The Olive branch extended to opposition political parties in Rivers State by Governor Nyesom Wike may have achieved a breakthrough as the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi-led faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC), last Monday, made a surprise u-turn, accepted the offer, and promised to work with the governor for the interest of peace and good governance in the state.
The Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Andrew Uchendu, at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, on behalf of elected and appointed members of APC in the state, disclosed the resolve of the main opposition party.
Uchendu, a close ally to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who is the leader of the APC in the state, expressed the party’s preparedness to make the necessary sacrifice for peace, and urged the governor to show some level of commitment.
The senator noted that although the governor was yet to take necessary follow up actions to his call for peace, but expressed optimism that the offer would put an end to all forms of hate speech; even as he said that keeping the peace and security was necessary as the APC was worried over the rising insecurity in the crude oil and gas-rich state.
According to him, “When two captains are in the boat, one is at the head of the boat paddling, another one is at the end paddling, then, there will be no movement. We want to allow Governor Nyesom Wike to discharge his constitutional responsibility.
“And we are saying we (APC) will join in that boat. Only one captain will be in that boat. That captain is Governor Nyesom Wike. We want to help him to take the boat to the shore. We cannot continue to toil with the lives of our people or take them for granted anymore. We will not!
“A key indicator of good governance is the return of peace and security in our state. We are prepared to make the necessary sacrifice as a political party. As it stands today, life in Rivers State has become brutish and worthless with kidnapping and killings occurring daily.
“Only last week, four youths were beheaded in Ovogo, Emohua LGA. This is the narrative our reformed governor must change,” Uchendu stated; even as he called on the governor to reactivate some programmes that were initiated by the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi-led administration in order to solve the problem of unemployment in the state.
While stating that the current cases of killings and kidnappings on a daily basis must be stopped, he said the APC was more than ready to offer areas of immediate intervention aimed at tackling these challenges.
“We can offer some more areas of immediate intervention: revitalization of the C4i Security architecture of the previous administration; rehabilitation of sons and daughters that are roaming the streets of foreign lands because of the cancellation or stoppage of their scholarship awards.
“Re-activation of the Greater Port Harcourt Project and completion of some of the laudable pro-people projects embarked upon by the administration of the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. These done, we can expect to begin to see some changes.
“Although we are yet to see indications of any intent in this direction, we are still resolved not to give up. We believe Governor Wike is very sincere in this initiative. It is for this reason that we want to commend his call for collaboration and peaceful coexistence,” he said.
Similarly, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Rivers State has reaffirmed the party’s commitment to work with Governor Nyesom Wike, to restore peace in the state.
The SDP also pledged its unwavering support to Wike in his efforts to develop and move the state to greater heights.
The SDP State Party Chairman, Mr Joshua Worlu, disclosed this in a statement after a stakeholders’ meeting held at the party’s office in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Worlu said that the party would join hands with the governor to ensure sustainable peace, security and development in the state.
The chairman, on behalf of the party in the state, congratulated Governor Nyesom Wike over his victory at the March 23 Governorship Election.
Worlu, therefore, urged all Rivers citizens and stakeholders, to join hands with the government to move the state forward.
But barely 24-hours after the All Progressives Congress (APC) accepted the Olive branch extended to opposition political parties in Rivers State by Governor Nyesom Wike, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the former to be sincere with its position.
Describing the position of the APC as a welcome development, the PDP said it would be a thing of joy if the main opposition party in the state join hands with the governor to improve security in the state.
The Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Darlington Orji, stated this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, the state capital, last Monday.
Orji said that Governor Nyesom Wike was determined to work with different political parties and anyone with useful ideas on how peace can be restored in the state.
According to Orji, ‘’Now that the All Progressives Congress has come out, if their position is very sincere, together, we can build a better Rivers State. So, for us, anything that will make our state remain peaceful for investors to come in and bring development, that is where we remain, and that is the vow the governor of Rivers State has taken to make sure that Rivers resources will be used for Rivers people.
