numbers of the non-executive board members of each of the regulatory agencies from two to six, in order to capture the six geopolitical zones.
He said, “The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions.
“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country.
“Therefore, I pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.
“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as oil industry.
“If this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country”.
The President also removed the Ministers of Finance and Petroleum Resources from the board of the two agencies.
He said the two ministers already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations.
He said, “They can continue to perform such roles without being in the board.
“It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be directors – being the same rank with the directors in the institution
“This may bring some complications in some decision making, especially on issues of staff related matters.”
Buhari added that the appointments of the executive directors who would be in charge of the seven departments in the NMDPRA should not be subjected to Senate confirmation since they are civil servants who were promoted in the course of their career.
He said, “The Act has made provision for seven departmental heads in the Authority to be known as executive directors.
“Their appointment (according to the PIA) will also be subjected to Senate confirmation. These category of officers are civil servants and not political appointees.
“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.
“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory institutions through uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the authority.
“In the future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the authority.
Buhari said the proposed amendment would also increase the membership of the board from nine to 13 members that is representing 44 per cent expansion of the board site.
He said, “This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve the expected policy contributions”.
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
Emohua, Three Kalabari LGAs Partner On Joint Security
The Chairman of Emohua Local Government Area, Dr Chidi Lloyd, has met with his counterparts from the three Kalabari-speaking local government areas; Degema, Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru, to review the security situation along the Emohua-Kalabari Road, and plan strategies for a joint network to checkmate any infractions in the security of the LGs.
The meeting, which was held at the instance of Lloyd at the headquarters of Emohua Local Government Area, followed the recent abduction of an expatriate attached to Lubrik Construction Company; the contractor handling the construction of Trans-Kalabari Road by yet to be identified gunmen.
The chairmen of Akuku-Toru, Degema, and Asari-Toru LGAs, Hon Roland Sekibo, Hon Michael John Williams, and Hon Onengiyeofori George; respectively, in their separate remarks, commended Lloyd for initiating the process for a partnership to improve the security of lives and property along the Emohua-Kalabari Road, which presently calls for concern.
Speaking after a closed-door meeting which lasted for hours, Lloyd said the meeting condemned the abduction of the expatriate staff, who was supervising the construction work being executed by the Rivers State Government on Trans-Kalabari Road.
The council chairmen also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate by his abductors, as well as the apprehension of the masterminds of the reprehensible act by security agencies.
The meeting further agreed to set up a local security outfit with members drawn from the four local government areas to support the security agencies in providing effective security along the Emohua-Kalabari Road.
Lloyd said the meeting was also expected to be hosted concurrently amongst the four local government areas, with a view to strengthening the relationship between the LGAs as well as the promotion of the socio-economic development of the area.
The chairmen also appointed Hon Lolo Ibiene to serve as their rapporteur.
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