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Much Ado About Rivers Governorship Poll

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Never has the question of who should be the Governor of Rivers State been so contentious, contemptuous, and acrimonious in the history of the State, as it has been before, during, and after the 2019 Governorship and House of Assembly elections of March 9, 2019. The nearest to it was in 2015 when the state was drafted into becoming opposition for the first time.
Since then, it has become worse in the context of redefining the essence of politics in the State, which currently wears a toga of vendetta hinged on a surreptitious inclination to have a no-holds-barred control of whatever goes on in and about the State.
Before now, but for the usual relatively minor disagreements warranted by alignments to different political parties, Rivers State has been an epitome in the political sphere of Nigeria: it was common for leaders of several other States in the country to consult or seek the advice or help of key actors in order to better build their States. In other words, the State was noted for always holding the most peaceful elections. Currently, however, the reverse is the case.
Even when there had been disagreements then, they were soon resolved as mere misunderstandings. In virtually no time, such misunderstandings were settled and the State becames the wiser in terms of key participants letting bygones be bygones and working together for the good of the state. At worst, if the disagreement continued, from the point at which there was clear indication of the one being favoured, the other soon gave up and planned for the next election.
The question is thus, why is the 2019 Governorship election different from all the rest? Why can’t the one honourably accept defeat and begin to plan for 2023, or beyond, as the case may be? Why must the 2019 election be a do-or-die affair?
In answering the stated questions, what becomes more worrisome is the acrimonious manner in which the leadership of the All Progressives Party (APC), as represented by the Honourable Minister of Transportation, and former Governor of the State, Chibuike Amaechi, has been going about it.
The former Rivers State Governor, who had before then been the Speaker of the State House of Assembly for eight years, seemed to have set the tone of what is panning out now on February 12, 2019, when the APC held its Presidential rally at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, in Igwuruta-Ali, Port Harcourt.
According to him, ”Whatever PDP wants in Rivers State, we are equal to the task. In 2015, the army tried to arrest me as a sitting governor. Now, we have a Governor, who is trying to negotiate with us, asking us to give him Governor and in return, he will support us for President. He is afraid, isn’t it? We will battle him till the last.
“On Saturday, we are ready for them. They used Federal and State institutions against us. They used to kill our people every day. Because they want to deny us the right to choose our leaders, they ran to a state High Court judge to give them judgment. Saturday is our day.”
Retrospectively, in 2015, Amaechi, as Governor of Rivers State, was the Director General of the Muhammadu Buhari campaign organisation. He did everything possible to conquer the entire nation for the APC. At the end of the day, Buhari emerged President. Unfortunately, he could not conquer his home state for APC, as incumbent Governor, Wike, defeated the APC candidate, Dr Dakuku Peterside.
The APC, especially Amaechi, never ceased to lay the blame of its loss in Rivers State on Wike, and then President, Goodluck Jonathan. And, from what has transpired so far, it would require more than mere say to convince keen observers that this grudge is not what is playing out presently in the stalemated Rivers Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Just as genuinely concerned citizens of the State, the country, and the world at large tried to truly appreciate the scenario in the State’s political space, another bubble got busted last Monday by certain declarations made by the Deputy Governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) party in the State, Akpo Bomba Yeeh.
In a letter stating his resignation from the AAC, and defection to PDP addressed to his principal, and Governorship candidate of the AAC, Biokpomabo Awara, Yeeh said his decision to dump the party was due to ”complete hijack of the structure and administration of our party by a faction of the APC in Rivers State led by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, for his personal political ambition”.
The letter further read in part: “Furthermore, the RotimiAmaechi-led faction of the APC is not letting in its determination to subvert the will of Rivers people and cause crisis in the state, using the platform of our promising party.
“In the circumstance, I cannot in all conscience continue to lend support to the selfish political venture of the Minister of Transportation, which does not mean well for the progress and development of the people of Rivers State.
“As a budding and promising politician, I also appeal to you to accept the reality of your crushing defeat and liberate yourself from being used by Rotimi Amaechi to cause unnecessary political crisis in our dear State”.
Addressing journalists at his home in Port Harcourt the same day, Yeeh said, ”The March 9 Governorship election in Rivers State has been lost and won; lost by my party, African Action Congress (AAC) and its candidate, Biokpomabo Awara, and undoubtedly and overwhelmingly won by the Governor of Rivers State, the candidate of PDP, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
 ”… The collated results further showed that contrary to the false claim of fictitious lead by the AAC/APC alliance, the PDP overwhelmingly won all the elections in 18 out of the 19 LGAs, culminating in the declaration and return of the party’s 26 House of Assembly Constituencies by the Constituencies’ Returning Officers.
“This fact was confirmed on March 13, 2019, when INEC stated, as a matter of fact, that it had in its safe custody collated results for 17 Local Government Areas as well as the declaration of the PDP candidates for 21 state constituencies.”
He went further to narrate how the Amaechi-led faction of the APC had two days to the March 9 elections sought an alliance with the AAC with a promise to provide whatever it would take to remove Wike from office as Governor, and make Awara the Governor of the State.
The catch was for an agreement that Amaechi will make 90 per cent appointments in the proposed government under Awara as Governor amongst others. He also alleged that he was made to sign an undated resignation letter as Deputy Governor, which he did, for fear of his life, having seen Amaechi’s desperation to execute his plan.
But for the fact that politics in Nigeria seems to have become ridiculously synonymous with stark lies, these are too serious declarations that should not be wished away as mere spurious, coming from a key actor in the fold of a Deputy Governorship aspirant. If for nothing else, they greatly affirm Amaechi’s threat on the 12th of February 2019 to cause mayhem during the 2019 elections in Rivers State.
It would be recalled that the Amaechi-led APC officially adopted Awara, a relatively unknown Governorship candidate of the AAC, two days to the elections as its candidate of choice, and directed its supporters to back the AAC candidate. This was after the legal battle that put paid to the APC’s participation in the 2019 elections in Rivers State.
In addition, the APC and its supporters mounted a campaign: “Operation Kick Wike Out”, with a declaration that if the APC candidate would not get it, Wike must not be allowed to remain as Governor. As it has played out, while the APC wanted to oust Wike and appropriate the state for itself to redeem its image, the PDP was also set to resist at all costs.
From what has played out, and given the experience of the preceding Presidential election, result for which was hurriedly announced, pundits and close watchers of the political situation seem to be unanimous in the belief that if, in reality, the APC-supported AAC had been in lead in the result available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), collation and announcement of the results would not have been put on hold on the 10th of March, a day after the election.
As glaring as the reasons for the state of affairs in the 2019 elections in Rivers State may be, the compelling question right now is why the Amaechi-led faction of the APC would rather let the good people of Rivers State perish in unwarranted turmoil than accept the fact that the reason for their failure this time around is their wrong permutations from the onset? What wrong have Rivers people done for according him the power he now wields against them, in addition to their sufferings since 2015?