“Today, I have no doubt that the press conference that was organised by APC must be on notice. So, for me, it is a welcome development, and we are also using this opportunity as a political party to call on the minister of transportation to please, work together with the governor of Rivers State.
“Bring up your ideas so that together, we can better the lives of our people, together we can fight crime and criminality, together we can stop these killings that are all over the state,” the state PDP spokesman stated.
He further said that to achieve a high level of security in Rives State, the security agencies would need to distance themselves from the political activities in the state.
Nigerian Law School, PH Campus’ll Be Ready In Six Months, Wike Vows
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has received a formal letter of approval from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, for the establishment of a Nigerian Law School campus in Port Harcourt.
The letter was presented to the governor by the Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Huyatu Chiroma, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wike said it was gratifying that the Council of Legal Education and the Attorney General of the Federation have graciously given approval to the Rivers State Government to assist in the establishment of a Law School in Port Harcourt, an offer which was initially rejected by the immediate past administration in the state.
The governor commended the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, for his statesmanship and commitment to the growth of legal education in Nigeria.
“This is devoid of any political affiliation. I must commend him for this show of sportsmanship, for this show of leadership, that at the end of the day, it is Nigerians and Rivers people that will benefit from the establishment of this campus in Port Harcourt.”
Wike explained that construction work had already commenced at the site approved by the state government for the Port Harcourt campus of the Nigerian Law School.
According to him, the campus will be ready in the next six months and the Certificate of Occupancy for the school is ready.
“The six months that we have given is not six years. Six months is six months. Even if any other project will be suspended, let it be suspended. This project must be finished within six months. And I also urged you to appoint a deputy DG who should move down to Port Harcourt immediately.”
The Rivers State governor explained that some corporate organisations, including banks, have expressed their readiness to build hostels and library in the campus, pending the approval of the authority of the Nigerian Law School.
The governor urged the Nigerian Law School management to graciously immortalise the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice for the Federation, Justice Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas, SAN, by naming the Port Harcourt campus after him.
The Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Huyatu Chiroma, said the process for the establishment of a Law School campus in Port Harcourt started on the June 4, in Yenagoa when Governor Wike threw a challenge that if given an opportunity, Rivers State Government was ready to construct and deliver a new campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt within six months.
He explained that afterwards, the Council of Legal Education met and unanimously agreed to accede to the request of the Rivers State Government and this was also endorsed by the Attorney General of the Federation.
The Attorney General of the Federation in this letter to Governor Wike which was read by Chiroma, said immediately he received the letter from the Rivers State Government to assist in the establishment of a new campus in Port Harcourt, his office forwarded same, via Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary for consideration by the Council of Legal Education.
“I am delighted to convey to you the acceptance of your offer by the Council of Legal Education at its meeting held on June 18, 2021. A copy of the approval letter and a draft Memorandum of Understanding to guide or govern the conduct of the partnership project is hereby forwarded to you for your kind consideration and further action.
“While appreciating the kind gestures of the Rivers State Government in the promotion of legal education in Nigeria, please accept the assurances of my best regards and high esteem as always.”
In his remarks, the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacchaeus Adangor, said the Law School campus in Port Harcourt will stand out as one of the most iconic achievement of the Governor Wike’s administration.
The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, commended the Attorney General of the federation and the Council of Legal Education for the approval and assured that the state will construct a befitting campus in Port Harcourt.
Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze C.J. Okocha, SAN, said though the new campus is in Port Harcourt, it will be for the benefit of all Nigerians and the legal profession.
The chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Port Harcourt branch, Prince Nyekwere applauded the approval, and urged the Federal Government to devolve some of its obligation in the Executive List to the federating States.
Buhari Off To London For Medical Check-Up, Today
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday travel to London, for a scheduled medical follow-up.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Femi Adesina, confirmed this in a statement, yesterday.
