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INEC Cannot Conduct Credible Polls, Wike Insists

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared again that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot be trusted to conduct credible polls in 2019 because of the inconsistent actions of the commission.
Governor Wike stated that though Rivers people are peace-loving, they will resist any attempt to rig the 2019 elections in the state.
He spoke during a Special Appearance on Channels Television Sunrise Daily last Wednesday which was aired from the Government House, Port Harcourt.
He said: “INEC has different interpretations of judgements depending on where it is coming from. When the court nullified the Rivers APC primaries, a lawyer of one of the factions wrote to INEC not to recognise any candidate because of the judgement. INEC wrote to APC notifying them of outcome of that judgement. INEC merely said they were in receipt of the letter requesting that INEC should obey. In the case of PDP, INEC wrote to PDP in Ogun State, where Buruji dragged the party to court, telling them they will comply.
”When there is a judgement against PDP, there is immediate enforcement. When it concerns APC, INEC says they are studying the judgment. In the case of Ogun State PDP, INEC quickly obeyed the judgement”.
The governor said that INEC should work as an unbiased umpire, ensuring that the Electoral Act is respected at all times and due process followed in the conduct of elections.
Wike noted that INEC has been involved in several under-the-table actions in Rivers State since 2015. He said that during the rerun elections, INEC connived with the Police to deny the people of Rivers East Senatorial District their rightful mandate.
He stated that INEC and security agencies should commit themselves working towards credible polls. He noted that INEC and security agencies should sign a pact to respect the tenets of the Electoral Act.
”The Peace Accord is a ceremony. It is a mere public display. The Peace Accord cannot work because they are not sincere.
”INEC and Security should sign Peace Accord because they are ones who create circumstances for electoral violence. They try to manipulate the process against the will of the people”, he said.
The governor noted that security agencies have played negative roles in over-heating the polity in Rivers State.
”It is INEC and Security that don’t want us to have peaceful elections in Rivers State.
Why do they want to capitalize on the claim that politicians are the ones that compel them to act illegally.
”Rivers people are peaceful, the only time we have crisis is when we see the electoral umpire being biased and security agencies working against due process in elections. We will continue to resist”, he said.
He added: “Many people have come to me to have a deal with Federal Government, why will I do that. I will never do that.
”If not because of the way we resist, they would have overrun the state. It is coming to the point people where will say yes we love life, but what is life when we are not free to decide who leads us”.
Wike noted that the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act is a sign that the President is not committed to credible polls.
He said: “I was shocked that the President did not sign the Electoral Act. In my matter, the Supreme Court appreciated the Card Reader, but said it was not backed by law. They called for the Electoral Act to be amended for more credible polls.
”He said he wants to leave a legacy of free and fair elections, but he refused to sign the Electoral Act that will facilitate the process. If Mr. President had signed the Electoral Act , it would have made it difficult to manipulate. But he refused to sign the law”.
On the termination of sale of valued state assets, Governor Wike said that the State Government is only implementing the white paper of the Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry.
He noted that there is no politics of bitterness in Rivers State . He said the only problem is that somebody wants to create a dynasty .
He said: “INEC set up a committee and the committee indicted the SARS commander Akin Fakorede. What INEC should do is to act on the report.
”You have identified that officer who perpetrated the violence and we have another report by the police, signed by a deputy commissioner of police who indicted Akin Fakorede and asked that he be charged to court”.
The governor said that Rivers State APC does not exist in Rivers State, pointing out that Rivers APC relies on manipulation by the military and security agencies for relevance.
”We don’t have any problem with APC. We have a problem with security agencies. APC does not exist in Rivers State, they only exist because of the presence of security agencies who aid them.
”We are not talking about candidates of APC, but the compliance with the law.
APC has not complied with the provisions of the law, can they still participate in the election and a political party can challenge INEC on compliance with the provisions of the law.
“We are an interested party. We have complied with the law and if you don’t comply, you will not participate with us. We went to court merely for the interpretation of the relevant sections of the electoral Act, whether APC is entitled to nominate candidates without having valid lawful primaries. The issues have gone beyond the internal affairs of the APC, because they have not complied with the Electoral Act”.
He stated that Rivers State is wholly controlled by the PDP, pointing out that no other political party can win elections in the state.
”Rivers State is PDP. There is no way any party will win PDP in Rivers State. The only thing APC can do is for them to use of security to manipulate for them. There is no incentive for the people of Rivers State to support the APC.
”All of us know that APC does not want elections in Rivers State. They want to bring security to overrun the state like Ekiti. But we will resist them”, he said.
Governor Wike said that he has no untoward relationship with Senator Magnus Abe as being alleged by APC leaders.
He said: “I have never spoken with Magnus Abe on Phone. The last time I met with him, was when the President commissioned the airport.
”Am I the one who told the Minister of Transportation to deny his members access to forms to contest ward congresses? I have no business with Abe”.
The governor said that the President by his actions condone illegality by APC leaders in Rivers State.
He said: “I watched an APC rally, the president of the country stood on the platform with Ojukaye who has a bench warrant hanging over his head for multiple murder trial. But Ojukaye went there with police and military escorts, when there was a bench warrant on him.
”It is worrisome that today they are giving politicians platoons of soldiers to move around. Assuming without conceding, if things were done wrong in the past, should you continue with them”.