Soibi Max-Alalibo

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City Crime

Sustaining Existing Peace In ONELGA

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Security is one area that leaders of all tiers of government must address their minds to. This is because government originated from the desire of the bourgeoisie to secure their property from the commoners.
Consequently, one of the fundamental responsibilities of government is to ensure the security of lives and property of the citizenry.
Most importantly, the present situation in the country calls for concerted efforts by all and sundry to ensure that law-abiding citizens of the federation were safe.
Interestingly, less than 24 hours from now, chief security officers of the 23 local government councils executive in the Rivers State will be sworn in by the executive governor of the state, Chief Nyesom Wike.
It is expected that the council chairmen will complement the robust security architecture already fixed by the governor. The proactiveness of the state chief executive has paid handsomely as the level of security in the state has been beefed up. This is exemplified by the short fall in security challenges.
Many people who spoke with The Tide on their expectations from the council chairman across the state harped on the need to battle insecurity.
Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday, a business operator and resident of Omoku, Mrs Patience Ndidi (Nee Obuah), who spoke on behalf of the business community urged the incoming chairman to sustain the existing peace in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the State.
She described the chairman-elect, Hon. Vincent Job as a trusted leader as well as epitome of what a leader should be.
Mrs Ndidi expressed hope that the incoming chairman would sustain the existing peace in the area. According to her, “the peace we are enjoying today must be sustained even as we pray for him”.
Also speaking, an elder statesman in the area, Chief Ono Eze Obi, said, “my expectation is for the chairman elect to accord the security of lives and property a priority because our people must stay alive to enjoy the dividends of democracy.”
He noted that insecurity had relegated the local government to the background which they did not want to recur.
“We expect the incoming chairman to tackle security holistically by partnering with relevant stakeholders, security operatives, especially the local government vigilante called ONELGA Security Planning and Advisory Committee (OSPAC),” he stated
“Hon Vincent Job understands administration especially at this level. He is assuming this exalted office at this critical time in our history, when insecurity has been a great source of worry to all and sundry.”
Hon Azubuike Awuya, a youth leader in Obrikom stated.
“He should act like a desired messiah in this regard. I can assure you our people will be pleased with his administration; Hon. Awuya noted.
Another person, who spoke with The Tide, the female youth leader, Hon. Sarah Woko, said the blueprint conveyed by Hon Vincent Job during his electoral campaign received wide acceptance.
She averred that the blueprint had given them the assurance of peace and tranquility in the area.
She said, “the security architecture must be adequately strengthened to further boost both economic and social activities of our people.
Also speaking, a farmer residing in ONELGA, Mr Ossai Tony, noted ,” I join other farmers to plead with the incoming chairman to ensure farmers could conveniently go to their farms without security threats. We give kudos to ONELGA OSPAC. They are the reason farmers can carry out their legitimate business, so we expect him to sustain it.
A trader, Mr Okechukwu Nwokocha who spoke with The Tide noted,” I must thank you for this opportunity. A lot of expectations but the one that concerns us is that of security. Since the arrival of OSPAC business activities have grown steadily. We operate freely without molestation. The only thing he can do for us is the sustenance of security, peace and order. We will be grateful to him”, he said.
It would be recalled that ONELGA was the hotbed of crisis during the era of late Don Wani, the cult kingpin that relegated the LGA to the background. The killing of Don Wani and the formation of OSPAC were two things that brought a new lease of life to residents of the area.
The issue of reliving the horrible and ugly experiences of the pre-OSPAC days has often assailed the minds of ONELGA residents, little wonder then that everyone craves for the sustenance of the security apparatus in the area.
Before OSPAC was formed, many ONELGA communities had been deserted. Raping of women and girls was commonplace. Killings, decapitation and selling of body parts were the order of the day.
Don Wani was the notorious dictator in the entire local government area.
It would be pertinent therefore for successive council administrations in the area to sustain peace so that there should be no relapse into the horrors of the past.
Ralph Echefu is a public affairs analyst, based in Port Harcourt.