Adesina said the President is expected return to the country in the second week of next month.
“He is due back in the country during the second week of July, 2021,” the statement said.
It would be recalled that on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Buhari had visited London to receive medical attention from his physician.
PIB Set For Passage, Tuesday, Lawan Assures
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, said that the National Assembly will always follow due diligence in approving loan requests of the Executive arm of government.
The Senate President also said that the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be laid before the two chambers of the National Assembly during plenary next Tuesday.
He made the disclosure while speaking with State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Lawan said that the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will be passed before the National Assembly goes on annual vacation next month.
It is expected that the National Assembly may proceed on annual vacation about July 15.
The Senate President emphasised that the National Assembly will not frivolously approve loan requests from the Executive, adding that the Legislature will always ask for details of the before any loan is approved.
According to him, “What I want to assure Nigerians is that we are not going to be frivolously supporting or approving loans for the Executive arm of government. Whenever we have to approve any loan, we have to insist on the details of what projects will be funded by those loans.
“We’ll have to look at the conditions that are attached to the loans, they must be favourable conditions before we approve and we will be up to date with our oversight to ensure that what we have approved is directly deployed and on those projects that we have also approved for implementation. So, we will not be frivolous and will not take it lightly to just approve any loan.”
He, however, expressed his support for government sourcing for loan to execute projects, saying the revenues are not readily available while Nigerians cannot be taxed further.
He said, “Our options are really very limited as a country. First, we don’t have the necessary revenues, Nigeria is poor, we shouldn’t deceive ourselves. Nigeria is not rich, given the circumstances we live in, given the challenges we have; our resources are so low, our revenues are so low, and, therefore, the option of not doing anything, just to sit because we have no money, and we shouldn’t go for infrastructural development is not even an option worthy of consideration. You cannot keep the economy stagnant.
“Two, you cannot, in my view and judgement, tax Nigerians further for you to raise the money for infrastructure development. Other countries do that, but we have serious situation across the country, so you cannot put taxes on people.”
Speaking on the much-awaited PIB, Lawan said the National Assembly will next Tuesday receive the report of its joint committee on the Bill which will be laid at the plenary.
He said, “At the moment, we are dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on the PIB; the Petrol Industry Bill, and by the grace of God, our committees, the joint committees, will finish their work on it by the end of the week, hopefully. The reports would be laid on Tuesday in both chambers. This is what we have planned and this is what we’re working towards.”
He further said much work had been done on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by the Assembly and that it will be passed before the legislative arm proceeds on its annual vacation next month.
He said, “We also have some work to do on the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill. Our committee in the Senate and indeed, in the house, have worked jointly and we have very little to do really, to get the reports and considered in the two chambers.
“We expect that we’ll do that before we go on our annual summer recess, which comes up on the 15th of July, by the grace of God. So, before we go on summer recess, we should be able to pass the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.”
The Senate President assured that the National Assembly will also work on the confirmation of nominees for INEC Commissionership as well as passing the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill sent to it last week by the Executive.
He said, “We also have outstanding confirmation requests for National Commissioners of INEC, we’ll do that, we’ll consider those confirmation requests from Mr President before we go. We’ll also have the loan request from Mr President.
“The loan request is to fund the 2021 Appropriation Act and of course, this is not a new request it’s something that we had passed in the MTEF and it’s something that when we pass the budget 2021 we also passed that, so it’s only to give the necessary legislative approval for the administration to go further and collect the funds.
“The Executive arm of government, had submitted a Supplementary Budget request. In the Senate, we have had the second reading yesterday and we have given the Appropriations Committee, particularly to deal with it.
“We expect a report on this by Tuesday, by the grace of God and we may consider that report on Wednesday next week so that we’re able to pass the request because of the urgency and the need for us to hit the ground running, we need to give so much attention to our security agencies because of the situation across the country and of course, the Covid-19 vaccines, procurement is also an essential thing that we need to do.”
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