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Rivers’ll Ensure Safe, Secure Environment For Economic Growth -Wike .

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that his administration would continue to support security agencies in the state to ensure a safe and secure environment for the economic prosperity of citizens.
He said the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Operation Sting and the revitalised C4i security outfits were set up to help provide security to stimulate growth and prosperity of all in Rivers State.
The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, at the 2021 Conference/Annual General meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Rivers State chapter, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
“This administration has embarked on aggressive infrastructural development and a very deliberate urban renewal efforts around the capital to attract local and foreign investors to stimulate our economy.
“We have also opened up local governments through quality road networks. Upgrade of various social and recreational facilities in various local government areas,” he said.
He commended the state chapter of the NIPR for the choice of the theme of the conference: “Nigeria’s Security Situation: A Factor in Reputation and National Development”, adding that stakeholders must begin to act in a very different, drastic and positive strategy to remedy the already battered reputation of Nigeria.
He urged the NIPR to use its expertise and experience to thrive to galvanise and stimulate the populace and government at various levels for the resuscitation of citizens sense of pride and responsibility of whatever was left of the nation’s image and reputation.
“All hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers to call on government at all levels to begin to act in ways and manner that will help to revive the battered image of this country,” he added.
Welcoming guests and participants to the conference, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who is also the state chairman of NIPR, commended the cordial relationship existing between the institute and the state government under the leadership of Governor Wike who is a honorary fellow of the institute.
“Governor Wike has been very supportive of all the activities of the Institute. That is what you also get from a visionary leader who has changed the landscape of Rivers State with infrastructure, with various developmental projects that touch the lives of the ordinary man,” he said.
Nsirim said the state chapter of NIPR was proud to associate with Governor Wike for the giant strides he has recorded and would continue to record until the end of his tenure in 2023.
“As a chapter that is responsive to the development of Nigeria, we have chosen the theme for this year’s conference as our own way of contributing to the national discourse,” he said.
He said the conference would produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse and urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation.
“It is expected that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security and national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” he said.
In his speech, the President and Chairman of Governing Council of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, emphasised on the need for all Nigerians to collaborate to fight insecurity currently confronting the country’s economic and political stability.
He welcomed the theme of the conference, saying that it was coming at the time the institute had gotten sufficient worry about national security, peace and economic development.
In his keynote address, Dr. Ike Neliaku, chronicled the increasing violent crimes that had claimed thousands of lives in the various parts of Nigeria, and submitted that the rising insecurity situation in the country had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation.
He said the worrisome development would have concomitant consequence on individual and national development.
Chairman of the conference, Chief Felix Otuwarikpo, said the conference was put together to dissect the current carnage affecting the Nigerian nation.
“As an institute, we will leverage on the conference to proffer solutions to the security challenges affecting the nation,” he said.
The conference also featured the presentation of awards for good public relations and community development to some distinguished members and organisations.

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Church Of Nigeria Honours Wike, Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu, Others