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City Crime

Whether Rent Is Refundable

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A Tenancy Agreement is a contract between a landlord and the tenant which sets out the rights and obligations of both the landlord and the tenant when renting property in Nigeria. Both landlord and tenant have something called implied rights in all tenancy relationships whether or not a tenancy agreement exists. However, a tenancy agreement is important because it provides further protection for both the landlord and the tenant, and it expands on the implied rights.
As the tenancy agreement is a contract between two parties, the landlord and the tenant, the tenant has the right to review the terms of the tenancy agreement to determine whether or not the agreement protects his/her interests.
As a landlord or a tenant, you need to ensure that your tenancy agreement includes the following terms and information at a minimum:

  • The names and addresses of the landlord and the Tenant and the address of the property
  • The start date and end date of the tenancy
  • How much the rent will be
  • Other applicable amounts including legal fees, agency fees, security deposits, service charges/fees etc as applicable.
  • The obligation of both the landlord and the tenant.
  • An outline of bills the tenant is responsible for.
    The above list is not exhaustive, these and more terms that are frequently included in well-drafted tenancy Aaeements. It is advisable therefore, that a well drafted tenancy agreement is signed by both parties.
    Having established the fact that a tenancy is a contract, it must be noted that breaking it at will does not entitle the tenant any refund. In simple terms, there is no refund of rent after payment. If the tenancy surrenders before the contract is executed, the Landlord may return the amount gained which was let out during the subsistence of the tenancy which was surrendered, apart from that; a tenant is not entitled to refund. See Abdurahman V. Thomas (2019) 12 NWLR (PT 1685) 107 SC @ 129, Nig Con Holding Com. Ltd V. Owayele (1988) 4 NWLR (PT 90) 588 @ 603.
    The mere fact that the tenant returned key does not mean rescission of the tenancy. When tenants returns key before the expiration of his tent, he is not entitled to refund of rent except the property was let out, and it is only for the remainder of the period let out and paid for by the new tenant within the period under by the old tenant.
    In other words, your tenancy will continue to subsist in the apartment until it is let to a new tenant. Once the place is let after you have vacated (and before the expiration of your tenancy), you are then refunded for the unexpired term.
  • By: Nkechi Bright-Ewere
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City Crime

Five Friends In Court For Abduction, Robbery

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An FCT High Court, Kubwa, has fixed July 5 for the definite hearing in a case against five friends.
Justus Alex, Victor Alex, Marcus Eze, Asogwa Johnson and John Ofor face four counts of armed robbery and abduction filed by the police.
Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya fixed the date after prosecution counsel, Sadiq Haruna, announced he had made rearrangements with the court registrar to serve the defendants’ sureties.
The sureties could not be served due to the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) strike.
The defendants are accused of robbing one Theophilus Kelechi and three others of five phones, one digital camera and N50,000 cash at Nandu Plaza, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja on October 15, 2019.
They also allegedly abducted Chief Benard Nwora from his office at Suite 52 of the same plaza and took him to Ado village in Nasarawa.
According to the prosecution, they demanded N50 million ransom from his wife, Bethel.
The police recovered two pistols, six live cartridges without licence, from the friends in Ado on October 16, 2019.
Their offences contravened the provisions of Section 2(3) of the Robbery and Firearms Special Provision Act Cap 398 LFN 1990 and Section 273 of the Penal Code.
All the suspects have pleaded not guilty.

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