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The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has bestowed awards for exemplary leadership qualities in a challenging economy and dedication in the service of God and humanity on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and Ogun State Governor, Adedapo Abiodun.
Also honoured is the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Emmanuel Abayomi, with an award for quality and equitable healthcare delivery.
The awardees were honoured at the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, at the Diocese of Lagos, Archbishop Adebola and Oluranti Ademowo Resource Centre, Faith Plaza, Bariga, Lagos State.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, who conferred the awards on the recipients, said the political leaders were considered for the award for their outstanding role, courageous leadership, and standing firm in defense of Nigerians against insecurity, provision of basic infrastructure to the citizenry and the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the congregation on the state of the nation and the role of the church, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, admonished the leadership of the church to encourage its members to be part of the governance process in the country.
The governor noted that a situation whereby Christians leave governance for politicians alone is no longer obtainable.
According to Wike, the effect of bad leadership will also affect the church if they remain passive to the issue of governance.
“You must be part of choosing leadership. Don’t say you have no role, you have a role. When you don’t participate, bad leaders will emerge and when bad leadership emerges, you are part of it.
“You must encourage your people to be part of leadership. I didn’t go to any school to study leadership.
“So, nobody should say that as a Christian you cannot be a governor, no. The head of SUBEB in my state is a priest and you can see the leadership he has given to that agency today. You will feel proud about it. That used to be the most corrupt agency, but today it is headed by a priest and you can see the difference.”
Wike decried the inherent injustice that has characterised the Nigerian State, and urged the church to speak against socio-political issues adversely affecting the progress of the country.
“We say we are all one Nigeria. We went to World Bank to borrow money to do specific projects. One of the states that make up Nigeria I hear is Rivers State. And I also know in paying this money back to World Bank, money that comes from the resources of my state will be used in paying back this money. But my state was denied to have projects from that loan.”
The Rivers State governor said a situation where states depend on the Federal Government to survive can no longer be tenable, and insisted that states must be allowed to collect revenues such as Value Added Tax (VAT) to enable them improve the welfare of their people.
“You have gone to take loan and I am one of those states that will pay back those loan and you deny me to benefit from the projects that that money will be used for. I have no problem with that.
“Allow me the one (VAT) the Constitution says I am entitled to, let me collect that one and develop my state.”
He regretted that some governors in Nigeria have refused to think out of the box on how to boost economic activities in their states.
“There is flood in my state, it requires N200millon, I will go to Abuja to beg. Even as a governor, I will knee down before a DG of an agency of government. You will knee down for a director just because of N300million. That is the status of some of the governors of some states.”
In his remarks, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the church for its support, and announced the waiver of N2billion for land acquired by the Church of Nigeria in Lagos State.
The governor stated that Nigeria and the rest of the world are going through difficult times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and used the occasion to canvass for mass vaccination of the citizens.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, while speaking on the theme of the conference: “Abiding in Christ: God’s Panacea in an Unstable World”, lamented that Nigeria was fast becoming a land flowing with tears and blood because of the impact of terror, banditry, herdsman attacks on communities and kidnapping.
He said a situation in which communities that are predominantly Christians are targeted one after another in some parts of Kaduna State and North-Central of Nigeria was unacceptable.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to brand the bandits and herders attackers as terrorists and let them be treated as such.”
The Primate urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity 2023 general election offer to exercise their right to choose new leaders.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the free fall in the value of the country’s currency because of the attendant impact on the store of value and confidence of investors.

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Rivers Begins Process To Check Flooding

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The Rivers State Government has said that it was working with relevant agencies to roll out the process that would check perennial flooding in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Nsirim, therefore, called on those living and doing business in the state to play their part in line with the programme that would be executed by government to address the problem of flooding.
He frowned at the situation where residents of Port Harcourt had turned the drainage systems into refuse bins, and warned that “that is not what it should be.
“The present administration under Governor Nyesom Wike is desirous to make Rivers State a destination of choice and that is why the government has embarked on massive infrastructural development in line with its urban renewal programme.
“So, what is expected of those living and doing business in Rivers State now, is to co-operate with government to ensure that the urban renewal programme and the plan by government to make this state a destination of choice is realised,” he said.
He noted that the state government could not do it alone as it required the support of corporate organisations, civil society groups, religious organisations and the media to enlighten their publics on the need to behave as responsible citizens.
He called on the media to embark on massive enlightenment programmes along the line of the roles of citizens in checking flooding in the state.
“We believe that if the citizens cooperate with government, as government is out to ensure that everyone living and doing business in the state does so in a healthy environment, we believe that in the next few days or weeks we will find a solution to this (flooding),” he said.
Nsirim also announced the names of entrants selected for the essay competition on the title, “Our State Our Responsibility” introduced under the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign of the ministry launched at the beginning of this month.
He said those shortlisted were expected to be at the conference room of the ministry by 11am on Monday, September 27, 2021, for a physical test to ascertain their original ownership.
Those shortlisted are: Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Amarachi Chimezie, Jasper Dorcas, Jaja Tamunoimiegba Christian, Sophia Oyibo, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam kelechukwu, Deborah Adegbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Okiche Miracle, Orovwigwo Deborah, Otuka Goodluck and Ziga Paago.

By: Beemene Taneh

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